Credit: Kate Joyce

The men of the Chicago jazz scene are hardly lacking in prodigious beards—vibist Jason Adasiewicz, for example, has grown an impressive thicket of facial fur—but nobody can match alto saxophonist Nick Mazzarella when it comes to meticulous grooming of the whiskers. He neatly trims his beard and mustache around his mouth, maintaining a sharp line, and the whole thing has an almost sculptural beauty, like it’s carved from a single piece of wood. His brings the same focus and precision to his powerful playing, both with his Ornette-­ish trio (which will perform at this year’s Chicago Jazz Festival) or his newer, Coltrane-inspired quartet.