Jazz Dominates Chicago Music Heading into Holiday

by Gail Dee/We Want Music Without Border

Jazz is the focus of the We Want Music Without Borders Recommend list this week in Chicago– from Belgium comes the exciting big band “Flat Earth Society“; from NYC -the Vijay Iyer Trio; and from Chicago – Makaya McCraven Quintet.  All three bands have influences from other cultures spicing up the mix.

Wednesday June 29 at 8:30 pm at Constellation ChicagoHothouse Presents Flat Earth Society— big band from Belgium. Tickets only $10.   Sounds like this band might give my friends Brian O’Hern and the Model Citizens Big Band some competition (the Model Citizens play Chicago Jazz Fest Friday Sept. 2 at the Pritzker Pavilion at 5 p.m.)   “Flat Earth Society, a tight 15-piece band led by clarinettist and composer Peter Vermeersch, late of X-Legged Sally. Two brilliant sets confirmed how accomplished they are, twisting rapidly from theatrical bombast to tenderness, collective improv, mad movie-chase music and back to swinging anthems such as Gulls & Buoys and, er, Anthem 2004. Wet is Wet presented jazz as envisaged by Goebbels. Vermeersch grins impishly, like a young Daniel Libeskind, as he directs his close-knit ensemble. He is a monster talent, with an outrageously original band.” – John L Walters, Guardian


Also Wednesday June 29  6 to 9 pm (free)  Makaya McCraven (drummer) with Junius Paul – Bass, Justefan – Vibes, Matt Gold – Guitar, Marquis Hill – Trumpet is at the Harper Court Music Series   (presented by the Silver Room and Harper Court ). Makaya is a drummer just chosen by Chicago reader as the “Best Jazz Musician”.  Strangely  I was first introduced to Makaya  as the drummer for the Occidental Brothers Dance Band which focuses on African highlife music.  It was later I discovered what a hot jazz musician he is as well.   Makaya’s  recent live digital recording released in January “In the Moment E and F sides”  made LA Times “Best of” list and recently got raves for the vinyl release in the NY Times.

Friday July 1 Vijay Iyer Trio at Constellation Chicago with two shows will be exciting with tickets $25.  Vijay recently chosen by Downbeat Magazine again the  top Jazz Artist in their Critics Poll, marking the third time he has won the honor, following wins in 2012 and 2015.  He’s Grammy nominated with a huge list of accomplishment from MacArthur Fellow to Doris Duke Performing Artist.  Only limited seating still available.


Other suggested shows include:

Juan Pastor’s Chinchano at 10 pm at California Clipper Wed. June 29 Cover only $5. “Chinchano is Juan Pastor’s modern instrumental jazz group that fuses the traditional North American jazz harmonic palette with exciting rhythmic concepts drawn from Central and South America.”

Hyde Park Jazz presenting pianist  Willie Pickens  for Jazz in the Courtyard on July 1 from noon to 2 pm. FREE  Courtyard Shops at Hyde Park Shopping Center at 55th Street and Lake Park Avenue.  See ret of great line up of 1st and 3rd Fridays at hpjazz.com. Victor Goines, Bossa Tres, Eric Schneider and Ari Brown are all scheduled to perform this summer.

Thursdays at Andy’s Jazz Club –Saxophonists Eric Schneider / Pat Mallinger with their Quintet take a summer residency for the later shows at the place to wear ‘your jazz slacks”;-) This Thursday NYC drummer Tony Pinciotti joins them.

More to come on the weekend choices for music lovers! 

Funkadesi at City Winery July 1 is also a recommended show.

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