Demonstrating both a Cannonball-esque agility and a Coltrane-ish intensity, he brings his own coloristic concept to bands including Robert Irving III's New Generations (see Sunday's lineup) and his own smartly layered quintet, including trumpeter Victor Garcia, guitarist Scott Hesse, bassist Junius Paul and drummer Michael Piolet.
Trumpeter Chad McCullouch, who hails from Seattle, has brought a forceful "outsider's game" to Chicago since moving here to join the music faculty at DePaul, playing with a distinctive muscularity and wiry quality.
With his terrific foursome, Jeremy Cunningham takes his place among such visionary young drummers as Tyshawn Sorey, Ches Smith and Chicago's Makaya McCraven (see Saturday's lineup) who are bringing an intriguing new dimension to jazz as band leaders.
"There's nobody like Clark." That's what Art Hoyle said about his friend and fellow trumpeter Clark Terry before Terry's passing at 94 earlier this year, and it's difficult to conceive of any time when that won't be true. The man called Mumbles was as mighty a spirit as he was a musician, which is saying a mouthful.
Best known for her work with Som Brasil, one of the most popular Latin bands to make a name for itself in the Windy City, she continues to cast a lilting spell as only the finest practitioners of the music can.
We are, for sure, experiencing a golden age of the piano trio. What makes this outpouring of great threesomes so special, aside from their prodigious talent, is how unique they are: Good luck finding common ground among such elite groups as Jason Moran's Bandwagon, the Bad Plus, the trios led by Brad Mehldau and Vijay Iyer – and, perhaps especially, the Craig Taborn Trio.
We know that "trumpeter's trumpeter" is a cliché, but we won't let that stop us from laying that term on this impeccable talent either. For several decades now, Lewis has never been bothered by tags and labels himself, playing what is close to his heart.
Performing music from their new Southport Records album, All in the Family, their all-star band will offer what Chico called a "panorama" of Chicago musical styles – one that will capture both the sounds the city is known for internationally (he has lived for two years in Switzerland) and some distant listener might not associate with the home of tough tenors.
Rising star vocalist José James (a Minneapolis native) who has been noted for melding R&B, singer-songwriter sensibilities with his core jazz training, will be performing songs from his latest record, Yesterday I Had the Blues, celebrating the 100th birthday of the iconic and tragic Billie Holiday
For more than three decades, Fred Hersch has raised the bar on piano trios about as high as it can be raised. Though he has played in numerous other settings, in some cases on word-based projects with vocalists, he's at his best in a threesome, applying a cutting intelligence to the most lyrical songs and a subtle rhythmic spark to even tunes that unwind slowly.
The Chicago Jazz Orchestra under the direction of bassist Jeff Lindberg will feature guest arrangers interpreting Strayhorn's music including Chicagoan Edward Wilkerson, drummer-composer-arranger John Hollenbeck, composer/trumpeter Steven Bernstein, trombonist/arranger Tom Garling and pianist arranger Gordon Godwin.
Jay Pritzker Pavillion
Preston Bradley Hall
Jazz on Jackson
Jazz and Heritage Stage
The Chicago Community Trust Young Jazz Lions Stage