All About Jazz

Home » Articles » Live Reviews

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...


Hyde Park Jazz Festival 2014

Hyde Park Jazz Festival 2014
Mark Corroto By

Sign in to view read count
Hyde Park Jazz Festival
Chicago, IL
September 28-29, 2014

The good folks at the Hyde Park Jazz Festival have a problem. Now in it's eight edition, the two day affair has attracted throngs of intelligent jazz listeners and too many 'must see' jazz acts. This year's festival held September 28-29 featured 40 performances divided between two Midway Plaisance outside stages and ten visually stunning buildings on the University of Chicago campus. Planning which bands to catch where took an advance degree in logistics and strategic planning. Patience and the acceptance of opportunities missed were also required.

The music was divided between large crowd pleasing statements like Houston Person's Quartet, Etienne Charles & Creole Soul and the more intimate performances such as vibraphonist Justefan (aka Justin Thomas) duos with bassist Tim Ipsen. The latter duo performed to a limited audience of just 60 listeners inside the Robie House, which like Western Pennsylvania's Falling Water is a famous private residence designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Waiting for admission to catch the duo meant that you might have to forgo another act.

No such waiting was required for Ari Brown's Quintet at the Midway. The appreciative crowd (and it was a crowd) heard Chicago's elder multi- reedist open the festival with "Softly As A Morning Sunrise." On tenor, the echoes of Sonny Rollins and Gene Ammons were heard. Avreeayl Ra favored some musical mischief behind the drum kit. Brown's cover of John Coltrane's "Lonnie's Lament" began with the familiar, but morphed into a raggae beat. The music, which avoided gimmicks, maintained the proper respect for the masterpiece. With the crowd now firmly on his side, he continued to make friends with the funk drenched "Rude Awakenings" complete with a two horn tribute to Rahsaan Roland Kirk.

From the indulgent outdoors to the intimate, cornetist Josh Berman presented twelve pieces of the quietest loud jazz heard at the festival. Inside the confines of the Penthouse on the 9th floor of the Logan Center is a 100 seat performance space with a dramatic view of the University of Chicago. Together with bassist Jason Roebke and the Nelson Algren of drummers Frank Rosaly, Berman opened with "Blues" played as if the three were recalling a distant memory or a dream of the blues. Berman's cornet draws from Don Cherry and Bill Dixon and can pop notes like hiccups or provide a slurry of sound that has no hipster irony, but it is just so freakin' hip. "Cold" played out like a noir film theme with Rosaly scrapping cymbals and Roebke tapping bass. The music was outward bound, yet on a piece like "Your Uncle" with Rosaly swirling a ball in a metal bowl and Berman stuttering notes the music doesn't eschew swing. Maybe that's just a Chicago thing.

Rosaly joined Chicago flutist, now Californian resident, Nicole Mitchell at the International House Assembley Hall for a performance by her Ice Crystal quartet. The aptly named ensemble features bassist Josh Abrams and the irrepressible vibraphonist Jason Adasiewicz. Mitchell told the audience of her last minute decision to shelve her lengthy "Water Walker" environmental suite for her mostly blues-based compositions. The ice reference quickly take shape when Mitchell's flute squares off with Adasiewicz' vibraphone. The pair traded beguiling passages throughout. On "Roundabout" Mitchell's repetitive flute lines spurred the vibraphonist to attack with madman mallets.The outward direction of "Changing That Same" worked overblown notes against Abrams' bowed bass and Rosaly's bells.

If the familiar local musicians gave the crowds what the expected, and certainly wanted, Detroit-born, New York resident JD Allen came to Chicago to conquer. His trio, plus Philadelphia pianist Orrin Evans entered the Logan Center Screening Room with an appetite for a {John Coltrane}} Quartet take-no-prisoners rush, Evans in the McCoy Tyner role and Allen barely pausing to breathe. His overblown horn and drummer Jonathan Barber's attack (more Tony Williams than Elvin Jones) created its own weather patterns. Allen's trio with Barber and bassist Alexander Claffy barely had space to fit Evans' sound. The pianist often sat just listening, waiting for the saxophonist to hesitate, then diving into his own mad rush of notes. Not for the weak of heart, Allen's music is muscular, exhilarating and satisfyingly dynamic.


comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read The Magpie Salute At The Grand Point North Festival 2018 Live Reviews
The Magpie Salute At The Grand Point North Festival 2018
by Doug Collette
Published: September 23, 2018
Read Chris Isaak at The Paramount in Huntington, NY Live Reviews
Chris Isaak at The Paramount in Huntington, NY
by Christine Connallon
Published: September 23, 2018
Read Detroit Jazz Festival 2018 Live Reviews
Detroit Jazz Festival 2018
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: September 19, 2018
Read Beethoven, Barber and Vivaldi at The Jazz Corner Live Reviews
Beethoven, Barber and Vivaldi at The Jazz Corner
by Martin McFie
Published: September 18, 2018
Read Bryan Ferry at the Macedonian Philharmonic Hall, Macedonia 2018 Live Reviews
Bryan Ferry at the Macedonian Philharmonic Hall, Macedonia...
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: September 16, 2018
Read Live From Birmingham: Dinosaur, Meatraffle, Hollywood Vampires, Black Asteroids & Paul Lamb Live Reviews
Live From Birmingham: Dinosaur, Meatraffle, Hollywood...
by Martin Longley
Published: September 16, 2018
Read "Danny Green Trio Plus Strings at Heckscher Park" Live Reviews Danny Green Trio Plus Strings at Heckscher Park
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 6, 2018
Read "Kurt Rosenwinkel at Chris’ Jazz Café" Live Reviews Kurt Rosenwinkel at Chris’ Jazz Café
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: January 2, 2018
Read "Anat Cohen Tentet at SFJAZZ" Live Reviews Anat Cohen Tentet at SFJAZZ
by Harry S. Pariser
Published: December 16, 2017
Read "Isabella Lundgren at Bullret Jazz Club" Live Reviews Isabella Lundgren at Bullret Jazz Club
by Patrick Burnette
Published: November 25, 2017
Read "Angelique Kidjo/Femi Kuti at Denver Botanic Gardens" Live Reviews Angelique Kidjo/Femi Kuti at Denver Botanic Gardens
by Geoff Anderson
Published: August 26, 2018