Chicago Calling

Chicago Calling is a quartet thats all about the jazz greats that came from Chicago or spent some formative years there. The band presents music written by or associated with musicians; Johnny Griffin, Eddie Harris, Dinah Washington, Joe Williams, Sun Ra, John Gilmore, Clifford Jordan, Johnny Hartman, Von Freeman, Fred Anderson, Gene Ammons, Carmen McRae, Herbie Hancock, Nat King Cole, Ahmad Jamal, Earma Thompson, and Jodie Christian, and she relates the history, circumstances and personalities that made these musicians Chicago legends.

Chicago Calling’s shows are a unique musical tour through a history of the Chicago legends and the places they played.

The Ensemble

Juli Wood

Sax and Vocals

Juli Wood plays tenor sax and sings. She’s done lots of research and relates fun and interesting tidbits about Chicago’s rich jazz history. She was lucky to work with and be mentored by some of Chicago’s wonderful jazz musicians; Earma Thompson, Jodie christian, Eddie Johnson, and Indianapolis native Mel Rhyne.

Mike Schlick


Mike Schlick is an in demand drummer in Chicago. He has played with jazz and blues luminaries ; Buddy Guy, Scott Hamilton, Dave Specter, David Hazeltine, Eric Alexander, Jack McDuff, Melvin Rhyne, Earma Thompson, Jodie Christian, Von Freeman and Jimmy Johnson.

Matt Ferguson


Acoustic and electric bassist Matt Ferguson has been active on the Chicago jazz scene since 1991. A native Chicagoan, Matt attended Lane Tech and DePaul University where he studied jazz and classical bass performance. He has been an in-demand sideman since the age at 21, performing regularly with artists such as Lin Halliday, Jodie Christian, Ron Dewar, Geof Bradfield, Mike Allemana, Pat Mallinger, The Model Citizens and George Freeman. He was a regular member of Von Freeman’s quartet from 2003 until Vonski’s death in 2012, playing every Tuesday night at the famed New Apartment Lounge on 75th St. Matt has gigged with numerous players of international renown such as Steve Coleman, Eric Alexander, Julian Priester, Mickey Roker, Chico Freeman and Arturo Sandoval. He, drummer Gerald Dowd and guitarist Mike Allemana currently co-lead a free-funk band called The Regulators.

Dr. Mike Allemana


Dr Mike Allemana is a masterful guitarist and now head of the jazz music department at the University of Chicago. He was in Von Freeman’s New Apartment Lounge band for many years. He’s also played with jazz greats; Lin Halliday, Charles Earland, Dr Lonnie Smith, Ron Dewar, Mickey Roker, Jimmy Cobb, Bernard Purdie, and George Freeman to name a few.

Some of Mike’s career highlights include performances with Dr. Lonnie Smith in 1998 and 1999, a four-year residency at Andy’s Jazz Club with tenor saxophonist Ron Dewar from 1998-2002, a 2005 performance at Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center with Von Freeman and drumming legend Mickey Roker, a 2006 performance with Von Freeman and master drummer Jimmy Cobb, and performances with alto saxophonist Steve Coleman. In 2010, Mike toured to Poznan, Poland to perform with fellow Chicago guitarists Bobby Broom and Jeff Parker for the Made in Chicago Festival. The Jazz Institute of Chicago commissioned him in 2011 to arrange Von Freeman’s original compositions for a 10-piece ensemble for the Made in Chicago concert series at Millennium Park which featured special guests Eric Alexander, Julian Priester, and Steve Coleman. He travelled again to Poznan in 2011 to perform an original 4-part suite dedicated to Von Freeman written for jazz octet, commissioned by the Made in Chicago Festival. This piece was revised and expanded for a commission from the Jazz Institute of Chicago in 2018, which Mike entitled Vonology, an exploration of Von Freeman’s musical and historical legacy .

Audio Samples

“Juli Wood showed she was a superb saxophonist with a taste for long blues drenched solos and a sterling feeling for tradition and what great saxophonists from the past have done. She wove her own straight forward statements from the horn with a great deal of heart and a real heaping helping of soul. “
Jan-Erik Holmberg – Hufvudstadsbladet / Helsinki Finland