Juli Wood Trio
“What is this thing called Jazz?” Ask any 5 people and you’ll get 5 different answers. Is one of them right and the others wrong? Not according the Jazz Institute of Chicago. Seeing jazz as a mosaic whose whole is substantially greater than its parts, “What is this thing called Jazz?” sets out to fill in the mosaic by presenting the many ways in which an audience can talk about jazz. This year the question gets answered by the Juli Wood Trio, Chicago Calling, as they play and talk about Chicago jazz greats, largely from the South Side, such as Johnny Griffin, Johnny Hartman, Joe Williams, Eddie Harris, Clifford Jordan, Sun Ra, John Gilmore, and Dinah Washington.
A versatile musician who plays soprano, alto, tenor, and baritone saxophones and sings, Juli Wood has worked alongside organist Mel Rhyne and pianists Earma Thompson and Ken Chaney. She is joined by bassist Harrison Bankhead, a key force in Ed Wilkerson’s 8 Bold Souls, and collaborator of Ernest Dawkins, Hamid Drake, Fred Anderson, Dee Alexander, and Roscoe Mitchell; and drummerAvreeyal Ra, a former member of Sun Ra’s Arkestra , who has performed and /or recorded with Fred Anderson, Amiri Baraka, Fontella Bass, Lester Bowie, Ari Brown, Oscar Brown, Jr., Hamid Drake, Malachi Favors, Joseph Jarman, Edward “Kidd” Jordan, Pharoah Sanders, and Malachi Thompson. Providing additional commentary on Chicago South Side jazz is multi-reedist, Mwata Bowden, student of the legendary Captain Walter Dyett, Director of Jazz Ensembles at the University of Chicago, former chair of the AACM, and holder of innumerable awards. His many recordings include work withEdward Wilkerson, Douglas Ewart, and Tatsu Aoki.