Sunday, June 28, 2015

Marquis Hill | Chicago's Sound Palette III

By TOM BOWSER


The Marquis Hill Blacktet (yes, it's blacktet, not quartet) played in the Yates Gallery of the Chicago Cultural Center surrounded by the art of world renowned artist Archibald Motley. Smaller more intimate rooms like the Yates Gallery are the perfect place to see jazz. You can clearly see the musicians as they interact to create music that lives in the moment. The room was small enough that little amplification was needed to hear the musicians instruments. I could hear the complex tone of Marquis Hill's trumpet directly from the bell of his horn.

Archibald Motley painting - Hot-Rhythm

From my perspective the music of The Marquis Hill Blacktet epitomizes what jazz is all about, created in the moment yet grounded enough to be musical and accessible to it's audience. Jazz aficionados will not be disappointed. If you are new to jazz The Marquis Hill Blacktet is a great place to start your exploration of the universe of jazz music.

This was the first time my wife and I had seen trumpeter Marquis Hill and his band perform. With each song the band got tighter, hotter, the performances more inspired. It was a night of great music my wife and I will both remember for many years to come. The Marquis Hill Blacktet will perform at the upcoming Chicago Jazz Festival. I'll see you there!

The Band:
Christopher McBride - Alto Saxophone
Justin Thomas - Vibes
Joshua Ramos - Bass
Makaya McCraven - Drums
Marquis Hill - Trumpet - Winner of the prestigious Thelonious Monk International Trumpet Competition.






Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Chicago Jazz Festival | September 3 - 6, 2015

By TOM BOWSER


Whether you're a music fan or musician, jazz music offers an experience that is unique in music. The Chicago Jazz Festival provides an opportunity to hear world class jazz for the low, low price of FREE. New to jazz music? The 37th Chicago Jazz Festival is the perfect opportunity to see a variety of styles of jazz performed in comfortable settings.

Some of the performers I'm looking forward to seeing include, Butler, Bernstein & The Hot 9, Dee Dee Bridgewater, The Fred Hersch Trio, The Brian Gephart Sextet and Douglas Ewart, Inventions and The Marquis Hill Blacktet. See you there!

See this years schedule for more details. Go to the Inspired Chicago Web site to learn about great FREE things to do while you visit Chicago.

I've included a couple of pictures of Chicago's own Ari Brown Quintet from last years Chicago Jazz Festival. Read more about The Ari Brown Quintet. NOTE: Yes, Ari Brown is actually playing two saxophones at the same time (see image below). Sure, it's a gimmic, but isn't it fun! Enjoy music, enjoy life, be kind to others. Tom








Sunday, June 14, 2015

Chicago Blues Festival | Preview Event | Muddy Waters



FREE blues music related "Preview Events" are scheduled prior to the start of the Chicago Blues Festival. The first preview event my wife and I attended was “Speakin’ of the Blues: Celebrating the Willie Dixon Centennial" featuring the world class blues harmonica player Billy Branch with Dan Carelli playing a "resonator" guitar.

The second 2015 Chicago Blues Festival preview event my wife and I attended was a FREE screening of the documentary film "The Life and Times of Muddy Waters – Can’t Be Satisfied". The event was held in the Claudia Cassidy Theater on the 2nd floor of the beautiful and historic Chicago Cultural Center located at North 78 E. Washington Street. The Claudia Cassidy Theater was the perfect theater for the event, not to large, not to small. The seats are comfortable and the bathrooms are close.

Muddy Waters played a significant role in developing the sound of the "Chicago Style" of blues music. I've always been interested in learning about the people behind the music. Filmmakers - Robert Gordon and Morgan Neville did a good job describing Muddy Waters, the blues music icon, the man, the human being. The movie originally aired as one of the American Masters series on PBS.

BONUS:
Live music was scheduled prior to the movie. Who the band was going to be was not listed on the description of the event by the Chicago Cultural Center. The mystery band was nice a surprise! The band consisted of Chicago blues artists:
  1. Studebaker John (John Grimaldi) on guitar.
  2. Rick Kreher (former rhythm guitarist for Muddy Waters) on guitar.
  3. Grammy Award winner Kenny "Beedy Eyes" Smith on drums.

A great performance, an interesting movie for the low price of FREE. Fantastique!! Schedule your visit to Chicago to see the 2015 Chicago Blues Festival. Learn more about great free things to do while you visit Chicago at Inspired Chicago.

I've included pictures from the bands performance that night. Click on the small images to see a larger version.

Studebaker John (John Grimaldi) on guitar, Kenny
Studebaker John (John Grimaldi) on guitar - Photo by Tom Bowser Rick Kreher on guitar - Photo by Tom Bowser Kenny Beedy Eyes Smith on drums - Photo by Tom Bowser


NOTE: For those of you who like to read a good book now and then I suggest "Can't Be Satisfied: The Life and Times of Muddy Waters".

