For the second year in a row, the Hyde Park Jazz Festival commissioned an original piece. Last year it was by trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire
, and this year saxophonist Miguel Zenon
, the recipient of the 2008 MacArthur "genius" grant. He composed music for alto saxophone and the Spektral Quartet, a string quartet, titled "Yo Soy La Tradición." Drawing from Puerto Rican folk music, he found the intersection of traditional folk, jazz and classical music that fit hand-in-glove in this chamber setting. Unlike the raucous nature of the music heard on the Midway Plaisance, the crowd maintained a hushed respect for the premier of this music.
Back on the Midway and a taste of New York with trumpeter Tom Harrell
and Trip, his quartet of saxophonist Mark Turner
, bassist Ugonna Okegwo
and drummer Adam Cruz
. No quartet can negotiate the intricacies of post-bop like Harrell and company. The assembled crowd was intoxicated by the rush and power of this quartet.
Saturday evening at the Rockefeller Memorial Chapel found a solo performance by legendary Randy Weston
. In the audience were most of the other artists who performed earlier that day. The nonagenarian pianist did not disappoint. He can still command a room with his large presence, easily filling the cavernous chapel with his original compositions.
Like any meal at a great restaurant, one can't taste everything. Left to others were performances by Orbert Davis
, Wille Pickens, Dee Alexander, Marquis Hill
, Douglas Ewar, and the Chicago Jazz Orchestra. Even though I got my fill, I swear I could have ingested more.