2014 Hyde Park Jazz Festival
July 10, 2014
The Hyde Park Jazz Festival is pleased to
announce this year’s complete schedule.
2014 artists include:
Pianist of the Year Craig Taborn in his first solo performance in Chicago
Dee Alexander Quartet featuring Oliver Lake
J.D. Allen Quartet
Etienne Charles & Creole Soul
Art Hoyle Quintet
For the entire schedule and artist bios, please refer to the SCHEDULE/ARTISTS menu option above. Click HERE to download the schedule.
Read Howard Reich’s write up on the 2014 line-up in Chicago Tribune here and in today’s paper.
May 21, 2014
In a sneak peek of the 2014 line-up, the Hyde Park Jazz Festival is pleased to announce the following musicians will be participating at the festival:
Craig Taborn in his first solo performance in Chicago
at Rockefeller Chapel
JD Allen Quartet featuring Orrin Evans (piano), Alexander Claffy (bass), Jonathan Barber (drums), and JD Allen (sax)
Dana Hall’s Black Ark Movement featuring Ben Goldberg (clarinetist), Russ Johnson (trumpet), John Wojciechowski (reeds),
and Dana Hall (drums/cymbals)
Houston Person Quartet
Tomeka Reid with her string trio Hear in Now featuring Mazz Swift (violin/vocals) and Silvia Bolognesi (bass)
Orbert Davis’ Chicago Jazz Philharmonic Chamber Ensemble
Stay tuned for the full line up of more than 40 programs to be announced in early July.
Read about this year’s festival in Howard Reich’s Chicago Tribune article HERE and below.
May 21, 2014
9:46 a.m. CDT, May 20, 2014
A world premiere by Chicago drummer-bandleader Dana Hall, a solo concert by the innovative pianist Craig Taborn and a high-profile engagement by genre-defying Chicago cellist Tomeka Reid will play the eighth annual Hyde Park Jazz Festival, running Sept. 27 to 28 in multiple locations.
In addition, the lineup will feature Orbert Davis’ Chicago Jazz Philharmonic Chamber Ensemble kicking off its 10th anniversary season; the quartet of saxophonist J.D. Allen, who has turned in impressive work as sideman to trumpeter Jeremy Pelt; and an appearance by veteran tenor saxophonist Houston Person.
Many of these bookings underscore the festival’s recent tendency to lean forward toward adventurous, often unexpected facets of 21st century jazz. At the same time, judging by previous seasons, mainstream and other aspects of the music also will turn up when the full schedule is announced in July.
But there are bigger, broader currents at work here than covering stylistic bases.
“We’ve been thinking a lot about ways we might expand the festival into a year-round organization, though of course the festival itself is the core thing – the main event, if you will,” says Kate Dumbleton, the organization’s executive and artistic director.
“So there are a couple of things in this year’s festival that are a part of that. One of them is this idea of working with local artists so that they could develop new ideas and potentially bring in artists from other places to work with them and present a special project.
“We’d like to support individual artists in Chicago – I think it’s important for the city think about that broadly. I don’t think we do enough of it. That means some of the best artists are struggling to stay here.”
As part of the festival’s ongoing efforts to give leading Chicago musicians a forum for some of their most ambitious ideas, this year’s event will launch Dana Hall’s Black Ark Movement, which will reflect upon the historic collaboration of reedist John Carter and trumpeter Bobby Bradford. Both launched their careers in Texas, migrated to California and famously collaborated with each other and with jazz visionary Ornette Coleman in various contexts.
But drummer Hall sees the Carter-Bradford model as a starting point for the Black Ark Movement project.
“There’s been this large contingent of migration of musicians throughout the South to the West Coast, (but) often times a lot of the important movements in music – particularly post-World War II movements – have been situated and discussed with regard to New York and the East Coast,” says Hall.
“Well, a lot of those musicians that went East – the primary mover would be Ornette – really started incubating those ideas in Los Angeles, and his close collaborators were there.
“There’s always this misconception that Charlie Parker and Dizzy (Gillespie) went from New York to the West, to L.A., and were Messiahs and brought music and record players and electricity,” adds Hall, exaggerating only slightly.
