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Jazz Articles

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Chicago Jazz Philharmonic Chamber Ensemble: Havana Blue

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With diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba warming, the chances for musical reciprocity have escalated apace. As one who has long admired the music of our neighboring island the the south, Chicago-based trumpeter / composer Orbert Davis was quick to seize the initiative, spending nine days in Havana with Cuban-born choreographer Frank Chavez in October 2012 and returning with the outline of his seven-part “Havana Blue Suite," which explores and delineates the tantalizing harmonies and rhythms that are a ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Chicago Reed Quartet: Western Automatic

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After a heyday in the late 1970s which saw the World Saxophone Quartet, ROVA and the 29th Street Saxophone Quartet, to list but three of the more celebrated, strutting their stuff, the format has undergone a hiatus more recently. However it remains firmly established as an instrumental configuration and perhaps the only surprise is that it has taken so long for a Chicago version to emerge. That deficit has been filled by saxophonist Dave Rempis, who has convened a foursome ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Chicago at the Walmart Arkansas Music Pavilion

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Chicago Walmart Arkansas Music Pavilion Rogers, Arkansas May 3, 2015 I saw the Eagles with Yes in 1975 at Barton Coliseum and then saw them both 25 years later at our river amphitheater. I saw Chicago 35 years ago at Barton Coliseum and then recently. While I am not an authority...I do know from where I come. Musical acts from the 1960s and '70s have made a cottage industry and cash ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Spiral Mercury - Chicago/Sao Paulo Underground featuring Pharoah Sanders: Pharoah & The Underground

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Renowned tenor saxophonist Pharoah Sanders and new music, jazz-centric pioneer, cornetist Rob Mazurek bridge alternate generations of avant-gard-isms with this highly persuasive and indubitably, audacious production. It's an electro-acoustic meeting of futuristic minds, intersecting the trumpeter's Sao Paulo Underground and Chicago Underground ensembles. Moreover, they yield intergalactic nods to classic space rock via Guilherme Granado's inventive electronics, synths and samples permutations along with Matthew Lux's pumped up bass lines and Chad Taylor's sweeping drums patterns amid several distinctive indicators throughout. ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Chicago Jazz Philharmonic: Sketches of Spain Revisited

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One by one, the trio of classic big-band collaborations by Miles Davis and Gil Evans is being rediscovered and reinvented by contemporary jazz ensembles: Miles Ahead, Porgy & Bess and last but not least, the tasteful and picturesque Sketches of Spain, reappraised here by trumpeter Orbert Davis (no relation to Miles) and the splendid Chicago Jazz Philharmonic. Besides composing, adapting and orchestrating the music, Orbert Davis sits in for his celebrated namesake on solo trumpet. What makes ...

MULTIPLE REVIEWS

Chicago Transit Authority / Chicago II / Chicago III

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Chicago, the rock band, is not what you remember. Well, it is, but it's also more than that. The Chicago you remember is the hit machine of the '70s: “25 or 6 to 4," “Beginnings," “Make Me Smile," “Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?" and many others. Of course, Chicago is also the wimp rock machine of the '80s: “Hard to Say I'm Sorry," “Hard Habit to Break," “You're the Inspiration" and “Will You Still Love ...

HIGHLY OPINIONATED

Sing a Mean Tune, Kid: Chicago for people who hate Chicago

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When people rebuff my attempts to share my love of jazz-pop-rock group Chicago with them, I understand their qualms. Really, I do. Few bands went from being quite so inventive to quite so predictable in the long, tough slog between 1968 and 1984. (The political parallels alone are terrifyingly relevant: many of the exact same people who were in SDS went on to become Yuppies by the midpoint of the Reagan years, but I digress.) So, I understand ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Chicago: Chicago VII

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Consider the curious case of Chicago, the rock band. This is a group that has lived several lives--some wild, some mild. In the late 60s and early 70s, Chicago was at the cutting edge of rock. Its lead guitarist, Terry Kath, was favorably compared to Jimi Hendrix--by Jimi himself. Its horn section sometimes featured wild improvisations bordering on avante garde and free jazz. The band rocked. It was good. Later, of course, Chicago drowned in shmaltz, ...


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