mojosmom: (Default)
A couple of weeks ago, I went to the Chicago Air and Water Show, a big, noisy deal on the lakefront. Ordinarily, I'd never go, as it would entail fighting crowds on the beaches. But I was invited to a private event on the Rooftop Terrace of Navy Pier, with lots of yummy food, and far enough from the main action to carry on a conversation. It was actually quite fun watching the planes and the boats:
Contrails

This past weekend was the annual Chicago Jazz Festival. There was a tribute to Ella Fitzgerald at Millennium Park on Thursday, another concert with Latin jazz and Roy Haynes on Friday, and then the main stuff all weekend. It threatened rain both Saturday and Sunday, and actually drizzled a bit on Friday, so the crowds were not as large as usually until later Sunday afternoon. I didn't stay late to the Saturday/Sunday evening concerts, but enjoyed both afternoons immensely, as always.

Other than that, I've been reading a lot. I seem to be on a 19th-century novel kick, having just finished Wilkie Collins' Hide and Seek and being on my third (!) Trollope. I may move on to Henry James and Edith Wharton after this.
mojosmom: (Music)
I didn't get to much of the Thursday or Friday programming, because most of it was during the day and I had to work! Outrageous! But I got down to Millennium Park on Friday evening in time for the tail end of the Mike LeDonne Quartet, and catching what I'd really gone down to hear, which was Nicole Mitchell's Black Earth Orchestra, followed by the Ramsey Lewis Trio. Mitchell was artist-in-residence this year, so was all over the Festival. There were a few sprinkles of rain early on, but I had my umbrella. I also had brought a lightweight blanket, which I needed, because it got cold, but it was a great evening, musically-speaking!
Jazz Fest 2010 - Friday night at Pritzker

On Saturday, I spent the morning running the usual errands, and got down to Grant Park shortly before 1:00 p.m. I pretty much went back and forth among the various venues, heard the Douglas Ewart Nyahbingi Drum Choir; the Kenwood Academy High School Jazz Ensemble (this school is just down the street from me); the West End Jazz Band, which specializes in classic jazz of the '20s and '30s. My favorite afternoon performances were Maggie Brown's "Tribute to Abbey Lincoln" and Nicole Mitchell's Sonic Projections. As I wandered back toward the food and the Petrillo Music Shell for the evening performances, I encountered The Stooges Brass Band, up from New Orleans, parading down Jackson with the second line behind. (See this journal entry for a definition of "second line".) Huge fun! I didn't stay for all the evening events, but enjoyed the Chuchito Valdés Quintet, and René Marie. She did her suite, "Voice of my Beautiful Country", in which she re-wrote the melodies to "America the Beautiful" and "My Country Tis of Thee" but retained the lyrics. The last movement is stunning: "Lift Every Voice and Sing" to the tune of "The Star-Spangled Banner" (which is, of course, itself written to the tune of "To Anacreon in Heaven").

For the first time this year, there were performances at the Jazz and Heritage stage that overlapped with the main event at the Petrillo. This had its drawbacks, as the sound bled over, not a good thing with a quiet performer like René Marie. When her performance finished, I went over to the other stage and caught the last half-hour of Corey Wilkes' Black Slang, which was awesome.


Then I stopped by the Robinson's No. 1 Ribs booth and had a boneless rib sandwich for dinner.

Sunday, after breakfast and the newspaper, I headed back to the Fest. I heard the end of Paulinho Garcia's set, got some sweet potato fries and headed off to hear most of the Bethany Pickens Trio set. I then went back to the Jackson Stage to catch Nicole Mitchell's Black Earth Ensemble, with guest harpist Edmar Castaneda. Again to the Jazz and Heritage stage for the end of NOMO, and all of Saalik ziyad's 5 after 7 Project. The Stooges Brass Band was marching again, having a real good time:
The Stooges Brass Band

Somewhere in here I bought a pair of silver earrings from Chester Allen.

I had a ticket for a preferred seating area for the Petrillo Music Shell, and had to take it up by 5:00, so I went over there and got seated, enjoying the Brad Mehldau Trio, Ted Sirota's Rebel Souls and Henry Threadgill's Zooid, before the headliner, the Kurt Elling Quartet, with Ernie Watts:\Kurt Elling


THE END of another great Chicago Jazz Festival:
The End.

(More Jazz Fest photos here.)

