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.

Diane Delin: Origins

Diane Delin: Origins

Diane Delin plays the violin, has an original concept and composes fine tunes. Over the years many violinists have imitated the popular instruments and jazz styles of the moment. On this recording, Diane imitates no one and chooses to play her melodies and solos in a very musical and seemingly uncomplicated way. All of the tunes work together, ranging from swing to jazz waltz, modern bossa and more. There is a subtle fire here that grows with repeated listening.

Orbert Davis: Priority

Orbert Davis: Priority

Trumpeter Orbert Davis is nearly everywhere there is fine jazz in Chicago. On this, his second CD release, Davis shows us his great chops, fine original compositions and his interpretations of the music of Wayne Shorter and Bill Withers.

Laksar Reese and Chuchito Valdes Jr.: Encantado

Laksar Reese and Chuchito Valdes Jr.: Encantado

I had just heard about a session at Steve Yates Studio with Chuchito, the son of famed Cuban pianist Chucho Valdes, then Laksar found me and gave me this CD for review!

With such a pianist on board it is safe to assume that this is a burning Afro-Cuban jazz CD! The program gives us mostly originals by Chuchito and/or Reese, Coltrane's "Giant Steps," and "Tres Lindas Cubanas." The music here is simply wonderful, very articulate, strong and clean.

Kick The Cat

Kick The Cat

Now that jazz-fusion is well over 30 years old, we should accept it as one of the many styles of jazz and appreciate it for its high level of art. When it emerged years ago, jazz musicians we criticized for selling out for mixing their jazz with rock rhythms. Meanwhile, Herbie, Chick, Mahavishnu developed the music, set the model and built a remarkable audience base. Fusion is popular because the masses can relate to its high energy and, although not dance music, it is grounded in the music of the dancers of the day.

Cecile Savage: Petite Fleur

Cecile Savage: Petite Fleur

Cecile Savage, from the French Island of Martinique, is known for her acoustic bass also sings well in both French and English. This CD, made possible by the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and the Illinois Arts Council, is a beautiful work in progress. The music here reflects the long love affair between the French and jazz, with classic tunes Petite Fleur, Autumn Leaves (with the rarely heard verse) and My Man. This is a unique CD and Cecile should be heard, no one else is doing this in Chicago and there is always a place for good music!

A New History of Jazz

A New History of Jazz
By Alyn Shipton
Continuum, 954 pages, $35
reviewed by Don Rose

A promotional flyer for Alyn Shipton’s massive, one-volume, somewhat revisionist history of the music calls it “The antidote to Ken Burns’ ‘Jazz...’” A neat summing up, but it doesn’t come close to expressing the accomplishment or the true value of this major contribution to the literature. And it had to come from overseas!

Bronzeville Conversation: Eddie Flagg, manager of the DuSable Hotel

Bronzeville Conversation:
Eddie Flagg, manager of the DuSable Hotel
by Charles Walton

JAZZ FOR DUMMIES: A Reference for the Rest of Us

JAZZ FOR DUMMIES:
A Reference for the Rest of Us
By Dirk Sutro
IDG Worldwide, 358 pages (paper), $24.99
Reviewed by Don Rose

It was inevitable, I suppose, that the remarkably successful and widely imitated "... for Dummies" series—which began with computers and quickly got to sex—would eventually get around to jazz. A good thing it is, because I'm for anything that helps promote understanding of the music—as long as it doesn't prostitute in the guise of simplifying.

The Antioch Review—Special Jazz issue

The Antioch Review—
Special Jazz issue
Antioch University, Summer 1999
442 pages, $8.50
reviewed by Don Rose

The Antioch Review, one of the nation's leading literary magazines, published a special issue this summer devoted entirely to jazz—with a special focus on the music's relationship to and effects on the other arts. This is apparently the first time any journal of comparable stature has given jazz this extended attention, and the editors have come up with some genuine winners among the 14 wide-ranging pieces it gathered.

Excerpts from The Book of Jobbing

Excerpts from
The Book of Jobbing
Translated from the ancient Sumerian
by Steve Hashimoto

The translator is a Chicago bass player.

I. THE WEDDING
And so it came to pass, during one date, that the Sidemen were assailed by Doubts, and Darkness descended upon the Bandstand.

And the Leader turned to his quaking flock, and saith

My children, why do you doubt me? Have I not led you through the Valley of the Loading Dock to the Great Land of Long Breaks, Hot Meals, and Undertime?