2014 Hyde Park Jazz Festival

Well, its finally Spring in Chicago and we are excited to announce the full line up for the 2014 Hyde Park Jazz Festival in early July.  In the meantime, stay tuned for information on our Festival Benefit Concert and Reception and for some some preliminary information on a few of the 2014 Festival performers.

Thank you for your support of the Hyde Park Jazz Festival.

HPJF Team

 

Hyde Park becomes swing city in 7th annual fest

September 30, 2013

Howard Reich

9:51 a.m. CDT, September 29, 2013

Seven years ago, an ad hoc group of South Siders decided to stage a neighborhood jazz festival unlike anything else in the city.

Instead of herding musicians and listeners into a one-size-fits-all downtown park, the Hyde Park Jazz Festival would present artists in unconventional spaces neatly suited to their work. Locations such as Frank Lloyd Wright’s Robie House and the University of Chicago’s Oriental Institute, among others, were transformed into jazz dens where listeners could hear the music under nearly ideal acoustical circumstances.

The festival became an instant hit, and over the weekend we were reminded why, with listeners packing venues large and small, indoors and out. All at once, the neighborhood became a kind of jazz village, as audiences strolled from one spot to the next to hear innovative Chicago musicians, as well as national and international figures.

Clarinetist Anat Cohen and guitarist Douglas Lora perform during the Hyde Park Jazz Festival at the Rockefeller Chapel on the University of Chicago campus Saturday. (John J. Kim / Chicago Tribune / September 29, 2013)

Clarinetist Anat Cohen and guitarist Douglas Lora perform during the Hyde Park Jazz Festival at the Rockefeller Chapel on the University of Chicago campus Saturday. (John J. Kim / Chicago Tribune / September 29, 2013)

Following is a diary of Saturday’s marathon of music-making at Chicago’s most appealing jazz festival, which ends on Sunday night:

1:30 p.m.: Pharez Whitted at the James Wagner Stage on the Midway. Chicago trumpeter Whitted may be nationally known for the heft of his sound and the stratospheric reach of his high notes, but on this afternoon he leads his quintet in a surprisingly – and seductively – low-key performance (at least by his standards). In “Watusi Boogaloo,” Whitted plays phrases that slyly dance around the band’s buoyant but unhurried backbeat. In “Another Kinda Blues,” he dips into a bit of funk, hitting offbeats with sharp accents but soft tones. And in “The Unbroken Promise,” Whitted and the band build a crescendo so slowly and meticulously that you barely know it’s happening. Of course, it’s tough to miss when you have Eddie Bayard sharing the front line on tenor saxophone, Ron Perrillo yielding copious ideas on piano, Greg Artry churning rhythms on drums and Dennis Carroll providing a foundation for it all on bass.

2:45 p.m.: John Wojciechowski at the Smart Museum of Art. Chicago saxophonist Wojciechowski plays in so many other people’s bands – when he’s not busy teaching high school – that we rarely get to hear him fronting his own. That situation is remedied this afternoon, with Wojo (as everyone in Chicago jazz calls him) leading a sterling band featuring pianist Ryan Cohan, bassist Clark Sommers and drummer Dana Hall. Finally, listeners get a chance to hear Wojciechowski and Hall in a space big enough to hold all the sound they can produce: the great outdoors. Serenading an uncommonly hushed and attentive audience in the Smart Museum’s courtyard, Wojciechowski takes his music to exotic harmonic realms in his “Lexicon” and rigorously develops ideas in his whimsically titled “Title.” Wojciechowski also offers an excerpt from bandmate Cohan’s suite “The River,” the tune “Kampala Moon” unfolding as a sensuous jazz nocturne. As in previous years, though, more chairs are needed at the Smart Museum courtyard.

