Born and raised in South Carolina, Xavier Breaker brings to the bandstand both a limber, excitable style as a drummer and strong writing skills developed at Northern Illinois University's jazz studies program. In a short time, he and the members of his Coalition have established themselves as rising players in Chicago's "next generation" of jazz players.
The neo-swing movement of the '80s has come and gone, but one of its key players, guitarist Howard Alden, continues to promote the timeless attributes of pre-modern jazz while exploring some of the unsung artists who left their mark on it.
A prolific bassist on the Chicago scene, Joshua Abrams has played in and recorded with any number of important bands over the past 15 years including Nicole Mitchell's Black Earth Ensemble, Mike Reed's Loose Assembly and Dave Rempis' Aphelion trio. Abrams also has made his mark as a leader. The New York Times praised his 2010 album, Natural Information, as "one of the rough gems of the post-everything musical era."
A straight-ahead jazz vocalist whose recent, acclaimed, self-produced debut album, Without a Song, includes such classics as “That Old Black Magic,” “Devil May Care” and “For All We Know,” Paul Marinaro sings with the easy authority of someone who grew up with these songs – which he did.
You might reasonably expect a band named (Ba)SH to make a bunch of unadulterated noise. And with the great drummer Dana Hall's bomb-dropping capabilities, they certainly are capable of that. But if any quality defines bassist Clark Sommers' trio, featuring consummate saxophonist Geof Bradfield, it's their exploratory sensibility.
A notable recent addition to the Chicago jazz scene, trumpeter Russ Johnson has fit right in with his ability to play a wide range of styles in a wide range of settings. During his years in New York, the Racine, Wis., native played with such heavies as Lee Konitz (he's a member of the altoist's New Nonet) and Bill Frisell and such emerging stars as Jenny Scheinman and Noah Prem
The Wayne Wallace Latin Jazz Quintet's days of flying under the radar are at an end. Its 2013 album, Latin Jazz/Jazz Latin, earned the San Francisco-based group its second Grammy nomination for Best Latin Jazz Album. And Wallace, a trombonist who has a handful of Grammy nominations for other projects, is reaping more and more critical praise for his "gorgeous" playing" (JazzWax
Guitar duos rarely have the edgy excitement that this one promises. Chicago legend George Freeman, a sui generis stylist if ever there was one on the instrument, is prized by young listeners who have had their heads spun by his soul-jazz experiments from the '70s, and fans who have never heard guitar lines of such keening, bop-charged expression.
It's been four decades since Rufus Reid lived in Chicago, where he attended Northwestern University and got his career off to an imposing start accompanying legends at the Jazz Showcase. But his fans here still embrace the bassist nonpareil as one of their own, which makes his latest festival appearance extra special.
When Myra Melford was taking piano lessons from Erwin Helfer as a teenager in the northern suburbs, could she ever have imagined they'd both be featured artists at the Chicago Jazz Festival? Maybe, maybe not. But if there's one thing Melford has never lacked, it's vision.
For those fans who recall trumpeter Terence Blanchard's 1980's stint as one of the young lions of the Jazz Messengers, it has been extra-gratifying watching him develop into a bandleading mentor and starmaker in his own right. Tonight, as on his striking 2013 album, Magnetic, he'll have three more emerging players in his midst: the rhythm section of pianist Fabian Almazan, bass
Jay Pritzker Pavillion
Preston Bradley Hall
Jazz on Jackson
Jazz and Heritage Stage
The Chicago Community Trust Young Jazz Lions Stage