Today, I did laundry and grocery shopping!
mojosmom: (Music)
I didn't get to much of the Thursday or Friday programming, because most of it was during the day and I had to work! Outrageous! But I got down to Millennium Park on Friday evening in time for the tail end of the Mike LeDonne Quartet, and catching what I'd really gone down to hear, which was Nicole Mitchell's Black Earth Orchestra, followed by the Ramsey Lewis Trio. Mitchell was artist-in-residence this year, so was all over the Festival. There were a few sprinkles of rain early on, but I had my umbrella. I also had brought a lightweight blanket, which I needed, because it got cold, but it was a great evening, musically-speaking!
Jazz Fest 2010 - Friday night at Pritzker

On Saturday, I spent the morning running the usual errands, and got down to Grant Park shortly before 1:00 p.m. I pretty much went back and forth among the various venues, heard the Douglas Ewart Nyahbingi Drum Choir; the Kenwood Academy High School Jazz Ensemble (this school is just down the street from me); the West End Jazz Band, which specializes in classic jazz of the '20s and '30s. My favorite afternoon performances were Maggie Brown's "Tribute to Abbey Lincoln" and Nicole Mitchell's Sonic Projections. As I wandered back toward the food and the Petrillo Music Shell for the evening performances, I encountered The Stooges Brass Band, up from New Orleans, parading down Jackson with the second line behind. (See this journal entry for a definition of "second line".) Huge fun! I didn't stay for all the evening events, but enjoyed the Chuchito Valdés Quintet, and René Marie. She did her suite, "Voice of my Beautiful Country", in which she re-wrote the melodies to "America the Beautiful" and "My Country Tis of Thee" but retained the lyrics. The last movement is stunning: "Lift Every Voice and Sing" to the tune of "The Star-Spangled Banner" (which is, of course, itself written to the tune of "To Anacreon in Heaven").

For the first time this year, there were performances at the Jazz and Heritage stage that overlapped with the main event at the Petrillo. This had its drawbacks, as the sound bled over, not a good thing with a quiet performer like René Marie. When her performance finished, I went over to the other stage and caught the last half-hour of Corey Wilkes' Black Slang, which was awesome.


Then I stopped by the Robinson's No. 1 Ribs booth and had a boneless rib sandwich for dinner.

Sunday, after breakfast and the newspaper, I headed back to the Fest. I heard the end of Paulinho Garcia's set, got some sweet potato fries and headed off to hear most of the Bethany Pickens Trio set. I then went back to the Jackson Stage to catch Nicole Mitchell's Black Earth Ensemble, with guest harpist Edmar Castaneda. Again to the Jazz and Heritage stage for the end of NOMO, and all of Saalik ziyad's 5 after 7 Project. The Stooges Brass Band was marching again, having a real good time:
The Stooges Brass Band

Somewhere in here I bought a pair of silver earrings from Chester Allen.

I had a ticket for a preferred seating area for the Petrillo Music Shell, and had to take it up by 5:00, so I went over there and got seated, enjoying the Brad Mehldau Trio, Ted Sirota's Rebel Souls and Henry Threadgill's Zooid, before the headliner, the Kurt Elling Quartet, with Ernie Watts:\Kurt Elling


THE END of another great Chicago Jazz Festival:
The End.

(More Jazz Fest photos here.)

Today, I did laundry and grocery shopping!

More jazz

Sep. 7th, 2009 02:32 pm
mojosmom: (Music)
I spent pretty much all day Saturday and Sunday at the Chicago Jazz Festival. The weather was very cooperative; though rain was predicted for Sunday, it never came. Temps were mid-'70s during the day, dropping to the '60s in the evening, so I just threw a shawl or light jacket in my bag and was good to go. (In Chicago, you learn to layer!)

Saturday

The first "absolute must" on my list was Nicole Mitchell's Black Earth Strings, a smaller group drawn from her Black Earth Ensemble. After their performance, I stayed at the "Jazz on Jackson" stage to hear the Chicago Afro-Latin Jazz Ensemble, whom I had not heard before. I was glad I stayed! They were smokin'. People got up and danced in front of the stage, and the Event Support folks didn't stop them. And one of their vocalists gets the "Best Shoes at Jazz Fest" award:
Lina Marie's Shoes of Many Colors

The evening mainstage concerts were fantastic! The night kicked off with the Fred Anderson Trio. Fred is one of the mainstays of the Chicago jazz scene. In this, his 80th year, he is still running the Velvet Lounge and mentoring young folks. He was followed by the Amina Figarova Sextet. She's an Azerbaijan-born pianist, now based in Rotterdam. Though not the last concert of the evening (I was a bit tired, so didn't stay all night), I was glad I stayed for William Parker's The Inside Songs of Curtis Mayfield. Whoa! Amiri Baraka performed new poetry, sometimes accompanying, sometimes replacing, Mayfield's lyrics. Leena Conquest sang the house down. Here's a clip (from a performance last year at NYC's Vision Fest; the sound quality isn't the best, it's hard to understand Baraka, but you'll get a flavor):


