CARIJAZZ! is a unique, world-class jazz ensemble performing music from Cuba, Trinidad, and beyond. Powerful grooves from the Caribbean carry jazz harmonies and melodies to new heights for engaged listeners and dancing. This is the perfect marriage of club and concert hall!

Led by steelpan soloist Mike Schwebke, CARIJAZZ! was formed through years of developing the right musical connections to bring this music to life. Mike is the host of the monthly Jazz Trials Jam Session and a regular performer in world-music groups and steelbands all over the US. Mike has shared the stage with Paa Kow, Liam Teague, Pastiche Steel Ensemble, Silver Stars Steel Orchestra, and many other groups in North America. Mike believes it is essential to have performers that understand the rhythmic intricacies of Afro-Caribbean music while also having intimate knowledge of jazz and improvisation to execute this music. The band features some of Chicago's top musicians and plays songs from jazz artists from Trinidad, Cuba, Haiti, Puerto Rico, the United States, and even West Africa.

CARIJAZZ! keyboardist, Mark Nelson, can be seen also performing with the Buddy Rich Alumni Band; Latin fusion project, Contrabanda; indie rock band, Somewhere Sunny; and Latin Jazz artist Johnny Blas! His unique combination of experiences make him an incredible asset to a group like this one. Mark has studdied Afro-Cuban percussion and piano playing from some of the best while being one of the most creative jazz players in the midwest. CARIJAZZ! has performed some of Mark's original music!

The CARIJAZZ! features a powerful horn section that blends beautifully with the sounds of the steelpan and rhythm section. A frequent performer at Chicago's famous Green Mill Cocktail Lounge and Jazz Club, saxophonist Aaron Rybski brings a beautiful and melodic creative energy to the stage. His solos encapsulate audiences and demand the attention of musicians both on stage and enjoying the show. Dave Katz, formerly a trumpeter in the Louie Bellson Big Band and long-time studio musician, joins the band on trumpet and flugelhorn. Dave's ear for interplay within the band and keen sense of audience excitement allow him to manipulate the crowd and draw them into his solos.

The percussion section starts with the bass player - Eric Smith, a Quad-Cities native and alum of the NIU Jazz program, has studied both jazz and world-music deeply. While at NIU he worked with Mike Mixtacki, playing in the Latin Jazz Ensemble and was a regular bass player with some of the University's Caribbean students in off-campus performances. Caribbean music wouldn't have the same feel with out the right hand-percussion and percussion accents. Mike McSweeney joins CARIJAZZ! while maintaining a teaching career and leading his own salsa band Salsa Del Norte. Jonny Gifford is a Northern-Illinois based drummer who is constantly in demand. He can be seen with the Ethan Bell Band, Chidori and other jazz/fusion groups. Jonny has a sense for rhythm and creativity that in unmatched in versatility within the Chicago music community.

For more information or booking, please contact Mike Schwebke directly:

My Beautiful You as performed by CariJazz at The Law Office

Caravan performed by CariJazz at The Law Office

Outcry performed by CariJazz at The Law Office