5 p.m.: Frank Rosaly’s Green and Gold in the Performance Penthouse at the University of Chicago’s Logan Center for the Arts. Drummer Rosaly leads one of his most attractive and promising ventures, an unconventional ensemble devoted to exploring the nearly forgotten repertoire of Prince Lasha and Sonny Simmons. Driven by Rosaly’s light, lithe and dexterous approach to the drums, the band captures much of the flavor of the 1960s jazz avant-garde without sounding quaint or nostalgic. The nimble front-line work of saxophonist-flutist Cameron Pfiffner and alto saxophonist Nick Mazzarella is central to this venture, Pfiffner’s ultra-dry tone counterbalanced by Mazzarella’s uncommonly lustrous sound. The sinewy quality of their unison passages finds empathetic support from Tomeka Reid’s warm timbre on cello, Anton Hatwich’s spry bass lines and, of course, Rosaly’s hyper-sensitive, hyper-active drum work. There’s no mistaking the potential of this project.

7 p.m. Jeff Parker at the University of Chicago’s International House. Guitarist Parker was a mainstay in a variety of Chicago bands before his recent move to California, so this performance amounts to a welcome homecoming. At first glance, he appears to be playing at something of a disadvantage, because his trio’s bassist, Chris Lopes, cannot make this engagement. Chicago bassist Joshua Abrams steps into the breach, however, acquitting himself handsomely in scores he has had to learn in short order. The trio, with longtime Parker collaborator Chad Taylor on drums, reaches a high point in Taylor’s “Mainz” from Parker’s “Bright Light in Winter” album. Here Parker produces other-worldly electric-guitar effects punctuated by Abrams’ bowed phrases down low and Taylor’s crisp percussion. Parker reaches into jazz standards, as well, his version of “Body and Soul” melodically creative yet with nary a wasted note.

9:30 p.m. Tomeka Reid Quartet at International House. The miking is a problem here, Reid’s amber-toned cello lines not adequately amplified and, therefore, not fully projecting to a crowded house. Even so, the originality of Reid’s work is unmistakable, thanks to the regality of her sound in legato phrases, the exuberance of her rhythm in swing sections and the precision of her pizzicato work in uptempo passages. In all, a model of what contemporary jazz cello playing can be. If the sound imbalance makes it impossible to adequately assess the band, guitarist Jeff Parker, bassist Joshua Abrams and drummer Frank Rosaly certainly reflect Reid’s aesthetic in bracingly fresh repertoire, including originals by Reid, Abrams and Fred Lonberg-Holm.

11:15 p.m. Anat Cohen and Douglas Lora Duo at the University of Chicago’s Rockefeller Memorial Chapel. Every great jazz festival needs a world premiere, and the Hyde Park gathering has an unforgettable one in this engagement by Israeli clarinetist Cohen and Brazilian guitarist Lora. Though the two had collaborated before in various settings, this performance marks their first duo concert, and judging by its lyrical urgency and technical finesse, there should be many more to come. Cohen stands as one of the world’s great clarinetists, the rounded beauty of her tone matched by the joyousness of her phrasings. Long a student of choro and other Brazilian idioms, Cohen dispatches its relentless syncopations idiomatically but also brings to bear the soulfulness that marks all her work. She hardly could have a more empathetic partner than Lora, who draws lush harmony and a vast array of colors from his seven-string guitar. A splendid new duo is born.

The Hyde Park Jazz Festival runs from 1 to 8 p.m. Sunday at the Midway Plaisance, between Woodlawn and Ellis Avenues; admission is free; visit hydeparkjazzfestival.org.

hreich@tribune.com

Twitter@howardreich

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Who to See at the Hyde Park Jazz Festival

September 30, 2013

Every year, the headlines leading up to the Hyde Park Jazz Festival seem to be the same: bigger, better, grander than the last year. It’d be easy to chalk it up to hyperbole, were it not actually true.

In addition to featuring a broader spread of local jazz talents—innovative improvisers like Mike Reed alongside stalwarts like Corey Wilkes and the effervescent Dee Alexander—the Hyde Park Jazz Festival boasts several more events that emphasize the ‘festival’ aspect of the two-day affair.

