Sunday, October 1, 2017

Steve Gibons Gypsy Rhythm Project - 2017 Chicago Jazz Festival

By TOM BOWSER

The Jazz Institute of Chicago made an excellent choice when they included Steve Gibbons Gypsy Rhythm Project in the 2017 Chicago Jazz Festival lineup. Steve Gibbons Gypsy Rhythm Project was a talented group of musicians who presented an interesting blend of instruments and sounds. Steve Gibbons and his band reminded me of how culturally diverse and vibrant the city of Chicago is. It is our diversity as a city and as a nation that has always been our strength.

Violinist Steve Gibbons and his band comfortable switched from ethic sounding folk or world music to straight jazz. The band was energetic and the rhythms of the music they produced compelled you to move. Steve Gibbons Gypsy Rhythm would be a great band to hire for any office, family or other event you want to be remembered. They were fun to listen to and if dancing were allowed you would have quite a party! Click on any of the smaller images on the page to see a larger version.

Steve Gibons - violin and the Gypsy Rhythm Project at the Von Freeman Pavilion of the 2017 Chicago Jazz Festivahttps://www.google.com/intl/en/options/l | Photograph by Tom Bowser Mike Allemana - Guitar and the Steve Gibons Gypsy Rhythm Project at the Von Freeman Pavilion of the 2017 Chicago Jazz Festival | Photograph by Tom Bowser

I've never heard the cimbalom played prior to this show. It's similar to the Yangqin which I've heard in traditional Chinese music. Romanian born cimbalom player Nicolae Feraru added a unique and exciting element to the bands sound.


Nicolae Feraru - Cimbalom and the Steve Gibons Gypsy Rhythm Project at the Von Freeman Pavilion of the 2017 Chicago Jazz Festival | Photograph by Tom Bowser
A map showing the country of Romania.

Nicolae Feraru applied for political asylum while in the United States in 1989. He was granted asylum, immigrated to the United States and eventually moved to Chicago. If you are not a Native American Indian you are a descendant of someone who immigrated to this country. The diversity of ideas, art, music, food, religions and more that our immigrant ancestors brought with them is what makes the United States a vibrant and more interesting place to live. We are lucky to live in a country that supports legal immigration.

Dan DeLorenzo - Bass and the Steve Gibons Gypsy Rhythm Project at the Von Freeman Pavilion of the 2017 Chicago Jazz Festival | Photograph by Tom Bowser Tim Mulvenna - Percussionist and the Steve Gibons Gypsy Rhythm Project at the Von Freeman Pavilion of the 2017 Chicago Jazz Festival | Photograph by Tom Bowser

Want something fun and fresh in your music collection? Contact Steve Gibbons to purchase "Beat Nomad" by the Steve Gibbons Gypsy Rhythm Project.


The Band:
Steve Gibons - Violin
Nicolae Feraru - Cimbalom
Mike Allemana - Guitar
Dan DeLorenzo - Bass
Tim Mulvenna - Percussionist





Sunday, September 17, 2017

Tim Fitzgerald & Full House - 2017 Chicago Jazz Festival

By TOM BOWSER

Tim Fitzgerald and his band Full House led off Friday's performances beginning at 12 noon in the Von Freeman Pavilion of the 2017 Chicago Jazz Festival. Raucous cheering and clapping greeted the band as they were announced. It was clear the audience was energized to experience Chicago based guitarist Tim Fitzgerald and his band's blend of classic jazz.


Tim Fitzgerald - Electric Guitar, Victor Garcia - Trumpet and Flugelhorn, Chris Madsen - Tenor Saxophone, Rajiv Halim - Alto Saxophone at the Von Freeman Pavilion of the 2017 Chicago Jazz Festival | Photograph by Tom Bowser


Tim stated that much of the days performance would be in tribute to the late jazz guitarist Wes Montgomery. Tim explained that Wes Montgomery was one of his primary musical influences as a guitarist. Tim Fitzgerald is not a Wes Montgomery clone. He brings his own lyrical interpretations to classic Wes Montgomery tunes. Tim Fitzgerald's enthusiasm is infectious and draws listeners into his musical world. Any music fan would have found something to enjoy in the music that flowed from the stage. Click on any smaller image to see a larger version.

Tim Fitzgerald - Electric Guitar at the Von Freeman Pavilion of the 2017 Chicago Jazz Festival | Photograph by Tom Bowser Victor Garcia - Trumpet and Flugelhorn, Christian Dillingham - Bass at the Von Freeman Pavilion of the 2017 Chicago Jazz Festival | Photograph by Tom Bowser
The horn and saxophone parts were precisely played and nicely arranged. Trumpet and flugelhorn player Victor Garcia incorporates a high level of intensity into his playing that few horn players can match. It was the first time I had seen alto saxophonist Rajiv Halim play. His solos were polished and articulate. I hope to see him play again in the future. Lastly, Chris Madsen on tenor saxophone drew the three players together into a cohesive unit. Chris Madsen's playing was spontaneous and engaging.


Victor Garcia - Trumpet and Flugelhorn, Chris Madsen - Tenor Saxophone, Rajiv Halim - Alto Saxophone at the Von Freeman Pavilion of the 2017 Chicago Jazz Festival | Photograph by Tom Bowser

Chris Madsen - Tenor Saxophone, Victor Garcia - Trumpet and Flugelhorn, Rajiv Halim - Alto Saxophone at the Von Freeman Pavilion of the 2017 Chicago Jazz Festival | Photograph by Tom Bowser Chris Madsen - Tenor Saxophone at the Von Freeman Pavilion of the 2017 Chicago Jazz Festival | Photograph by Tom Bowser

Pianist Tom Vaitsas expanded and added depth and nuanced complexity to the bands overall sound. Tom's playing was superb. Unfortunately the grand piano he played was positioned so that his back was facing the audience. It was rarely possible to see his face as he played.

Tom Vaitsas - Piano, Christian Dillingham - Bass at the Von Freeman Pavilion of the 2017 Chicago Jazz Festival | Photograph by Tom Bowser Tim Fitzgerald - Electric Guitar at the Von Freeman Pavilion of the 2017 Chicago Jazz Festival | Photograph by Tom Bowser

One of my favorite Chicago drummers George Fludas and bassist Christian Dillingham formed a sold core upon which the other members of the band could build and flourish. George Fludas is one of the hardest working drummers in Chicago. I see him everywhere playing with the best jazz and blues bands and musicians in Chicago. He elevates the sound of every ensemble he plays with. George is not only a great technician, but has a finely tuned instinct of where he belongs in the music at every moment. His understanding of what and when to play makes him a standout among drummers.


George Fludas - Drums at the Von Freeman Pavilion of the 2017 Chicago Jazz Festival | Photograph by Tom Bowser


The Band:
Tim Fitzgerald - Electric Guitar
Chris Madsen - Tenor Saxophone
Rajiv Halim - Alto Saxophone
Victor Garcia - Trumpet and Flugelhorn
Tom Vaitsas - Piano
Christian Dillingham - Bass
George Fludas - Drums


Note from Tom: A Flugelhorn looks similar to a trumpet, but is a bit larger. It often has a darker and sometimes deeper, mellower sound than a trumpet. The multiple Grammy winning jazz artist Chuck Mangione popularized its use.


The Chicago Jazz Festival is produced by the Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events (DCASE) and programmed by the Jazz Institute of Chicago. Visit InspiredChicago.com for ideas on things to do while you visit Chicago.