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.

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.

School Days: Crossing Division

School Days: Crossing Division

Taking its name from a famous record by the Steve Lacy/Roswell Rudd Quartet from the early sixties, School Days is one of reedist Ken Vandermark's latest projects. "Crossing Division" is remarkable on several counts.

The session features originals penned by Vandermark and long-time collaborator Jeb Bishop (tb) as well as two compositions by Roswell Rudd, including the truculent and swinging "Keep Your Heart Right". However, a great sense of unity and cohesion transpires. Moreover, the material is quite memorable.

BLUE: The Murder of Jazz

BLUE: The Murder of Jazz
by Eric Nisenson
St. Martin's Press, $22.95
262 pp.
Reviewed by Don Rose

To paraphrase my friend Garry Wills, I'm willing to believe a dozen bad things about Wynton Marsalis before breakfast, but this hysterical, sloppily written, badly argued, error-ridden, self-contradictory rant almost makes me want to join his defense team.

LIVING THE JAZZ LIFE: Conversations with Forty Musicians about Their Careers in Jazz

LIVING THE JAZZ LIFE:
Conversations with Forty Musicians
about Their Careers in Jazz
W. Royal Stokes
Oxford, 278 pages, $27.50
reviewed by Don Rose

Ever wonder how Slam Stewart began humming along with his bass-fiddle bowing?

The Future of Jazz

The Future of Jazz
By Will Friedwald, Ted Gioia, Jim Macnie, Peter Margasak, Stuart Nicholson, Ben Ratliff, John F. Szwed, Greg Tate, Peter Watrous, K. Leander Williams;
edited by Yuval Taylor
A Capella (Chicago Review Press), May 2002, 241 pages, $16.95
reviewed by Don Rose

Yuval Taylor, who did such a fine job at Da Capo Press with its program of reissuing jazz books, has come up with one very neat idea: get an interesting assortment of jazz critics and writers (some of whom are musicians) and have them interact on a series of issues relating to where this music may be going.

Jazz Joke Gallery, Part 1

Jazz Joke Gallery, Part 1
[Thanks to Bill O'Connell and Rich Corpolongo for forwarding these on to us—and yes, and there will be more where these came from.]

A young child says to his mother, "Mom, when I grow up I think I'd like to be a musician." She replies, "Well honey, you know you can't do both."

Q: What's the difference between a guitar player and a large pizza?
A: A large pizza can feed a family of four.

Q: What do you call a beautiful woman on a trombonist's arm?
A: A tattoo.

Q: What do you call a drummer in a three-piece suit?
A: "The Defendant."

Aoki/Hunsinger/Jarman: Trio

Aoki/Hunsinger/Jarman: Trio

What do Robbie Hunsinger, a classically trained musician, Joseph Jarman, a founding member of Chicago’s Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians, and Tatsu Aoki, a bassist raised in Japan, have in common? Well, they share a taste for Eastern music that they acquired following different paths and that they convey to us on this demanding album. This is also the magic of improvised music, to unite artists from different backgrounds with the hope that they can communicate at a high level and produce some great music.

Frank Catalano: Live at the Green Mill with Randy Brecker

Frank Catalano: Live at the Green Mill with Randy Brecker

Frank Catalano, about 23-years-old, plays the tenor sax like no one else and seems to have the energy of a nuclear power plant at his fingertips. This live session, recorded earlier this year, confirms that Catalano has total command of modern straight-ahead jazz as it has been applied to the tenor sax. It is apparent that he has been influenced from most of the hard driving tenors, from Coleman Hawkins and Coltrane to Gato Barbieri and Pharaoh Sanders.

Eric Roth Trio: Program 16

Chicago has a lot of new talents who are working hard to get heard. This is the first release of a trio led by a young and versatile drummer, Eric Roth.

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