Here are some highlights, chosen with the help of the festival’s executive director, Kate Dumbleton:
 Damon Locks

Last year, for the first time in the festival’s seven year history, organizers rolled out a dance floor on the Midway. But as Dumbleton found out, “Having a jazz DJ for dance is a little tricky.” So she’s brought on former-punk-rock-frontman-turned-DJ Damon Locks to man the dance floor this year. “What I love about Damon is that he is so broadly knowledgeable about music. He’ll play records with an understanding of the trajectory of jazz. It keeps people moving.”
Saturday, September 28, West Side at the Main Stage on Midway Plaisance, 731 E 60th St. 
Sun Ra panel + DownBeat Magazine

In lieu of short films this year, festivalgoers can attend a panel on seminal jazz composer and philosopher Sun Ra. They can also watch the Reader’s Peter Margasak quiz guitarist Jeff Parker on his jazz knowledge in a blindfold test. Dumbleton explains the rationale behind these two new features:  “Sun Ra’s an incredible artist who spent a lot of time on the South Side and DownBeat has been asking these musicians stump the expert questions for a while now. I’ve been wanting to do it with Jeff Parker more than anyone, he’s an encyclopedia.”
Sun Ra: Saturday, September 28, 1–2pm.
Downbeat: Saturday, September 28, 4:15pm Logan Center for the Arts, 915 E 60th St.

Anat Cohen and Douglas Lora 

Israeli reedist and Brazilian guitarist Douglas Lora close Saturday with a duet at the Rockefeller Chapel. “The Rockefeller Chapel is my challenge every year,” says Dumbleton. “It seats 1,400 people and it’s meant to be a peak performance, but at the same time it’s really challenging acoustically. Last year trumpeter Miguel Zenon was tasked with the charge. “Anat is equally skilled at thinking through environments and space.” says Dumbleton.
Saturday, September 28, 11–midnight. Rockefeller Chapel, 5850 S Woodlawn Ave.
Oral histories

New this year, attendees can share their memories of listening to live jazz in Hyde Park and other South Side neighborhoods in a booth on the Midway. “You sign up to tell whatever story you want about a jazz or cultural experience on the South Side,” says Dumbleton. “[It’s] an idea that came out of some thinking I’d been doing with my students at the Art Institute. I would talk to [members of] the Hyde Park Jazz Society and kept thinking, why don’t we try documenting this?”
Saturday, September 28, Midway Plaisance, 731 E 60th St. 

Photo: MARC MONAGHAN Dee Alexander will close out the Hyde Park Jazz Festival on Sunday, September 29.

Photo: MARC MONAGHAN
Dee Alexander will close out the Hyde Park Jazz Festival on Sunday, September 29.

The Hyde Park Jazz Festival runs from Saturday, September 28 to Sunday, September 29.

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Neil Tesser’s Not-to-miss Performances at the 2013 HPJF

September 27, 2013

Neil Tesser

chicagomusic.org

My colleague Bill Meyer has already tipped his choices for Saturday’s schedule at the Seventh annual Hyde Park Jazz Festival, which takes place this weekend at various venues in and around the University of Chicago. Bill’s picks center on the new-music performances taking place – which make up a greater proportion of the festival lineup than in years past – and I second his recommendations; I hope to hear most if not all of those artists myself. But the HPJF also boasts a superb roster of more straight-ahead and even mainstream bands, several of them making their festival debut. Here are a few (but certainly not the only ones) I’d try not to miss.

