Chicago Jazz Shows This Weekend

From the Chicago Tribune:

Douglas Ewart‘s Nyahbingi Drum Choir,9:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the Velvet Lounge, 67 E. Cermak Rd.; $5-$15; 312-791-9050. Multi-instrumentalist Ewart leads a number of innovative ensembles, but the Nyahbingi Drum Choir stands out among them. Fusing aspects of Jamaica’s “mento” music (a forerunner of ska and reggae) with the improvisational techniques of Chicago’s South Side avant-garde, the Nyahbingi Drum Choir mines Afro-Caribbean rhythms unlike anything else in Ewart’s oeuvre. Unfortunately, Ewart has recorded just a couple of tracks with this ensemble since he established the group, in 1986. But he promises to release a full-fledged CD later this year. Until then, the live performance is the only place to encounter the original compositions and Jamaican folkloric tunes that are central to the Nyahbingi Drum Choir, which will include vocalist Dee Alexander, reedist Edward Wilkerson Jr., and a core of musicians playing hand-held percussion.

Nicole Mitchell,7:30 p.m. Saturday at Harper College Performing Arts Center, 1200 W. Algonquin Rd., Palatine; $15-$25; 847-925-6100. Though the protean Chicago flutist seems to thrive in all settings, she doesn’t perform as often in concert halls as her artistry merits. This event offers a welcome opportunity to hear her in a serious listening room, where she’ll lead her quartet.

Isaiah Spencer,6 p.m. Sunday at the Velvet Lounge, 67 E. Cermak Rd.; $5-$10; 312-791-9050. Freewheeling jam sessions aren’t as abundant as they were in an earlier era, yet several have been sprouting in Chicago clubs in recent years. Spencer, a propulsive young drummer, has been inviting all comers to this weekly session, in which he leads a core group staffed by fellow young lions, including saxophonist Kevin Nabors, multi-instrumentalist Christopher McBride, trumpeter Sayid Chrisberg, guitarist Scott Hesse and bassist Junius Paul (depending on who’s in town).

Ari Brown,9 p.m. Tuesday at Andy’s Jazz Club, 11 E. Hubbard St.; $10; 312-642-6805. Busier than ever, Chicago saxophonist Brown proves that the combination of bebop syntax and free-jazz experimentation can appeal to a mainstream audience.

Ab Baars Trio with Ken Vandermark,7 p.m. Wednesday at the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington St.; free; 312-744-6630. Launching their Chicago residency amid a brisk, North American tour, Dutch reedist Baars and his Chicago counterpart Vandermark should be in fighting form.

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Ari Brown is blowing up

Ari Brown is profiled.

Yet Brown’s profile has ascended, perhaps inevitably. Listen to the deep well of sound he coaxes from his tenor, as well as the relentless creativity of his solos, and it’s impossible to deny the man’s artistic stature. When Brown picks up his horn, everything else on the bandstand sounds a little smaller.

No wonder the University of Illinois at Chicago recently recruited him.

“I think the first move I made [at UIC] was to hire Ari,” says Orbert Davis, director of jazz studies at UIC. “Ari is the epitome of the jazz musician for me. He lives the music, he’s forever searching for new things.”

You can hear it in Brown’s work, which crystallizes the philosophies of the biggest musical influence in his life—the Association for the Advancement for Creative Musicians. Brown was just finding his way as a musician, in the early 1960s, when the South Side collective of innovative musicians was taking shape. Its quest to perpetually redefine jazz through new sounds, unorthodox techniques and novel instrumentation inspired Brown to put music at the center of his life.

Since then, Brown has worked with generations of jazz luminaries, from Roscoe Mitchell to Anthony Braxton to Kahil El’Zabar, embracing their penchant for the experimental.

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Delmark Shows in Chicago

Kahil El'Zabar at Chicago's Ethnic Heritage En...Image via Wikipedia From Delmark:

Delmark Records‘ 55th Anniversary Tribute Concert at Old Town School of Folk Music !!
Friday, September 26, 2008, 8 pm
4544 N. Lincoln Ave in Chicago’s Lincoln Square

Chicago Blues/Jazz Summit with
Dave Specter (guitar, bandleader),
Ari Brown (sax, bandleader),
Nicole Mitchell (flute) ,
Lurrie Bell (guitar, voc),
Jimmy Johnson (guitar, voc)
Corey Wilkes (trumpet) ,
and many special guests !

Ari Brown and his band with special guests Nicole Mitchell and Corey Wilkes will be performing an hour set @ 8-9pm
Dave Specter and his band with special guests Jimmy Johnson and Lurrie Bell will be performing an hour set @9:45- 11pm, with possibly a night ending blues/jazz jam session.

Saturday, September 27, 2008
Hyde Park Jazz Fest in Chicago! Free!

The 2nd Annual Hyde Park Jazz Festival on Saturday, September 27, will bring together world-class headliners and local emerging artists for fourteen hours of free, non-stop jazz for the serious and casual listener, alike.

Many Delmark artists are featured on this fantastic Fest, including ragtime pianist Reginald R. Robinson, flutist/composer Nicole Mitchell, saxophonist Ari Brown, saxophonist Fred Anderson, percussionist/composer Kahil El ‘ Zabar, pianist Willie Pickens, trumpeter Corey Wilkes, vocalist Dee Alexander, vocalist Frieda Lee, pianist Robert Irving III, and more!

The Festival will highlight performances by renowned jazz musicians and dance performances, while celebrating the music and culture of Chicago’s Hyde Park. Ramsey Lewis is serving as this year’s Honorary Festival Chair. Other standout performers include Ron Haynes, Sax in the City, Two For Brazil, Maggie Brown, Grazyna Auguscik, Orbert Davis, Henry Johnson, Edwin Sanchez, and many others. Festival shuttles will continually loop, transporting attendees, free of charge, to a variety of creative and unexpected performance venues and the main stage at the Midway Plaisance. Free performances will take place on the Midway Plaisance and at Checkerboard Lounge, DuSable Museum, Experimental Station, Hyde Park Art Center, International House, Little Black Pearl, Oriental Institute Museum, Quadrangle Club, Robie House, Rockefeller Chapel, and Smart Museum of Art.

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