In the early years of the Chicago Jazz Festival, Joe Segal figured he really couldn’t compete with the smorgasbord of free music on the lake, so he simply shuttered his Jazz Showcase and took the weekend off (grousing all the way). Then he hit on the idea of hosting after-the-fest jam sessions, with special guests drawn from the cornucopia of stars and phenoms booked for the Grant Park stage; this and other postprandial jazz snacks now constitute a secondary feast for the late-night crowd. (No less than four clubs feature some version of the concept this year.) On Friday, Segal’s “house band”–onstage for at least the first set–features the mesmerizing pianist Danilo Perez and David Sanchez, among the most impressive of the saxophonists pointing toward the next century. Perez and Sanchez play in each other’s groups, and they are crafting a seamless musical partnership–like Brubeck and Desmond, or Monk and Charlie Rouse–as they help author the next chapter of jazz’s cyclical romance with Latin American music. On Saturday the house band belongs to David Kikoski, a pianist of finger-blurring technique, and the young alto man Abraham Burton, who boasts an expansive, explosive style. The fact that these sessions take place in a world-famous jazz club certainly doesn’t hurt when it comes to attracting high-powered guests; and while no one’s made any promises, I wouldn’t be surprised to find Terence Blanchard, Harold Land, Bobby Hutcherson, or Marian McPartland onstage before the weekend ends. Friday through Sunday, 10 PM till whenever, Joe Segal’s Jazz Showcase, Blackstone Hotel, 636 S. Michigan; 427-4846.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Andrew Eccles.