Sunday

Plan was to get down to hear Ben Paterson and Yoko Noge at "Jazz on Jackson", but I realized that Corey Wilkes was playing with the Kevin Nabors Quintet over at the Jazz and Heritage Stage, so went there first. Since the sets overlapped, I was able to hear that, the tail end of Paterson, and all of Yoko Noge. She's an interesting woman - reporter for Japan's financial paper, Nikkei, by day, blues/jazz performer by night - she's currently working on a project called "Japanesque", blending traditional Japanese music and Chicago blues.
Yoko Noge

"Jazz on Jackson" was definitely the place to be yesterday. The next group up was James Falzone's KLANG, presenting "The Benny Goodman Project". This being Goodman's centennial year, there were several programs paying him homage, and this one was really fine. The group "rethought" some of Goodman's best-known pieces and played some new compositions inspired by him as well.

And then it was Vonski time! Von Freeman, another grand old man of Chicago jazz (he'll be 87 next month) took the stage with New Apartment Jam (the New Apartment Lounge being the club where he holds forth). His group played a while, and then the University of Vonski opened. That is, two participants in the Jazz Institute of Chicago's Jazz Links program joined him (he's another who encourages and mentors young musicians):
The University of Vonski

The evening began with the Archie Shepp Quartet, paying tribute to tenor sax great, Ben Webster. They were followed by Buddy DeFranco in a tribute to Art Tatum. (This is the centennial year for both Webster and Tatum.) DeFranco's pianist was Johnny O'Neal, who actually played Tatum in a biopic of Ray Charles.

Then the woman I came to hear - Dee Alexander. This was her first time headlining at the Fest, but, I hope, not her last. Of course, she's performed at the Hyde Park Jazz Festival and is a frequent performer for the Hyde Park Jazz Society's Sunday night programs. Fantastic, as always.
Dee Alexander

I skipped the final act, and got home in time for Mad Men.

Now to rest up for the Hyde Park Jazz Festival three weeks from now!

More jazz

Sep. 7th, 2009 02:32 pm
mojosmom: (Music)
I spent pretty much all day Saturday and Sunday at the Chicago Jazz Festival. The weather was very cooperative; though rain was predicted for Sunday, it never came. Temps were mid-'70s during the day, dropping to the '60s in the evening, so I just threw a shawl or light jacket in my bag and was good to go. (In Chicago, you learn to layer!)

Saturday

The first "absolute must" on my list was Nicole Mitchell's Black Earth Strings, a smaller group drawn from her Black Earth Ensemble. After their performance, I stayed at the "Jazz on Jackson" stage to hear the Chicago Afro-Latin Jazz Ensemble, whom I had not heard before. I was glad I stayed! They were smokin'. People got up and danced in front of the stage, and the Event Support folks didn't stop them. And one of their vocalists gets the "Best Shoes at Jazz Fest" award:
Lina Marie's Shoes of Many Colors

The evening mainstage concerts were fantastic! The night kicked off with the Fred Anderson Trio. Fred is one of the mainstays of the Chicago jazz scene. In this, his 80th year, he is still running the Velvet Lounge and mentoring young folks. He was followed by the Amina Figarova Sextet. She's an Azerbaijan-born pianist, now based in Rotterdam. Though not the last concert of the evening (I was a bit tired, so didn't stay all night), I was glad I stayed for William Parker's The Inside Songs of Curtis Mayfield. Whoa! Amiri Baraka performed new poetry, sometimes accompanying, sometimes replacing, Mayfield's lyrics. Leena Conquest sang the house down. Here's a clip (from a performance last year at NYC's Vision Fest; the sound quality isn't the best, it's hard to understand Baraka, but you'll get a flavor):


Sunday

Plan was to get down to hear Ben Paterson and Yoko Noge at "Jazz on Jackson", but I realized that Corey Wilkes was playing with the Kevin Nabors Quintet over at the Jazz and Heritage Stage, so went there first. Since the sets overlapped, I was able to hear that, the tail end of Paterson, and all of Yoko Noge. She's an interesting woman - reporter for Japan's financial paper, Nikkei, by day, blues/jazz performer by night - she's currently working on a project called "Japanesque", blending traditional Japanese music and Chicago blues.
Yoko Noge

"Jazz on Jackson" was definitely the place to be yesterday. The next group up was James Falzone's KLANG, presenting "The Benny Goodman Project". This being Goodman's centennial year, there were several programs paying him homage, and this one was really fine. The group "rethought" some of Goodman's best-known pieces and played some new compositions inspired by him as well.

