The Chicago-based jazz group The Flat Cats will take the stage at the Racine Zoo on July 8. (Submitted Photo)
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RACINE, WI — The Racine Zoo has released their artist lineup for the 2020 Animal Crackers Concert Series.

The 2020 season features luminaries in the fields of progressive rock, contemporary jazz and smooth jazz.

Chicago-based jazz group The Flat Cats will take the stage at the Racine Zoo on July 8. This versatile group plays a range of vintage and modern music rooted in the hottest swinging jazz and blues, contemporary classics, and timeless standards. The group is comprised of six talented musicians with years of performing, arranging, and composing experience

The Flat Cats have performed at many different venues and events throughout the Midwest, including Navy Pier, The Drake Hotel, Arcada Theatre, Willowbrook Ballroom, Pete Miller’s, Green Dolphin Lounge, and the Summer Dance Series in Grant Park. The band has also backed legendary singing groups such as The Drifters and The Crystals at major venues like The Chicago Theatre, Star Plaza, and Pabst Theatre in Milwaukee.

On Wednesday, July 22, the Animal Crackers Jazz Series welcomes performer Cindy Bradley to the stage. Not only does Bradley keep the trumpet and flugelhorn hip and grooving lead jazz instruments like her late great heroes Freddie Hubbard, Lee Morgan and Blue Mitchel—she also continues her knack for picking spot on album titles.

Calling her 2009 debut “Bloom” proved prophetic, as the multi-talented performer blossomed into a powerful and charismatic presence on radio and on the contemporary jazz festival circuit. Along the way, Cindy performed everywhere from the River Raisin’ Jazz Festival in Monroe, Michigan to the Dubai Jazz Fest. She won Best New Artist at the American Smooth Jazz Awards and was named Debut Artist of the Year by the Catalina Island Jazz Trax Festival and Smooth Jazz News.

The Animal Crackers concert series will be rocking and rolling Wednesday, Aug. 5 with a return engagement of the Chicago Tribute Anthology. The Chicago Tribute Anthology is a 7-piece horn band dedicated to performing the music of Chicago, one of the most popular and enduring bands of all time. The unique sound of Chicago defined a generation and changed the sound of popular music forever. See them live and experience their concert set of Chicago’s greatest hits!

Their personnel are all veterans of the Chicago-area musical scene and have performed with notable national and local artists such as Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, Mel Tormé, Tony Bennett, the Hat Guys, Flapjacks, Katie Sullivan, Legacy, the Four Man Acoustical Band, Farewell, Deja Groove, Bill Russo and the Chicago Jazz Ensemble, Take 5, The Dana Legg Big Band, Woody Herman Orchestra, Fanfare, the Fox Valley Concert Band, and many other of the area’s finest musicians and ensembles.

Animal Crackers rounds out its 2020 concert series on Wednesday, August 19 with saxophonist Walter Beasley. Over his career, Beasley has artfully and dynamically redefined the phrase “musical Renaissance Man” for the modern generation. Considered by fans and critics alike as the “heir to Grover Washington, Jr.’s Throne,” Beasley is the acclaimed saxophonist, vocalist, educator, and entrepreneur of the decade. As the highest selling full-time Professor / Recording Artist in history, the Boston-based musician has long mastered an exhilarating high wire act of balancing a successful career as a contemporary jazz recording artist and performer with an equally thriving presence in the field of music education.

A leading alto and soprano saxophonist and prominent vocalist all the same, Beasley is hailed by fans for his thrilling performances along the East Coast and throughout the U.S. and Caribbean. Notable performances include the all-star tour To Grover, With Love, performing alongside Chuck Loeb, Buddy Williams and Andy Snitzer and performing as the headlining act for the 2011 Playboy Jazz Festival.

Dates are as follows: July 8, July 22, Aug. 5 and Aug.19, 2020. Gates will open at 5:30 p.m. with concerts beginning at 7 p.m. Tickets are $25 per person for each concert in advance, and are $30 at the gate. For more information visit the Racine Zoo website at www.racinezoo.org.

All images courtesy Animal Crackers Jazz Series


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