Enjoy music, enjoy life, be kind to others. Tom



Thursday, June 4, 2015

Billy Branch | Preview of the 2015 Chicago Blues Fest



On May 14, 2015, three time Grammy nominated blues harmonica player Billy Branch with Dan Carelli (playing a resonator guitar) gave the audience a preview of what to expect at the upcoming 2015, Chicago Blues Festival. Admission was FREE as part of “Speakin’ of the Blues: Celebrating the Willie Dixon Centennial”. The venue was the comfortably sized "Cindy Pritzker Auditorium" at the Harold Washington Library Center in downtown Chicago. The acoustics of the theater made it perfect for the event. Learn more ...

Billy Branch and the Sons of Blues will perform at the 32ND annual Chicago Blues Festival, June 12-14, 2015. Learn more about the Chicago Blues Festival and other things to do in Chicago at the Inspired Chicago Web site.

Blues harmonica player Billy Branch with resonator guitarist Dan Carelli at Preview of the 2015 Chicago Blues Fest  - Photo by Tom Bowser

The Chicago style of Blues music has influenced many other genres of music and internationally famous musicians to include blues rockers Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Eric Clapton, ZZ Top, Keith Richards of The Rolling Stones, David Gilmore of Pink Floyd and many more.

The Chicago Blues Festival is one of the largest FREE blues festivals in the United States. It is an international event attended by people from around the world. If you have not been to Chicago for a while it's time to plan a visit. See you there! Enjoy music, enjoy life, be kind to others. Tom






Wednesday, June 3, 2015

The Chicago Jazz Festival | 4 Days of Free Jazz

The Chicago Jazz Festival - September 3 - September 6, 2015
People from all over the world attend the Chicago Jazz Festival. It is one of the largest Free jazz festivals in the United States. You can see diverse jazz styles played by both nationally and internationally known musicians from Chicago and throughout the United States. The performance venues range from small and intimate to large outdoor events held at Pritzker Pavilion in Millenium Park (with seating & plenty of bathrooms). The atmosphere is friendly. There is great food and a variety of hotels within walking distance of the festival events.

One of my favorite non music events during last years Chicago Jazz Festival was a film screening of director Robert Mugge's film "Sun Ra: A Joyful Noise". Robert attended the screening and answered questions about the film and his experience working with Sun Ra and his band. Learn more about the Chicago Jazz Festival: Music Lovers, How About Some Jazz? and Some Good Vibes At The Chicago Jazz Festival

I was fortunate to see the internationally known jazz legend Sun Ra perform before he passed on to the "omniverse". Sun Ra influenced countless great jazz musicians including the internationally known (Chicago native) bassist Richard Davis. One night, many years ago I produced live sound for an event at which Richard Davis performed. That night reignited my interest in jazz music.

Learn more about the upcoming Chicago Jazz Festival (2015) and other great FREE things to do while you're visiting Chicago at the Inspired Chicago Web site.

The following are a few of the musicians my wife and I saw perform at last years (2014) Chicago Jazz Festival. Enjoy music, enjoy life, be kind to others. Tom


The Paulinho Garcia Quintet

Paulinho Garcia (guitar and vocals), Heitor Garcia (percussion), Geraldo de Oliveira (percussion), Dedé Sampaio (drums), and Greg Fishman (saxophone)

Chicago Jazz Festival (2015) The Paulinho Garcia Quintet is Paulinho Garcia (guitar and vocals), Heitor Garcia (percussion), Geraldo de Oliveira (percussion), Dedé Sampaio (drums), and Greg Fishman (saxophone)




Vibraphonist Gary Burton

Gary Burton (vibraphone), Vadim Neselovskyi (piano), Jorge Roeder (bass), Henry Cole (drums), and Julian Lage (guitar)

Chicago Jazz Festival (2015) Gary Burton (vibraphone), Vadim Neselovskyi (piano), Jorge Roeder (bass), Henry Cole (drums), and Julian Lage (guitar)




David Boykin Expanse

David Boykin (saxophonist on left), Josh Abrams (base), James Baker (piano), Marcus Evans (drums), Dan Godston (trumpet), Nicole Mitchell (flute), Jayve Montgomery (saxophone), Shanta Nurullah (base), Eliel Sherman Storey (saxophone), and Alex Wing (guitar)

Chicago Jazz Festival (2015) David Boykin Expanse - David Boykin (saxophonist on left), Josh Abrams (base), James Baker (piano), Marcus Evans (drums), Dan Godston (trumpet), Nicole Mitchell (flute), Jayve Montgomery (saxophone), Shanta Nurullah (base), Eliel Sherman Storey (saxophone), and Alex Wing (guitar)