The Bettendorf native and the Iowa Jazz Orchestra to perform on January 16 at the Redstone Room

native of Bettendorf Mike Conrad will return to occur at Polyrythmes Third Sunday Jazz Series, with the Iowa Jazz Composers Orchestra, in concert on January 16 at the Redstone Room, in the River music experience at the corner of 2sd & Main in Davenport.

It will be a face-to-face performance with appropriate personal distance and the wearing of the mask.

University of Northern Iowa professor and award-winning jazz composer Mike Conrad (33-year-old Bettendorf native) brings Iowa’s first major jazz ensemble to Davenport for a special performance to kick off the third Polyrhythms Sunday 2022 Jazz Series.

Conrad has brought together this 17-piece all-star group with a simple mission: to present the best jazz musicians and songwriters the state has to offer, according to a statement released Tuesday by Polyrhythms.

The Iowa Jazz Composers Orchestra wants to show the people of Iowa and beyond that they don’t need to look to New York or Chicago for great, high quality, creative music – there are some amazing artists and musicians making amazing things here, the release said.

Among the featured composers are Conrad (UNI Jazz Professor), Chris Merz (Director of Jazz Studies, UNI), Bob Washut (Emeritus Faculty, UNI), John Rapson (Emeritus Faculty, Iowa), Ryan Kisor (Sioux City / Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra), Nate Sparks (Des Moines / New York) and Paul Lichty (Cedar Falls / Oregon).

“Polyrhythms is very happy and honored to collaborate with Mike Conrad and ISCO, who have long been good friends, strong supporters and great performers of our Third Sunday Jazz series,” said Nate Lawrence of Polyrhythms.

The group list is made up of the following elements:

Saxophone: Robert Espe, Jen Tiede, Chris Merz, Nolan Schroeder, Simon Harding
Trumpets: Cory Schmitt, Dave Rezek, Jon Ailabouni, Steve Wheeler
paper clips: Anthony Williams, Rich Medd, Joel Nagel, Zack Morton
Rhythm section: Steve Grismore, Michael Conrad, Drew Morton, Dave Tiede

Conrad – who performed for Third Sunday Jazz at Redstone in November 2018 and January 2020 – joined the UNI faculty in the fall of 2018. He was recognized for his arrangements and composition with four ASCAP Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composer Awards and seven DownBeat Awards, as well as prizes and commissions from organizations such as the Bundesjazzorchester of Germany, the West Point Jazz Knights, and the American Society of Music Arrangers and Composers.

Mike Conrad has been with UNI’s Music Faculty since fall 2018. As a performer he has toured China, performed at the Umbria Jazz Festival in Perugia, Italy, and performed in various festivals and jazz venues in the United States.

Conrad’s arrangements have been performed around the world, including a premiere in 2014 at Carnegie Hall and a performance during the U.S. presidential inauguration in 2013.

General admission for the 5 p.m. concert on January 16 is $ 15. Spaces are limited and you can pay at the door but they suggest you call and reserve a spot. Call Polyrhythms at 309 373-0790 or email nate@polyrhythms.org.


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Henry R. Wright