Jazz Showcase founder Joe Segal was set in his ways, but his ways are worth saving.
The 1973 article that ‘discovered’ jazz master Von Freeman
By coincidence or luck, I published the very first interview with the south-side saxophonist
Dutch pianist Michiel Braam drafts Chicagoans into his long-running “anti-orchestra” for an Umbrella fest experiment.
In his six-decade career, legendary saxophonist Sonny Rollins has claimed many a triumph. But his greatest may have come during a quiet year in Chicago.
A preview of some likely highlights at the second annual Ears and Eyes Festival
Eight-string guitarist Charlie Hunter does some of his most experimental work yet with a mere seven.
Someday genetic engineering will create the perfect jazz bassist; until then, Larry Gray will have to do. As a soloist he blows most of his peers away: originally a guitarist, he has a strong tone but a feathery technique, which allows him to construct statements that would sound natural coming from a tenor sax or […]
The exquisite vocalist Kendra Shank and her friend and mentor Abbey Lincoln have both released new records this year, each comprising selections from Lincoln’s body of thoroughly distinctive work. Comparing the two is instructive, as here the student outshines the master. On Abbey Sings Abbey Lincoln restyles her compositions in an Americana mode that would […]
Charles Mingus, the greatest jazz composer since Ellington, presented his masterwork, Epitaph, only once, during a disastrous 1962 Town Hall performance. When conductor, composer, and musicologist Gunther Schuller sought to reprise the piece in 1989, he had to confront a paper trail of misorganized sheet music that required wholesale reconstruction. What he put together was […]
Jeff Coffin has made his name as the reeds whiz with Bela Fleck & the Flecktones, where his malleable approach perfectly suits the band’s wild range of rhythms and idioms. But for his own group’s sound, Coffin stakes out some prime New Orleans swampland, then uses sonic textures and effects to construct a virtual 21st-century […]
Cuban pianist Omar Sosa enjoys a well-deserved reputation for following his own path. Where most of his compatriots attack every chorus with the urgent intensity of a dying man, he incorporates space and light into his virtuosic playing, which links him both to older Cuban forms and to the mysteries of postmodern jazz. And his […]
It took two decades for reedist Jeff Newell to finally release an album by New-Trad Octet, the inventive band he assembled to revisit trad-jazz classics and recast mainstream jazz tunes with a New Orleans marching band sensibility. But anyone expecting to hear the group tackle Armstrong, Ellington, Mingus, and Parker on the just-released Brownstone (Blujazz) […]
As leader of one of the most improbable, satisfying, and Methuselan operations in all of jazz, Pierre Dorge has spent nearly three decades piling on apparent contradictions. A native of Copenhagen (where, of course, there is no jungle), Dorge studied music in Ghana, where he absorbed the rolling rhythms of West and South Africa and […]
John Fedchock and onetime Chicagoan Paul McKee first met in 1984, when they were two-thirds of the trombone section in the Woody Herman Orchestra. Herman led a galvanic big band that never stopped evolving, thanks to his use of younger musicians and the new arrangements he encouraged them to write. Fedchock was the star arranger […]