Hyde Park Jazz Society Presents: Miguel de la Cerna Quartet
This combo was thoughtfully assembled by the jazz fans behind the venerable Hyde Park Jazz Society, which presents invaluable Sunday concerts at Room 43 and helps organize the annual Hyde Park Jazz Festival, (which happens this year on September 28 and 29), keeping the music alive in an area that’s produced untold greats. The organization’s knowledge and savvy is manifest in the intelligence of the make-up of this quartet. The group is led by the stylistically flexible, deeply melodic composer and pianist Miguel de la Cerna—a former music director the great Oscar Brown Jr. and a crucial sideman with singer Dee Alexander—who’s as equally fluent in 12-tone music as he is post-bop.
In fact, what’s fascinating about the superb quartet he leads—with veteran saxophonist Ari Brown, bassist and frequent collaborator Harrison Bankhead, and drummer Avreeayl Ra—is how malleable each musician is: together and alone they embody the countless threads of Chicago jazz tradition, from straight-ahead hard bop to free jazz to global traditions and more. Although the various group members have all worked together in various contexts over the years, there’s something exciting about anticipating what these heavies will come up with together.