If you’re a Chicago jazz fan, you may not know her by name, but you certainly know the vision and expertise of Carolyn Albritton, producer for the annual “Jazz in the Courtyard” concert series in the Courtyard at Hyde Park Shopping Center, starting Friday, June 1. Albritton has booked talents for the city’s top clubs and restaurants, and was also one of the founders of the Hyde Park Jazz Festival, now in its 12th year. She’s been responsible for nurturing jazz as well as other music genres and comedy on the South Side, and spotting undiscovered talents who are now household names.
Albritton suffered a stroke in August 2017, and is still dealing with financial and physical aftermath, including expensive medical bills and severely limited mobility requiring physical and occupational therapy. There was an “I Love You Carolyn” fundraising concert series last year and a gofundme campaign, but Albritton still needs help. A motorized wheelchair would make it possible for her to get outside on her own, but that will not be possible without financial support.
For this season’s Jazz in the Courtyard series, Albritton booked four women, including Lorna Boston (June 1), Denise Thimes (July 6), Bethany Pickens (August 3), and Joan Collaso (September 7). The event poster art features brightly colored graphic portraits of the women by local artist, Raquel Peacher. Peacher also created accompanying 24” x 24” acrylic paintings on canvas of the performers, and at each concert, a raffle will be held for that performer’s portrait, signed by both the artist and the performer. The free concerts take place on the first Friday of June, July, and August, from 12-2 p.m. Raffle tickets will be sold during the concert’s intermission for $5 per ticket, with the winner announced at the end of the concert. This is a rare chance to win an original, signed painting of a noted jazz performer, and concert goers are asked to give generously in support of Albritton.