Posted inMusic

George Gruntz Concert Jazz Band

GEORGE GRUNTZ CONCERT JAZZ BAND Swiss pianist George Gruntz has chosen the Ellingtonian model for his sleek but blustery big band, and his success reminds you how few bands exploit that model today. Throughout jazz history most large ensembles have succeeded either by presenting exciting and innovative writing or by collecting enough star soloists to […]

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Regina Carter

REGINA CARTER Regina Carter offers the perfect blend of beauty and brains–and how often can a guy make that statement without being labeled sexist? I offer the description in specific relation to Carter’s violin work, which glistens with conservatory tone but bristles with sharp, pungent logic. Other jazz fiddlers have plied their improvisations with tough […]

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Spot Check

EVERYTHING 6/26, HOUSE OF BLUES This Virginia sextet’s single “Hooch” reportedly has been getting a huge response on FM radio. I’m not the least bit surprised, since it’s a glistening bit of 70s hippie pop that most folks probably thought nobody made anymore–a little bit Doobie Brothers, a little bit Stephen Stills, even a little […]

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Awadagin Pratt

AWADAGIN PRATT Pianist Awadagin Pratt isn’t a particularly introspective or subtle musician, but his powerful keyboard attacks and insouciant manner let him quickly connect with an audience. That’s one reason he was hired by Ravinia for one of its “Classical SoundBytes” extravaganzas, which speed through excerpts from perennial favorites in about an hour and a […]

Posted inNews & Politics

City File

C’mon down, Bill. “President Clinton is expected to pay a visit soon to the ABLA Homes, a public housing development in Chicago,” writes Doug Dobmeyer in “Poverty Issues…Dateline Illinois” (June 1). “His visit is expected to be a media event to push his budget proposals along in negotiations with Congress.” But Dobmeyer thinks it could […]

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Taste of Chicago

TASTE OF CHICAGO: In addition to all that food, the Taste of Chicago offers free musical performances on several stages in Grant Park: the Funtime Stage (Jackson and Columbus), the Summertime Beer Garden (Jackson and Columbus), the Taste Stage (Michigan and Congress), and the Petrillo Music Shell (Jackson and Columbus). The first weekend’s entertainment includes […]

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Krapp’s Last Tape

KRAPP’S LAST TAPE, PUS (Performers Under Stress), at Mary-Arrchie Theatre. In the late 80s and early 90s–back before Splinter Group’s Buckets o’ Beckett stole their thunder–Charles Pike and Scott Baker earned the moniker “the Beckett Boys” for their hard-edged, low-budget, powerful productions of the playwright’s shorter, less frequently produced works. Performing under the name PUS, […]

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Steve Lacy’s the Cry

STEVE LACY’S THE CRY Over the last 45 years Steve Lacy has woven several threads through his forceful and startling music. One involves his instrument: few modern players have concentrated on the soprano sax, and Lacy was the first, predating John Coltrane by nearly a decade and achieving a blunt, boldly unornamented sound. His timbre […]

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Chicago Country Music Festival

CHICAGO Country Music Festival: The city will stage music during all eleven days of this year’s Taste of Chicago, but the Country Music Festival–days two and three of Taste, this Friday and Saturday–provides the only thematically continuous block of programming. This year’s theme is ostensibly “Americana, the other country,” but many of these acts look […]

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Africa Fete

AFRICA FETE After a two-year hiatus due to a lack of funding, the ambitious Africa Fete tour returns with a mix of exciting new talent and seasoned if somewhat predictable stars. Mali’s Salif Keita headlines the four-act bill; he possesses a gorgeous, powerful voice, but his music has drifted unimaginatively toward Western pop flavors on […]

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Underground Performance

metcalf.qxd Recently you ran a review of a Men of the World performance involving the CTA [Performance, May 22] and I thought your editors might find the following events noteworthy. During April and early May, I worked with a group of teenage artists from the MCA and students from Robert Morris College on a project […]

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The Straight Dope

In cartoons bulls are always depicted with rings through their noses. Being a city kid whose idea of farm life mostly comes from watching Green Acres, I have never had the opportunity to inspect a bull up close. Do they really have nose rings? If so, why? I have a hard time believing it’s all […]