KCR Ensemble

April 29, 2008 1:17:47 PM PDT
The KCR Ensemble, a talented group of Chicago jazz musicians, will be performing at a benefit for Jobs for Youth on Saturday, May 3 from 7 p.m. to Midnight at the Park West. Since 1979 Jobs For Youth has made over 25,000 job placements for Chicago's low-income 17-24 year olds. The benefit concert also features vocalist Jimmy Damon with special appearances by actress Kim Coles, actor Harry Lennix and Chicago Defender's "Chat Daddy."

The event includes charitable gaming, live and silent auction, buffet supper & open bar. Tickets are $175. For more information, call 312.499.4778 x136 or visit ifychicago.org.

Calling themselves KCR for Kindness, Charity and Respect, they make up a nine piece, all-woman, Jazz, Blues and Contemporary group featuring vocals, four horns - trombone, trumpet, alto & tenor sax and a full rhythm section - piano, guitar, bass, congas, and drums. The KCR Ensemble was co-founded by Charlotte Evelyn Jones and Rita Hassell eight years ago. Rita and the late Ms. Jones, an extraordinary pianist, were enamored with the performances of the all ladies orchestra, the International Sweethearts of Rhythm, back in the forties. Charlotte and Rita decided to revive the concept of an all ladies orchestra from among their acquaintances in Chicago.

  • In 2003, KCR Ensemble released its first CD ?"In The Moment"
  • In 2006, Recipient of WVON Radio Kwanzaa Award for Creativity and their Musicianship
  • In January 2007, Chicago Tribune Magazine, featured KCR Ensemble --- a group of African American female instrumentalists who are carrying on a 60 year tradition in Jazz.
  • In February 2007, WGNTV Anchor , Allison Payne, aired a Cover Story, "Soul Sisters" about the KCR Ensemble , which is now archived on their website (WGNTV.Com )
  • In October 2007, Recipient of the African American Arts Alliance "Black Excellence Award" for Outstanding Achievement in Jazz Music
  • The KCR Ensemble continues to perform for a variety of corporate, professional, social organizations and private functions. KCR's motto says it all --- "We are so inspired, we love to be hired".

    The KCR Ensemble band members maintain professional careers in the fields of education, Law, and Child Care while continuing their commitment to music. Here's a little more about them:

    Rita Hassell --- Co-Founder & Leader --- Guitar and Vocals Performed locally and toured US and Canadian cities with the Roland Brown Merchants Big Band; Guitarist with the Chicago State University Community Jazz Band; Organizer of Chicago lady musicians for actress Regina Taylor's "Ooo Bla Dee" reception and cast party; (Howard Reich, Chicago Tribune Tempo article 4/15/99);

    Debra Evon Jones --- Percussions & Soprano Sax Collaborated with twin sister, Detra, to organize 3 youth gospel groups; Percussionist and Clarinetist with Chicago State Community Band; Computer Science Educator, Chicago Public Schools

    Gerry Moore --- Drums Studied with Professor Young at Wendell Phillips; Drummer for Minnie Ripperton and Chi-Lites music group; Performed in New York with the late Broadway choreographer Bob Fosse; Member of the late Lady Bird Davis all ladies band behind comedian Moms Mabley at Robert Show Lounge; Life and music career highlighted on the History Makers video documentary web site (2002).

    Deirdra Shafter ---Alto Saxophone Toured in Germany and France; Song writer /Arranger for various groups on Jive Records; Church Choir Director; Educator, Chicago Public Schools

    Margaret Roseboro ---Trumpet Performed with Charlie Elgar concert orchestra ? VP of Black Musicians local 208; Played first trumpet for the late Birdie "Lady Bird" Davis ? All ladies band behind comedian Moms Mabley; Performed with a variety of Latino bands (Combo Puerto Rico-1974).

    Blanche Manning --- Tenor Saxophone Attended Chicago Music College; Member of a variety of judicial music groups ? Scales of Justice Combo / Barrister's Orchestra; Performed in music sessions with Richard Evans - professor of Music at Berkley College; An active Federal District Court Judge. Life and music career highlighted on the History Makers video documentary website ( 2003 ).

    Kristina Brooks ---Trombone and Vocals First Trombonist/vocalist for Roland Brown Merchants Big Band and Horace Smith Big Band; Childhood performer with parents in Brook's family music band; Educator, Chicago Public Schools

    Andrea Moore --- Pianist Performed with the Chicago Chamber Orchestra and the Chicago State Community Concert Orchestra; Musical director for gospel choir; Pursuing Degree in Education.

    Sherri Weathersby --- Bass Performed with Artie 'Blues Boy' White; Little Milton; Koko Taylor; and Tyrone Davis; Operator of a family-owned Day Care Center

    For more information on KCR Ensemble, call 773.779-6658 or visit www.MIHIRECORDS.com.


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