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Hyde Park Jazz Festival 2016

Mark Corroto By

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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.

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