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CHICAGO — A career in jazz is a tricky journey, especially for those just starting out. When COVID-19 hit, the music stopped and prompted an abrupt end to live performances in the intimate spaces that normally swell with energy.

But that only made some hungrier and even more devoted to the long road ahead.

DePaul students and musicians Joey Ranieri, 19, and Alejandro Salazar, 21, were among them.

Together, they’ve found a few other old souls to jam with Connor Mannebach on piano and Anthony Bruno on the sax.

There was no throwing in the towel for these young artists.

On weekends you’ll find the group, plus a few more friends, performing in Oz Park on the city’s North Side. The DePaul music students started a 16-piece big band to share their talents with the masses.

For more information on the pair and their Oz Park concerts, check out and