"A significant new force" on Chicago's improvised-music scene, per the Reader's Peter Margasak, the Rooms Trio is one of those uncommon groups that is able to draw on mainstream jazz and an edgy experimentalism without selling either short.
The daughter of a preacher, Chicago singer Michele Thomas brings an irresistible gospel-soul warmth to jazz. And, as she demonstrates with her Stevie Wonder covers Messenger, her 2012 album, she applies a sophisticated jazz sensibility to gospel and soul. Messenger was so-named in recognition of her subject's outspoken message songs, including "Higher Ground," to which she brin
An unrepentant traveler who moves between Chicago, Austin, New Orleans and the Pacific Northwest, reed player Jonathan Doyle shifts just as restlessly between improvised jazz, Western swing and rockabilly (hear him on albums by Wayne "The Train" Hancock and JD McPherson). Formed in Texas, the Swingtet grew out of such bands as Chicago neo-swingers the Mighty Blue Kings, in whic
With her third and best release as a leader, Bring Joy, released late last year, pianist Jo Ann Daugherty added to her growing reputation as a mainstream artist who stands apart from the pack. As reflected in her deep-in-the-keys rendition of South African legend Abdullah Ibrahim's infrequently covered spiritual, "Water from an Ancient Well," she's a lyrical stylist who doesn't
Today, Berman will write another intriguing chapter in his late-breaking career by essentially merging three very different jazz scenes. His quartet will include the thrilling New York alto saxophonist Darius Jones, in whose Chicago Edition Berman played last year; quick-witted American-born, Amsterdam-based drummer Michael Vatcher, celebrated for his work in such groups as Tri
Timbales man Johnny Blas' music is rooted in the Latin sounds that came out of his native New York in the '70s and early '80s, when such heroes of his as Eddie Palmieri, Ray Barretto and Willie Colon created the sound associated with the Fania label. A bandleader since 1992, Blas is known for his killer trombone sections, but today will offer a more streamlined horn sound with
Reviewing a 2015 album by the great South African drummer Louis Moholo-Moholo's group 4 Blokes, Guardian critic John Fordham praised its "astonishing intensity." We can only imagine how intense today's set will get with a fifth Bloke on board. Not that Moholo-Moholo, at 77 the last surviving member of South Africa's legendary Blue Notes, requires more than his own rapturous pla
Fifty years is a mighty long time for an individual to be putting out records, but Chuck Nessa has more than his prized label's longevity to celebrate. The onetime Jazz Record Mart employee has released some of Chicago's most significant recordings, including history-making classics by the Art Ensemble of Chicago and its individual members, Air, Leo Smith and Von Freeman. Thoug
Plenty of female singers have left their mark on jazz – for years, it was pretty much their only avenue into the music – but there is only one Sheila Jordan. At 88, she remains the die-hardiest champion of bebop on the planet – an artist who in carrying forth the spirit of her hero Charlie Parker radiates a winning combination of hipness and warmth
On his beautiful new album, Honey and Salt, Wilson celebrates his Illinois roots by paying timely tribute to one of our cultural icons, poet Carl Sandburg, who died 50 years ago this past July. “I feel sometimes that of all the celebrated American poets, he doesn't really get his due," said Wilson, whose approach to music has been inspired from the start by Sandburg.
Formed as a street band in 1983 by the brothers Frazier, bass drummer Keith and tuba player Phil, along with Kermit Ruffins (who left RBB in 1994), this octet takes brass band tradition by the horns and shakes it to high-stepping effect with reggae, rap and James Brown-inspired funk.
Jay Pritzker Pavillion
Preston Bradley Hall
Von Freeman Pavilion
Jazz and Heritage Stage
Roof Top Jazz: Young Jazz Lions (Harris Theater Rooftop Terrace)