Umbrella Music is a Chicago-based collective dedicated to presenting jazz and improvised music. Since its inception the group has pooled resources in order to reach a larger audience, provide consistent performance situations and promote Chicago as an international hub for cutting-edge improvised music. These efforts culminate in over 170 concerts per year and an annual international festival.
The core of the organization revolves around three weekly concert series each programmed by specific curators:
Sundays, the Transmission Series at the Hungry Brain curated by Josh Berman and Mike Reed
Wednesdays, the Immediate Sound Series at the Hideout curated by Mitch Cocanig
Thursdays, the Improvised Music Series at Elastic curated by Dave Rempis
Since launching in the spring of 2006 Umbrella Music has not only functioned as one of the most dedicated presenters of forward-looking Chicago music, but also as one the city’s most important promoters of touring artists from around the globe. Umbrella's widening ability and reputation has led to performances by such acclaimed artists such as Joe McPhee, Chris Speed, Matthew Shipp, Wadda Leo Smith, David S. Ware, Oliver Lake, William Parker, Craig Taborn, Gerald Cleaver, Roscoe Mitchell, Peter Evans, Erik Friedlander, Misha Mengelberg, Han Bennink, Peter Brötzmann, John Tchicai, Alexander von Schlippenbach, Irene Schweizer, Evan Parker, Akira Sakata, Toshimaru Nakamura and many, many more.
The group has been recognized and praised by the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Sun-Times, the Chicago Reader, and Time Out Chicago, and has received support from the Boeing Company. Umbrella was also awarded The Illinois Arts Council Governor's International Grant in order to send several affiliated Chicago musicians to perform in Serbia and Croatia.
As an annual celebration each November, Umbrella presents a 4-5 day festival involving each of its venues and The Chicago Cultural Center. The festival routinely kicks off with the European Jazz Meets Chicago event, a mini-festival situated within the larger program that collaborates with as many as ten European consulates and cultural institutions to invite talent from participating countries.