At 1:30 on the James Wagner Stage, trumpet ace Pharez Whittedleads the sextet heard on his last two albums – a band of brothers with enough high-powered sparkle to match Whitted’s own blistering horn work, starring his fellow native Hoosier Eddie Bayard on tenor, and fellow current Chicagoan Bobby Broom on guitar. Growing up in Indianapolis, Whitted developed a keen appreciation for the music and spirit of Freddie Hubbard (that city’s other noteworthy trumpeter), and modeled his style after Hubbard’s – no easy task, considering the extravagant but elegant virtuosity that Hubbard imparted to both the avant-garde and the mainstream in the 1960s and early 70s. But Whitted neither imitates nor parodies the Hubbard style; instead, he builds upon it to create a powerful 21st -century correlative, which has made him a formidable presence on the Chicago scene. The unassailable Chicago rhythm team of pianist Ron Perrillo and bassist Dennis Carroll bolster the front-line soloists, while another Indianapolitan – the fierce and soulful Greg Artry (an increasingly frequent presence on Chicago bandstands) – handles the drums.

http://www.chicagomusic.org/blog/2103-hyde-park-jazz-festival-sept-28-29-neil-tesser#.UkW_umTXg0M

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Bill Meyer’s Picks for the 2013 HPJF

September 27, 2013

Bill Meyer

chicagomusic.org

Founded in 2007, the Hyde Park Jazz Festival is quickly developing into a major contender that could proudly wear the name of a whole city, not just a neighborhood. This year it spans two days and takes place in ten different venues, ranging from intimate indoor spaces to a large stage set up on the Midway Plaisance. The booking is similarly impressive, bringing in international stars like Anat Cohen, enduring local favorites like Alfonso Ponticelli & Swing Gitan, and an impressive representation of the city’s cutting-edge talent. The five ensembles profiled here constitute a short, but by no means inclusive, list of the festival’s cutting-edge acts.

http://www.chicagomusic.org/blog/2103-hyde-park-jazz-festival-sept-28-29-bill-meyer#.UkW-cGTXg0M

MikeReedsPeoplePlacesThings

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The Hyde Park Jazz Festival paints a portrait of the Chicago scene

September 26, 2013

Thirty-two acts at 11 venues, including Dee Alexander, Anat Cohen, Ken Vandermark, and Gerald Clayton

By  @pmarg

HydePark-DeeAlexander-magnum

The Hyde Park Jazz Festival celebrates its seventh anniversary this Saturday and Sunday, September 28 and 29, with the boldest, biggest, most comprehensive program in its history. Kate Dumbleton signed on as the festival’s executive director in spring 2012, giving her only a few months to put together her first effort, and this year’s event has clearly benefited from the extra planning time—no other fest showcases the breadth of Chicago jazz better. Thirty-two acts perform at 11 venues, all but two of which fit into a square of Hyde Park less than five blocks on a side. The 30 local groups cover such a dazzling array of styles and approaches that you’d never notice the absence of out-of-town acts, but a couple visitors sweeten the pot anyway, both playing Saturday—a trio led by New York-based pianist Gerald Clayton (7 PM, Logan Center) and a duo of agile Israeli reedist Anat Cohen and Brazilian guitarist Douglas Lora (11 PM, Rockefeller Chapel). The majority of the festival’s sets fall on Saturday, and other highlights that day include a trio set from pianist Willie Pickens (2 PM, DuSable Museum), a rare performance by the Jeff Parker Trio (7 PM, International House), Ken Vandermark’s powerful Music of the Midwest School (9:30 PM, Logan Center), and the inventive quartet led by cellist Tomeka Reid (9:30 PM, International House). Sunday’s program takes place all over the Midway Plaisance and wraps up at 7 PM with a concert by power­house singer Dee Alexander. This year’s schedule also includes a handful of events that aren’t jazz performances: a Sun Ra panel, a DownBeat magazine “blindfold test” with Jeff Parker (conducted by yours truly), and DJ sets from Eternals front man Damon Locks. All shows are free and all-ages, though some small venues will likely hit capacity and turn people away. Admission is first come, first served (the sets by Clayton’s trio and Frank Rosaly’s Green and Gold are ticketed, but the free tickets, available at the Logan Center box office, are also first come, first served). Donations of any size are gladly accepted, of course, and for $125 you can get a Jazz Pass that guarantees you preferred seating for indoor shows. The festival provides free shuttles between shows; for a complete schedule and a list of venues, visit hydeparkjazzfestival.org.

