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Fri, May 10



John Dokes with the George Gee Orchestra - "Our Day" Album Release!

John Dokes - vocals; George Gee Orchestra; Ben Paterson - piano; Malik McClaurine - bass; Greg Artry - drums; David Gibson - trombone (arranger); Freddie Hendrix - trumpet; Lenard Simpson - alto sax; Marques Carroll - trumpet; Scott Burns - tenor sax; Ted Hogarth - baritone sax

John Dokes with the George Gee Orchestra - "Our Day" Album Release!
John Dokes with the George Gee Orchestra - "Our Day" Album Release!

Time & Location

May 10, 2024, 7:30 PM – 11:00 PM CDT

Chicago, 465 N McClurg Ct, Chicago, IL 60611, USA

About The Event

[ All tickets are non-refundable and non-exchangeable -- please order carefully and be sure all details are correct before completing purchase.  1-Drink minimum purchase of $10 per person, per set applies to all guests and all shows. ]

* * Ticket prices below INCLUDE a $2.75/ticket fee, no other fees added. * *

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Twenty years after the passing of Joe Williams, John Dokes seems primed to be one of the emerging jazz artists most likely to carry forth the legend’s elegantly refined soul-blues style. On True Love, the second in a planned trilogy of quintet albums that began with 2017’s Forever Reasons, Dokes uses his soulful, silky-smooth baritone to plumb fresh, alternately whimsical and deeply heartfelt ways to ponder the joys, pitfalls and vagaries of love and romance”.  — Jonathan Widran, Jazziz Magazine

John Dokes - vocals

George Gee Orchestra

Ben Paterson - piano

Malik McClaurine - bass

Greg Artry - drums

David Gibson - trombone (arranger)

Freddie Hendrix - trumpet

Lenard Simpson - alto sax

Marques Carroll - trumpet

Scott Burns - tenor sax

Ted Hogarth - baritone sax

There’s a love song to capture every aspect of romance, from the unrequited to the tempestuous. With True Love (released via Rondette Jazz), vocalist John Dokes turns his attention, and his elegant baritone, to something deeper. Over the course of ten well-chosen songs and an equally diverse range of moods, Dokes explores the more profound, committed side of affairs of the heart, bringing soulful nuance and hard-earned wisdom to each tale of ardent amour.

As Dokes makes clear with each knowing inflection and wry turn of phrase, committed love doesn’t necessarily translate into comfortable routine. Throughout the album’s ten songs, Dokes imbues each lyric with smoldering passion or heart-wrenching loss, all the more affecting for being so deeply felt. Even in his suave delivery of the album’s sole original track, “Cool Enough,” the crooner undercuts his dapper cool with a tinge of self-doubt, pleading to know, “Am I cool?”

Though he may have his moments of uncertainty, there’s little question while listening to True Love that Dokes falls squarely into the “cool” camp. Formerly a champion lindy hopper, he continues to get audiences dancing in his regular gig singing with the George Gee Big Band; he carries the same self-confidence from the ballroom to the boardroom, having achieved successful tenures as an executive at Viacom, AccuWeather and Marvel Entertainment.

When working with the world-class quartet on True Love, though, the executive suite is the furthest thing from Dokes’ mind. The album is the second in a planned trilogy, each of which pairs Dokes with a different frontline horn. The first was 2017’s Forever Reasons, his initial small group endeavor (following his big band debut, John Dokes Sings, George Gee Swings), which featured trombonist David Gibson with the same rhythm section as this release: pianist Steve Einerson (Eric Alexander, Eddie Henderson), bassist Alex Claffy (Kurt Rosenwinkel, Jimmy Cobb), and late beloved drummer Lawrence Leathers (Cécile McLorin Salvant, Aaron Diehl).

On True Love they’re joined by alto saxophonist Mark Gross (Delfeayo Marsalis, Dave Holland), whose sinuous tone is an ideal match for Dokes’ dulcet baritone. Their chemistry is immediately apparent on “A Sleepin’ Bee,” the opening track, calling to mind the playful back-and-forth between Nancy Wilson and Cannonball Adderley on their immortal 1961 rendition, which inspired Dokes to include the song here. The song’s lyric, by writer Truman Capote, also lends the album its title, as Dokes concludes the song by repeating the phrase like an echoing memory.

-- -- -- 

A native New Yorker, George Gee always loved music. He grew up with rock’n’roll and R&B but in his teens, he also developed a powerful passion for jazz -- especially the big band styles of Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Lionel Hampton, Benny Goodman, Cab Calloway and other legends. At renowned Stuyvesant High School, George played the double bass in the school’s jazz band, where he demonstrated an early flair for showmanship.

This passion continued into his first year at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. George created a big band music hour for the school's radio station; off-air, he often spoke of his true long-time dream: leading his own big band. It's easy to imagine this idea would not be readily accepted by college students in the early 1980's, but in fact, George and his show were a huge hit!

The station manager asked George to interview William "Count" Basie before a campus concert in 1979. This inspiring conversation changed George’s life... the very next day, he reached out to fellow jazz players to create a 17-piece big band, which quickly became a darling of the campus community.

After spending a decade in Pittsburgh honing his craft,  George returned to his NYC hometown in 2000 just in time to continue his Big Band aspirations.  As faith would have it, swing Big Band jazz unexpectedly (to everyone except Gee) became a cultural phenomena sweeping across the country and world!  Swing Dancing and Music became the rage among a younger audience and a generation nostalgic for it.  With a wink and a nod, bandleader GG held court weekly at New York City (Times Square) swing jazz nightspot SWING46, where two decades later they still dominate the Big Apple Big Band swing scene!


  • 7:30 - General Admission

  • 7:30 - VIP Seating

  • 9:30 - General Admission

  • 9:30 - VIP Seating




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