The Stitely Story
Stitely Entertainment is one of Chicago’s most respected and requested live music companies, providing quality music for private, corporate and public events. Started in 1995 by award-winning musician Jeff Stitely, the company features five exceptional bands: the Stitely Orchestra, Chicago Groove Collective, 312 Chicago, the Stephanie Rogers Band and the Alan Gresik Swing Shift Orchestra. It also features a team of DJs, a variety of jazz, acoustic rock and string combos, excellent solo musicians, and a host of other musical offerings.
Our musicians consist of recording, touring and teaching professionals who have worked with national talent ranging from Madonna and Al Green to Andrew Bird and Wynton Marsalis. In the past five years, our musicians have performed at more than 900 events throughout the U.S., including at such venues and events as the House of Blues, the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Taste of Chicago and Chicago Jazz Fest.
Prior to starting Stitely Entertainment, Jeff performed with his own critically acclaimed jazz ensemble, the Jeff Stitely Quartet, for five years and with renowned Chicago vocalist Patricia Barber for 10 years. As a member of both groups, Jeff toured the U.S., Europe and the Middle East numerous times. The Jeff Stitely Quartet recorded three CDs, including “Chameleon Eyes,” which was named to the year’s “Top 10 Jazz CDs” by the Chicago Sun-Times and WBEZ FM. Jeff’s diverse musical background also includes recording with Andrew Bird, teaching drums to a young Alison Krauss, and performing with legendary jazz greats: Chick Corea, Wynton Marsalis, Randy Brecker, Zoot Sims and “Groove” Holmes.
Jeff’s love for music started in Florida, where he began playing the drums at the age of 10. After winning multiple state competitions and directing his high school jazz band, he attended the University of Illinois in Champaign to study classical percussion. A transformational event in his career was the opportunity to study and perform African drumming and dance with Ghanaian master drummer Gideon Foli Alorwoyie. Inspired by the joyous African musical traditions surrounding weddings, harvests and initiations he decided to start Stitely Entertainment in 1995, to bring joy to celebrations in our culture.
In 1998, Jeff teamed up with a fellow bandleader and saw the company’s band roster grow from one to five. Since then Stitely Entertainment has won the WeddingWire Bride’s Choice award in 2011 and 2012, as well as The Knot Magazine’s Best of Weddings award in 2008, 2009, and 2011.
Says Jeff, “Building this company has been a blast. It’s like Legos for grownups. We’ve grown from one band to four, have outgrown our Evanston offices twice and now work with more than 80 musicians annually. I’m having the time of my life, driven by the opportunity to make people happy. I love planning all the details, witnessing the event come together flawlessly, then packing the dance floor with people losing themselves in the celebration. It’s a great feeling.”