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.

Words and Music: American songwriters

Words and Music: American songwriters
featured in Chicago radio broadcast
press release by Denise Kowalski, WFMT

CHICAGO—The American popular song as it existed throughout the 20th century has been a mirror for the cultural character, national mood, and unique anxieties of the times. Through economic boom and bust, war, and moral upheaval, the best of our songwriters found a way to reflect the average individual’s concerts and the emotions of daily life.

Margaret Carlson - This Christmas—My Favorite Things

Margaret Carlson
This Christmas—My Favorite Things

Margaret is a fine young vocalist who took some time off to launch her family and is now pursuing her career in Chicago.

Deanna Witkowski: Wide Open Window

Deanna Witkowski: Wide Open Window

While in Chicago pianist Deanna Witkowski attended Wheaton College, played good gigs around town, expanded her horizons by traveling and studying, and worked hard apparently all the time. A few years ago she relocated to New York and worked as music director at All Angel’s Episcopal Church. Then her continuous hard work also led to first place in the 2002 Great American Jazz Piano Competition.

Gephart Long Quartet: Corners

Gephart Long Quartet: Corners

This CD, like their previous "Water Logic," is a stand out recording of a wonderful quartet. Everything comes together here, solid modern playing, original thoughts and flawless performance. This quartet also presents something that jazz has lost, they are a long-standing working group. Music of this dimension can only occur when the musicians share the same mind set and play together often.

Marlene Rosenberg: Pieces of —

Marlene Rosenberg: Pieces of —

Marlene Rosenberg is a well-known bassist in Chicago jazz circles and many points beyond. In addition to her fine original playing and big sound, she is sought after for her flexibility and ability to adapt quickly to new music. This is an adventurous swinging recording that highlights Marlene’s compositions complimented by a few new editions of standards and two by Cedar Walton.

Anthony Braxton/Scott Rosenberg: Compositions/Improvisations 2000

Anthony Braxton/Scott Rosenberg: Compositions/Improvisations 2000

Von Freeman: The Improvisor

Von Freeman: The Improvisor

As the release of "The Improvisor" almost coincided with Von Freeman's 80th birthday, it is difficult not to think of it as a birthday present. But it is also a treat for his fans who get to hear him in three different and complementing situations.

Kelly Brand Nextet: Sister Luna

Kelly Brand Nextet: Sister Luna

GROOVIN' HIGH: The Life of Dizzy Gillespie

GROOVIN' HIGH:
The Life of Dizzy Gillespie
By Alyn Shipton
Oxford University Press,
422 pages, $30
reviewed by David Simpson

Black beret, horn-rimmed glasses, tidy goatee, gigantically out-puffed cheeks, muted trumpet with upswept bell: surely there is no image more immediately or widely recognized as an icon of jazz—and especially of the jazz style known as bebop—than that of John Birks Gillespie, the virtuoso horn player better known as Dizzy.

Spinning Blues Into Gold: The Chess Brothers and the Legendary Chess Records

Spinning Blues Into Gold:
The Chess Brothers and the Legendary Chess Records
by Nadine Cohodas
St. Martin’s Press, 358 pp., $25.95
reviewed by Jim Linduff

In a lucid, thoroughly researched chronicle of the lives of Leonard and Phil Chess, Nadine Cohodas provides a better understanding of the independent record business and the music it helped create. Founded in Chicago, Chess Records, with subsidiaries Checker, Argo and Cadet was a major vehicle for blues, R&B and jazz artists and was at the core of the rise of rock and roll, the stuff that changed the music business forever.

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