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The stars gather for Hyde Park Jazz Festival

September 26, 2013

Howard Reich - 10:48 a.m.CDT, September 26, 2013

CT  CT jazz25.jpg

It started out as a seemingly quixotic attempt by a group of South Side jazz lovers to celebrate the music – and it has become one of Chicago’s most ingeniously presented jazz gatherings.

The seventh annual Hyde Park Jazz Festival, running Saturday and Sunday, as always will encompass such unconventional settings as Frank Lloyd Wright’s Robie House and Rockefeller Memorial Chapel, as well as the University of Chicago’s mighty Logan Center for the Arts and other locales.

All events are free, but some performances require tickets that will be available at the box office of the University of Chicago’s Logan Center, 915 E. 60th St., starting at particular times noted below.

Following is an annotated guide to the most promising concerts. For more information, visit hydeparkjazzfestival.org.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/music/ct-ott-0927-jazz-scene-20130926,0,2862877.column

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Year Seven for Jazz Festival

September 25, 2013

pickens

By Jeffrey Bishku-Aykul
Assistant to the Editor, Hyde Park Herald

This weekend’s seventh annual Hyde Park Jazz Festival will feature a healthy mix of veteran and newcomer performers,according to organizers.

More than 30 acts will perform at 10 venues spanning the neighborhood, from 1 p.m. to midnight on Saturday, Sept. 28, and between 1 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 29. The lineup comprises Chicagoans, such as cellist Tomeka Reid and saxophonist Ari Brown, as well as out-of-towners.

“We have some musicians returning every year, because we think they’re wonderful, they have a big audience and they’ve been with us since the beginning,” said festival co-founder Judith Stein, who started helping to put the lineup together in late 2012. She cited pianist Willie Pickens and vocalist Dee Alexander as examples.

Stein added that the lineup featured “young and up-and-coming” performers such as saxophonist Caroline Davis and organist Ben Paterson, as well as edgier ones, including composer-saxophonist Ken Vandermark, a MacArthur Fellow: “He’s certainly more avant garde than some other musicians we’ve had,” Stein said. She called the 12-member supergroup, Chicago Yestet, a “who’s-who of Chicago musicians.”

Read more: http://hpherald.com/2013/09/25/year-seven-for-jazz-festival/

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JUST A FEW DAYS AWAY

September 20, 2013

The countdown begins! The Hyde Park Jazz Festival is just one week away – happening Saturday, September 28, and Sunday, September 29!

This year’s festival features artists such as Anat Cohen & Douglas LoraGerald Clayton TrioDana Hall Quintet, and many others on 13 stages throughout the Hyde Park neighborhood. From the Wagner Stage on the Midway Plaisance to the DuSable Museum, each venue offers a unique concert experience and outstanding music.

In case the action-packed music schedule isn’t enough, we’ve also got an outdoor dance floor, food truck vendorspanel discussionspicnic spots, local artisan vendors, and much more!

dancefloor

As always, the Hyde Park Jazz Festival is free and open to the public, but a suggestion donation of $5 supports our growth and programs.

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Hyde Park Jazz Festival picks up the tempo

July 9, 2013

MY KIND OF JAZZ

by Howard Reich, Arts critic

12:43 PM CDT, July 9, 2013

Several of the most intriguing bands in Chicago jazz, as well as national and international artists, will converge on the city’s South Side for the seventh annual Hyde Park Jazz Festival, running Sept. 28-29 in superb venues across the neighborhood.

