On Thursdays from July 24-August 28, 2014 head over to Millennium Park for a free weekly Jazz concert. www.jazzinchicago.org
“Made in Chicago: World Class Jazz celebrates its 10th year at Millennium Park with a six-concert series featuring Chicago’s leading jazz artists. The diverse program includes concerts that explore jazz connections to Africa, the Middle East and the rhythm and roots of the South. The 2014 series includes tribute concerts and retrospectives, along with opening night of the 36th Annual Chicago Jazz Festival. Presented by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events in partnership with Jazz Institute of Chicago, the free weekly series begins Thursday, July 24 and closes August 28, 2014 with a short set by young, aspiring musicians from Chicago-area high schools as part of the Jazz Institute of Chicago’s Jazz Links Student Ensembles.” Jazz Website
July 24: The Poetry of Paul Laurence Dunbar: Milton Suggs Big Band
Dunbar’s approach to poetry; the rhythm and rhyme of his words is ideal for musical pairing. Suggs, whose father played bass with Elvin Jones, is equally at home setting bebop solos to words, performing the songs of Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn and slipping into the pop-soul styles of Marvin Gaye and Donny Hathaway. His 15-piece big band will feature Sugg’s original compositions arranged by Kris Johnson, a renowned trumpeter, composer and professor at Ohio State University. The Jazz Links Ensemble features Morgan Pirtle (vocals) and Derek Duleba (guitar).
July 31: The Hal Russell Story
A drummer, saxophonist, trumpeter and bandleader, Russell was one of the most colorful, flexible and fiery jazz musicians to ever work in Chicago. His long-running NRG Ensemble was formed in 1980 and became a major influence on the free jazz and improvised music scene led by Ken Vandermark, who often subbed in the group. The original lineup—reedist Mars Williams; bassist, guitarist, and trumpeter Brian Sandstrom; bassist Kent Kessler; and drummer Steve Hunt, along with kindred souls Vandermark and cellist/trumpeter Fred Lonberg-Holm—reunites to play the last album they made with Russell: The Hal Russell Story (ECM, 1992), an autobiographical exploration of the leader’s life in music, with Academy Award-Nominated actor Michael Shannon narrating the story. The Jazz Links Ensemble features Jenna Przybysz (Alto Sax), Chris Shuttleworth (Trombone), Ben Karon (Vibes), Liam Coussens (Bass), Michael Hojnacki (Drums).
August 7: John Moulder’s Earthborne Tales of Soul and Spirit
Moulder powerfully summon heavenly spirits. That’s not only because he’s the best jazz guitarist who happens to be a practicing priest – “varying dimensions of one vocation,” he says – but also because his sheets of electric sound unleash such a positive force. “Earthborne Tales of Soul and Spirit” is music that engages the connection to spirit that resonates in our everyday lives. Featuring an original suite of music performed by the guitarist and a diverse set of musicians including New York saxophonist Donnie McCaslin, pianist Jim Trompeter, trumpeter Marquis Hill, bassist Eric Hochberg and drummer Xavier Breaker. The opening act features the Gallery 37 After School Matters Jazz Ensemble.
August 14: Matana Roberts: Coin Coin Chapter Two: Mississippi Moonchile
Chicago composer, alto saxophonist and sound artist Roberts plays in her hometown for the first time in years, performing the second chapter of her ambitious American-history-focused epic, Coin Coin. Roberts first made her mark in the collective trio Sticks & Stones, and has since developed an artistic practice that is both boundless and rigorous. Although Roberts played earlier versions of Mississippi Moonchile here, this will be the first performance since releasing a recording of the piece for Montreal’s Constellation Records last year. The 18-section suite draws explicitly from the composer’s deep roots in jazz. The Jazz Links Ensemble features Jacari Lobbins (piano), Dorian Martin (saxophone), Charles Sullivan (trombone), Kamil Banks (trumpet), Makhi Junes (bass), Prentiss Rogers (drums).
August 21: Fareed Haque – Chicago: Crossroads of the World
Few jazz musicians embody the polyglot nature of Chicago’s populace like guitarist Haque, himself the son of parents from Pakistan and Chile. Haque’s multifarious interests have often obscured just how deep and accomplished he is as a hard-charging jazz musician. For this multi-part concert, Haque will lead a straight-ahead combo with pianist Willerm Delisfort, bassist Alex Austin and drummer Greg Fundis. For the second set, the quartet will be joined by Hammond B3 organist Tony Monaco and some of the Indian and Arabic musicians featured on the guitarist’s recent Delmark album, Trance Hypothesis. The Jazz Links Ensemble features Ryan Pieniacha (guitar), Even Montgomery (saxophone), Joel Ross (vibes), Alexis Lombre (piano), Austen Goebel (bass), Everett Reid (drums).
August 28: Homage to Nelson Mandela: Ernest Dawkins’ Memory in the Center, an Afro Jazz Opera
The sounds and images of American jazz musicians from the U.S. were an important influence on the development of political discourse of resistance in apartheid South Africa. As American jazz continually refreshes ties to its African American roots by its ever-present spirit of the blues, so South African jazz draws strength from its roots. This project reflects the determination and spirit that energized the South African freedom movement led by Nelson Mandela by foregrounding the influential women in Mandela’s life – Winnie Mandela and Graça Machel – through the powerful voice of Dee Alexander. Bringing together musicians from Chicago, South Africa and London, the ensemble will represent their interconnected histories and mutual influences
Dr. EveAnn Lovero writes Travel Guides @ www.vino-con-vista.com