Nothing succeeds like success. The annual jazz fair produced by the Jazz Institute of Chicago is a veritable orgy of orgies–the crowds are huge, there’s too much variety to take in, and after a while it’s all the dazed attendee can do to wander from room to room, head swimming in music. This perfect antidote to jazzdom’s cabin fever sprawls over four floors of the Blackstone Hotel, and some of the action also spills over into Buddy Guy’s legends, two blocks away. There are always two or three bands playing at any given time, with an emphasis on variety: there’s jazz (or near-jazz) for every taste. Tenor saxophonist E. Parker McDougal will be joined by the fine bop trumpeter Burgess Gardner and the John Young Trio, and the very liberated multireedman Mwata Bowden will bring his quartet Sound Spectrum. Also on the bill are Rob Parton’s concert-jazz big band, Latin jazz by Jose Rendon, and fluent clarinetist Chuck Hedges and his Swingtet as well as a double dose of blues: Steve Freund’s Jump Band (the only act appearing at Buddy Guy’s Legends) and the well-traveled pianist Pinetop Perkins. Two jazz-fair mainstays will return: Bob Koester, with his jazz films, and Jazz Times critic Susan Markie, with jazz videos on laser-disc, and between them the appearance of the classic 1957 CBS special The Sound of Jazz is guaranteed. This fair is one of the world’s most rewarding, and always a wild introduction to the range and excellence of Chicago’s jazz scene. Monday, 6 PM-midnight, Blackston Hotel, 636 S. Michigan, and 10 PM-1 AM, Buddy Guy’s Legends, 757 S. Wabash; 427-1676.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photos/H. Nolan, James Fraher.