Jazz Institute of Chicago

Welcome to the Jazz Institute of Chicago Journal, an archive of jazz writing. You'll find incredible articles about the history of Jazz in Chicago, as well as interviews with a variety of musicians and jazz related figures and reviews of recordings and live shows.

Chasing the Moment: Monty Alexander

Chasing the Moment: Monty Alexander

interviewed by Judith Schlesinger

Ken Burns' "JAZZ"

Ken Burns' "JAZZ"
reviewed by Tom Cunniffe

Ken Burns appeared at a sparsely attended lecture at Denver's Paramount Theatre on May 5. As expected, he brought along excerpts from his upcoming PBS documentary, "JAZZ". I can't totally condemn this documentary—after all, as Burns says, it should do wonders for increasing the audience for this music—however, I must admit some misgivings about the project as a whole.

Why can't they get it right?

Why can't they get it right?
By Don Rose

The music world was saddened by the recent death of composer-arranger Ralph Burns, whose remarkable career led him from Woody Herman's two great Herds of the mid-'40s and early '50s, all the way to major successes in Hollywood and on Broadway, where he won a Tony Award for "Fosse."

Margo (Mrs. Jack) Teagarden

Margo (Mrs. Jack) Teagarden
by Jim Beebe

The Chicago Jazz scene has always been a rich and flavorful one with wonderful musicians and bands of every stylistic description. This has been made possible by the many venues—from nightclubs to dance halls—that have used jazz music as for entertainment. From bands that feature very early traditional-classic style jazz to very contemporary jazz modes, all seem to find venues in which to strut their stuff.

Chicagoan Ken Vandermark awarded MacArthur Fellowship

Chicagoan Ken Vandermark awarded
MacArthur Fellowship
by Michael Witt

Meade Lux Lewis (1905-1964)

Meade Lux Lewis
by Joel Simpson

The driving left-hand blues style known as boogie-woogie was probably invented around 1900 (Eubie Blake's broken octave, descending bassline in the "Charleston Rag" from 1899, is highly suggestive of a boogie pattern). It began to surface in saloons, honky-tonks, bawdy houses, and "barrelhouses" in the South and Midwest around 1912.

1999 Jazz Awards

1999 Jazz Awards
by Howard Mandel

The 1999 Jazz Awards, held Monday, June 14, in New York City, came off splendidly—celebrating all jazz musicians and jazz music, as well as some worthy jazz journalists. It was a loose event, hot and humid in the draperied hall where about 500 members of the jazz corps convened on folding chairs.

A Conversation with Damon Short

Damon Short
interviewed by Lazaro Vega
Blue Lake Public Radio

Mingus Big Band Rocks Hancher—Preserves Legacy

Mingus Big Band rocks Hancher— Preserves Legacy
concert review by Dr. William S. Carson

Unlike classical music, jazz is an art form with the emphasis primarily upon the performer, rather than upon the composer. The rise of be-bop in the 1940s increased the emphasis on improvisation, and further diminished the importance of the composer. It should come as no surprise, then, that only a handful of the most significant jazz musicians are known as great composers. Three names stand above the rest: Duke Ellington, Thelonius Monk, and Charles Mingus.

And one thing led to another, and...

And one thing led
to another, and...
by Harriet Choice

I suppose the Jazz Institute of Chicago began during a phone conversation with Art Hodes last spring. I had just returned from New Orleans where Art's band was among the groups that had performed at the first New Orleans Jazz Festival. There had been so many places to hear traditional Jazz there and so few here in Chicago. We talked about the possibility of getting an old store and turning it into a kitty hall similar to those in New Orleans.


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