Kahil El'zabar

Kahil El'zabar

Photo by John R. Boehm Photography

Jazz musician Kahil El'zabar said it's a rewarding experience to be involved with the new event Here Hear Chicago.

The site specific project series which blends art, design and performance will be held Sept. 13 and 16 at Navy Pier. It's part of the free programming presented in conjunction with ticketed events surrounding Expo Chicago and the Chicago Architecture Biennial.

"I feel very honored to be a part of this exciting, prestigious and innovative project," said El'zabar, during a recent phone interview. "It's (wonderful) to be working with (artist) Nick Cave and (architect) Jeanne Gang. They're both trailblazers in their fields."

El'zabar along with his Art Music Ensemble, will be performing and producing music for Cave's "Up Right Chicago" and Cave's "Heard Chicago," which are part of the event.

"Up Right Chicago" will be presented at 9 p.m. Sept. 13 in the Aon Grand Ballroom at the Pier while "Heard Chicago" will be presented at 1 and 3:30 p.m. in Polk Bros Park at the Pier.

The works and special programs in Here Hear Chicago as well as Expo Chicago, are meant to "synthesize various ideas into a larger vision,"  El'zabar said.

"We want to bring the community out to experience this," he said, adding the hope is that all of the arts and artists coming together help to uplift the community.

El'zabar has composed original pieces for both "Up Right Chicago" and "Heard Chicago."

In addition to El'zabar being an internationally acclaimed musician/composer, he's also an educator, visual artist/designer, poet and writer. He was awarded the International Ambassador's Award in the Arts by President Barack Obama in 2012 while in 1994 he was appointed to the National Task Force on Arts in Education by President Bill Clinton.

El'zabar, who calls himself a "student of life," said he's a big believer in "hope" and through his musical works his aim is to uplift and encourage.

FYI: Here Hear Chicago will present "Up Right Chicago," at 9 p.m. Sept. 13 at Navy Pier's Aon Grand Ballroom and "Heard Chicago" at 1 and 3:30 p.m. Saturday at Navy Pier's Polk Bros Park. Visit Navy Pier's website at navypier.com for more information.


Eloise writes about food and entertainment for The Times, subjects she has covered for over two decades in and around the Region. She was the youngest of eight children in a Chicago household filled with fantastic cooks and artists.