It was just a little under a year ago that Chicago jazz musician Diane Ellis was performing a tribute concert for jazz organ legend Jimmy McGriff. As she began to play her instrument on stage something had all of a sudden gone wrong. She could not feel her fingers, there was no movement from her lips and she had instantly known something was very wrong. She was having a stroke and 911 was immediately called. That was one of the last memories she has of that night, right before passing out.
Diane was forced to go through immense rehabilitation and therapy that is still ongoing today. Currently the entire left side of her body is immobile as she is still under going therapy daily. The Chicago jazz community is coming together to help raise money for Diane. More than 30 musicians will be hosting a benefit concert on June 14th at the University of Chicago’s Logan Center for Arts.
Diane was not just any normal jazz musician. Not only because of Ellis’ accomplishments on her horn but also due to her wide influence as teacher. From 1994 until her retirement in 2016, Ellis nurtured talented young players at Arthur Dixon Elementary School, on South St. Lawrence Avenue. None has been more prominent than trumpeter Marquis Hill, who won the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Trumpet Competition in 2014 and has been touring the world ever since. Please all my fellow Chicago jazz fans, come out and help support Diane for an excellent cause. All the information can be found below!
Benefit for Diane Ellis will begin at 7 p.m. June 14 at the University of Chicago’s Logan Center for the Arts, 915 E. 60th St.; tickets range from $50-$250; a reception, with food and drinks, from 5:45 to 6:45 p.m. June 14 in the Logan Center’s Performance Penthouse will be open to $250 ticket holders. For more information, visit www.hydeparkjazzsociety.com or phone 773-702-2787.