“The reality is that there were people making this (innovative) music in California. They had their own ideas. … So this project (explores) these marginalized cities in the history of jazz. And L.A. is one of them.”
Moreover, Hall sees his Black Ark Movement as a gateway for him to explore other sounds, such as the music of the colossal pianist-bandleader-adventurer Horace Tapscott. Like Coleman, Bradford, Carter and others, Tapscott left Texas to go to Los Angeles, becoming an organizer of a music-community movement along the lines of Chicago’s Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM).
That sense of movement of people and ideas inspired the “Ark” term in the name of Hall’s project, which also obviously evokes Sun Ra’s Arkestra.
What’s important to note in terms of the Hyde Park Jazz Festival is that this growing institution is giving Hall the budget and resources to launch his Black Ark Movement, which will bring in noted San Francisco Bay Area clarinetist Ben Goldberg and will feature trumpeter Russ Johnson, reedist John Wojciechowski and a bassist to be named.
“That’s one of the things I really like about the Hyde Park festival – I started Black Fire there a few years ago,” says Hall, referring to a venture that builds upon music of pianist Andrew Hill and blossomed into a major engagement in Millennium Park and an ongoing run at Andy’s Jazz Club.
“I’ve been able to incubate new music and new projects. It’s like a home for me to be able to do those kinds of things.”
Along these lines, the festival this year will give cellist Tomeka Reid, one of the most promising musician-bandleaders in Chicago, an opportunity to develop her Hear in Now trio. When she led this group at the Chicago Jazz Festival in 2010, it offered luminous scores that embraced jazz, classical and experimental techniques.
“The times I’ve heard it, it was a pretty nascent group that I admired right away,” says Dumbleton of an ensemble that features Reid with violinist Mazz Swift and bassist Silvia Bolognesi.
“All three are wonderful composers. Silvia is a great bassist – she has to come from Italy for this. It’s taken Tomeka and me two years to make (this engagement) work. Tomeka spent a month-and-a-half in Italy this spring … just developing their ensemble work.”
And pianist Taborn will play one of the most appealing settings of the festival, offering a solo set at Rockefeller Memorial Chapel.
But unusual – and unusually inviting – venues are part of what distinguish the Hyde Park Jazz Festival from more generic events. Concerts unfold in Frank Lloyd Wright’s Robie House, the courtyard of the Smart Museum of Art, Hyde Park Union Church and multi-room complexes such as the University of Chicago’s International House and Logan Center for the Arts, most within walking distance of each other. Like last year, music will unfold outdoors on two stages along the Midway Plaisance.
In effect, Hyde Park itself becomes the backdrop for the festival, making this event a national leader in using its environment as part of the proceedings.
That Dumbelton, who’s also an assistant professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and colleagues do all this on a budget of just under $300,000 represents a feat in itself. Support comes from the University of Chicago’s Office of Civic Engagement and Southwest Airlines, among others. And an annual benefit – which this year will present the Chicago premiere of the WRW Trio featuring Steve Wilson, Renee Rosnes and Peter Washington on June 26 – generates about a third of the budget, says Dumbleton.
Whether the festival succeeds in becoming a year-round force remains to be seen, but it already has been presenting events in partnership with the Logan Center, and Dumbleton hopes to do more.
Which would be welcome.
The WRW Trio – staffed by saxophonist Steve Wilson, pianist Renee Rosnes and bassist Peter Washington – will play the 8th Annual Hyde Park Jazz Festival Benefit Reception and Concert, with reception at 6 p.m. and performance at 7:30 p.m. June 26 at the new Promontory Restaurant, 1539 E. 53d St.; concert only tickets are $60; tables range from $1,200 and up; visit hydeparkjazzfestival.org.
April 20, 2014
Hyde Park Jazz Festival 2014 is September 27th and 28th! Save the Dates!
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.
September 30, 2013
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
The Hyde Park Jazz Festival runs from Saturday, September 28 to Sunday, September 29.
September 27, 2013
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.
September 27, 2013
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.
September 26, 2013
Thirty-two acts at 11 venues, including Dee Alexander, Anat Cohen, Ken Vandermark, and Gerald Clayton
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.
September 26, 2013
Howard Reich - 10:48 a.m.CDT, September 26, 2013
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.