Israeli clarinet master Anat Cohen will duet with Brazilian guitarist Douglas Lora at Rockefeller Memorial Chapel. Gerald Clayton, a distinctive pianist of the under-30 generation, will front a trio at the University of Chicago’s Logan Center for the Arts. And bands led by such widely admired Chicago innovators as MacArthur “genius grant” winner Ken Vandermark, drummer-impresario Mike Reed, explosive percussionist Dana Hall, multi-instrumentalist Douglas Ewart and vocal virtuosos Dee Alexander and Tammy McCann will reflect the vastness of 21st century Chicago jazz.

But this festival has a problem, albeit one that most young arts organizations would covet: It has grown so quickly that it barely can keep up with its audience. From the outset, the Hyde Park Jazz Festival has attracted crowds in the thousands, but, remarkably, it remains a mostly volunteer-driven affair. Created in 2007 by an ad hoc group of South Side jazz lovers who gleaned support from the University of Chicago and other neighborhood institutions, the fest rapidly became a cultural rite and a force in Chicago jazz, yet to this day it has zero full-time employees.

“We have a six-year history, but we’re effectively a start-up,” says Kate Dumbleton, who last year became festival director, while the 2012 event was already well into the planning stages.

“We don’t have a printer, we don’t have stamps, we don’t have the basics.”

What they do have is something most other festivals lack: an unusually appealing format that ingeniously embraces its environment. Intimate chamber concerts at Frank Lloyd Wright’s Robie House, formal sets in the University of Chicago’s Logan Center for the Arts, dance-band sessions on the Midway Plaisance – each booking is tailored to a signature Hyde Park venue.

Yet all of this is produced with the barest of resources. Dumbleton, who teaches full-time at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, works for the festival under contract, as does music administrator Carolyn Albritton, and they’ve contracted with various parties to provide support for marketing and venue operations. A University of Chicago intern, a hands-on board and roughly 300 volunteers do everything else.

But an event as increasingly complex as this cannot run on a wing and a prayer forever, which is why the Hyde Park Jazz Festival now stands at a crossroads.

In January, the fest became a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, no longer operating under the auspices of the now-disbanded Hyde Park Alliance for Arts and Culture. And this year is the first in which Dumbleton has been involved in programming from the first day of planning. In effect, she and the jazz aficionados who work with her have been dealing with two demanding tasks at once: building this year’s fest while starting to strategize for the future.

In a way, Dumbleton and friends are following the model of SFJAZZ, which started out in 1982 as the two-day San Francisco Jazz Festival and has become one of the most ambitious, year-round jazz presenters in the country.

“It’s an interesting thing when the community just comes together and makes an audience … and then you think: ‘Oh, we better build an infrastructure’ ” to support it, says Dumbleton.

At this point, Dumbleton does not know what form that organizational structure might take. In the next few months, she and her cohorts will see how much funding they can raise to transform the Hyde Park Jazz Festival from a once-a-year event that appears and quickly disappears, like Brigadoon, into an arts institution that can nurture jazz in Hyde Park throughout the year. Dumbleton envisions the Hyde Park Jazz Festival staging events in partnership with organizations such as University of Chicago Presents and the Jazz Institute of Chicago and collaborating with artists to create interdisciplinary works that encompass jazz, dance, theater and what-not.

Surely the intense public support the festival has enjoyed from the beginning shows that there’s an audience hungry for this kind of programming on the South Side, an ancestral home for jazz in America.

The programming for this year’s festival – which, like last year, has a budget of $300,000 – suggests that Dumbleton and friends are enhancing an already smartly conceived soiree.

For starters, this year’s fest will feature more experimental bands than ever, including Mike Reed’s People, Places & Things; Ken Vandermark’s Midwest School; Frank Rosaly’s Green and Gold; plus ensembles led by visionaries Douglas Ewart, Jeff Parker and Tomeka Reid. For slightly less daring tastes, the fest will present pianist Willie Pickens, saxophonist Ari Brown, singer Maggie Brown (no relation) and trumpeter Corey Wilkes, among others, though one hastens to add that these artists, too, routinely push beyond jazz convention.

