Jim Gailloreto’s Jazz String Quintet

Aug. 30 - 2012

Employing classical-style strings in an improvisational jazz setting usually works better on paper than in actual performance. Too often, the strings function as additive sweetener rather than integral swinging component. But since 1997, Chicagoan Jim Gailloreto has been perfecting his singular string concept, which is to join his soprano saxophone to an accomplished chamber quartet: violinists Katherine Hughes and Carol Kalvonjian, violist Benton Wedge and cellist Jill Kaeding, Gailloreto’s wife. As featured on the 2009 album American Complex, the Jazz String Quintet, as the group is known, exquisitely dismantles the wall between jazz and classical.

A terrific soloist on multiple wind instruments and a gifted writer and arranger, Gailloreto is used to having his message box filled with job offers. He has played with the Chicago Jazz Ensemble and Chicago Symphony Orchestra. He has written material for and played with top-shelf jazz singers Kurt Elling and Patricia Barber. He has guested with harmonica veteran Corky Siegel’s Chamber Blues band, the new music group Fulcrum Point and stellar New York pianist Fred Hersch.

For today’s performance, Gailloreto has written a special duo arrangement of the Fats Waller classic “Honeysuckle Rose” for himself and Kaeding, who has fully recovered from the injury that forced the group to cancel its appearance at last year’s festival. He’s excited about the piece because it will give her a chance to stretch out. Gailloreto also has worked up new, groove-oriented material and will lead the ensemble on one of its most popular numbers, John Coltrane’s “Giant Steps” – an appropriate title for a group that has made such impressive strides on such uncommon ground



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