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Umbrella Music Festival

Now in its third year, the Umbrella Music Festival—organized by the musician-presenters behind the jazz series at the Hideout, the Hungry Brain, and Elastic Arts—ranks among the city’s most important showcases for international jazz and improvised music and functions as a key complement to the Chicago Jazz Festival. Once again this year the lineup is boosted by a one-night fest-within-a-fest, European Jazz Meets Chicago, at the Chicago Cultural Center. It brings together acts representing six European countries, including German free-jazz heavies pianist Alexander von Schlippenbach and drummer Paul Lovens and the noisy, punk-influenced Italian improvisers Zu. Other concerts over the course of the festival will feature overseas guests, like Austrian pianist Elisabeth Harnik and Polish saxophonist Mikolaj Trzaska, working with Chicago musicians to form new constellations; the brilliant Danish saxophonist John Tchicai will appear in several contexts, including an exciting duo with drummer Hamid Drake. Rounding out the programming are several strong Chicago ensembles and the local debut of the New York-based Taylor Ho Bynum Sextet. aAt Chicago Cultural Center: Wed 11/5, 6 PM, 78 E. Washington, 312-744-6630 . At the Velvet Lounge: Thu 11/6, 9 PM, 67 E. Cermak, 312-791-9050. At Elastic: Fri 11/7, 9 PM, 2830 N. Milwaukee, 773-772-3616. At the Hideout: Sat 11/8, 9 PM, 1354 W Wabansia, 773-227-4433. At the Hungry Brain: Sun 11/9, 9 PM, 2319 W Belmont, 773-935-2118. Covers vary. —Peter Margasak