Moreover, the festival scheduling has changed a bit this time around.

“One of the things we heard last year is that there was so much, that people couldn’t get to what they wanted to see,” says Dumbleton, acknowledging that stylistically related ensembles were playing at the same time at various venues.

So Dumbleton has tried to program similar attractions in sequence, so listeners who want to hear all the experimental artists, for instance, can catch one after another in different settings.

Two venues from previous years – the Hyde Park Art Center and Hyde Park Union Church – will not be part of the festival this time: They were already booked and could not participate. Dumbleton expects they’ll be back in 2014.

As always, the University of Chicago has been central to presenting the festival, says Dumbleton.

One other point: Rather than simply booking noted headliners who quickly assemble a band for the occasion, the festival has invited many artists to bring specific projects they’ve been nurturing. Thus Vandermark will feature his eloquent Midwest School, an illuminating ensemble that explores and re-conceives music of Roscoe Mitchell, Anthony Braxton, Henry Threadgill and Julius Hemphill. And drummer Rosaly will lead Green and Gold, a unit that plays music of Prince Lasha and Sonny Simmons.

If the Hyde Park Jazz Festival can generate this much creative programming during a single weekend, one hardly can imagine what it could achieve if it transformed itself into the larger producing organization it deserves to be.

Following is the complete performance lineup for the seventh annual Hyde Park Jazz Festival. Film events, panel discussions and other related programming will be announced later. For details, visit hydeparkjazzfestival.org.

To read more from Howard Reich on jazz, go to chicagotribune.com/reich. hreich@tribune.com Twitter @howardreich

Download the complete 2013 Hyde Park Jazz Festival Schedule.

Copyright © 2013 Chicago Tribune Company, LLC

www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/music/ct-ent-0710-jazz-hyde-park-20130710,0,4244857.column

 

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Etienne Charles: “Creole Soul”

June 26, 2013

By Peter Margasak

Trinidadian trumpeter and bandleader Etienne Charles, who studied in Florida and lives in New York, puts a lot of thought into his albums, and the forthcoming Creole Soul (due July 23 from Culture Shock) is no exception. On his previous album, Kaiso, Charles transformed Trinidad’s best-loved export, calypso, with sturdy small-group jazz arrangements, fusing two traditions in which he’s completely fluent. His “creole soul” has a broader reach, sweeping up various strains of 20th-century Caribbean folk and pop (not just from Trinidad but also from Martinique, Haiti, and Jamaica) and feeding them into the ever-widening maw of modern jazz, in the process creating a multivalent hybrid that underlines the soulfulness of all its parts. The album opens with guest vocals by inventive Haitian roots singer Erol Josué (in the Haitian creole Kweyol) and includes deft interpretations of Bob Marley’s “Turn Your Lights Down Low” and Willie Cobbs’s Bo Diddley-inspired blues “You Don’t Love Me (No No No),” which was later transformed into a rocksteady classic by Jamaican singer Dawn Penn. The band also does a gorgeous version of the Mighty Sparrow calypso ballad “Memories” and accentuates the calypso feel of the melody in Thelonious Monk’s “Green Chimneys.” Charles fronts the same strong band from Kaiso, including French saxophonist Jacques Schwartz-Bart, bassist Ben Williams, and drummer Obed Calvaire, but this time out the arrangements are much slicker, veering dangerously close to glossy fusion—particularly on the three tracks that feature the antiseptic contributions of guitarist Alex Wintz. Tonight that shouldn’t be as big a problem, though: Charles plays a fund-raiser for the Hyde Park Jazz Festival with Schwartz-Bart, pianist Christian Sands, bassist Rodney Whitaker, drummer Dana Hall, and percussionist Zach Himmelhoch.

When: Thu., June 27, 7:30 p.m.
Price: $50, $100 VIP, $10 students

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