“Pharez Whitted, a powerhouse Chicago trumpeter, was ready for some good news.
A few weeks ago he learned that his 15-year stint teaching music at Chicago State University had come to an abrupt end, thanks to the statewide budget crisis.
Fortunately for Whitted — and for jazz in Chicago — last week a new door opened: He was appointed director of the emerging CYSO Jazz Orchestra, an ensemble of high schoolers Whitted has been signed to create this fall under the auspices of the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra. In effect, Whitted will be able to continue his long-running efforts to bring jazz to young people.
Few Chicago musician-educators are more qualified than Whitted to build the new band, for he commands a richly deserved reputation as a trumpet virtuoso, seasoned educator and irrepressible champion of the music. If you’ve heard performances by Jeff Lindberg’s Chicago Jazz Orchestra or the much-missed Chicago Jazz Ensemble, if you’ve dropped by the Sunday-night jam sessions at Andy’s or visited other top rooms such as the Jazz Showcase or the Green Mill, chances are you’ve heard Whitted in action.“