And then it was Vonski time! Von Freeman, another grand old man of Chicago jazz (he'll be 87 next month) took the stage with New Apartment Jam (the New Apartment Lounge being the club where he holds forth). His group played a while, and then the University of Vonski opened. That is, two participants in the Jazz Institute of Chicago's Jazz Links program joined him (he's another who encourages and mentors young musicians):
The University of Vonski

The evening began with the Archie Shepp Quartet, paying tribute to tenor sax great, Ben Webster. They were followed by Buddy DeFranco in a tribute to Art Tatum. (This is the centennial year for both Webster and Tatum.) DeFranco's pianist was Johnny O'Neal, who actually played Tatum in a biopic of Ray Charles.

Then the woman I came to hear - Dee Alexander. This was her first time headlining at the Fest, but, I hope, not her last. Of course, she's performed at the Hyde Park Jazz Festival and is a frequent performer for the Hyde Park Jazz Society's Sunday night programs. Fantastic, as always.
Dee Alexander

I skipped the final act, and got home in time for Mad Men.

Now to rest up for the Hyde Park Jazz Festival three weeks from now!

Art & Music

Sep. 5th, 2009 10:20 am
mojosmom: (Default)
ART

In January, 1904, the Chicago Public Library's first branch library opened. The T.B. Blackstone branch was built from funds donated by his widow for that purpose, and was designed by Solon Beman. (This was something of a family tradition, as Blackstone himself had had a library built in Branford, Connecticut, in his father's memory. In that case, too, Beman was the architect.) Among the design elements of the new library was a rotunda decorated with murals by Oliver Dennett Grover, a well-known Chicago artist who had also created murals for the World's Columbian Exposition. Over the years, the murals became dirty, the leaf-like design of the spandrels was damaged in an early cleaning attempt, the canvas on which they were painted was coming away from the walls, and there was damage to the plaster surrounds. Recently, a grant of $100,000 allowed them to be restored, and the library last week hosted an event to view and discuss the restoration. The conservators spoke, and talked about the history of the murals and what was done to fix them.

And they are glorious. The colors glow, and details that were hidden under the grime are visible once again.

This is "Literature" (click on the image for more):
Literature


MUSIC

The annual Chicago Jazz Festival is this weekend! There was a gala concert Tuesday night at the Spertus Institute to benefit the Jazz Institute of Chicago and to kick off the festival. We heard the world première of a commissioned composition by Nicole Mitchell, Honoring Grace: Michelle Obama (a tribute to the southside's most famous jazz afficionado!), performed by Mitchell's group, the Black Earth Orchestra, with guest Dee Alexander (one of my absolute favorite jazz vocalists).

The Black Earth Orchestra combines typical jazz instruments such as trumpet and saxophone, with classical instruments like violin and cello (and, of course, Mitchell's flute) and African percussion and Indian sitar. Mitchell also has a smaller group, Black Earth Strings, which will be performing at the Jazz Fest this afternoon.

Yesterday was the first day of Jazz Fest, and I took the afternoon off work so as to be sure not to miss Esperanza Spalding. This young lady is the whole package: brains, beauty, talent, poise, humor. A delightful performance.
Esperanza in black and white

I stayed for some, but not all, of the evening concert. Heard the Jeff Parker Quartet, which I enjoyed; The Trio with Muhal Richard Abrams, Roscoe Mitchell and George Lewis, which was way too dissonant for my taste; and Madeleine Peyroux, who I also enjoyed.

I'm going back this afternoon for more.
mojosmom: (Librarian books)
As I mentioned, I left behind the library book I was reading at my sister's. Unfortunately, it's due tomorrow. I had figured I'd just renew it on the library's website and all would be well, but I get this message: "Item could not be renewed because another patron has requested it." How dare someone else request it! Outrageous! So now I'll have to pay a fine when it gets here. Not only that, I won't be able to finish reading the book!

I went to the last day of the Chicago Jazz Fest on Sunday, and had a marvelous time! Hot (almost too hot, but I had my hat!) and sunny weather, with the occasional breeze off the lake. Good and varied food (I had: skirt steak tacos with cilantro and onions, sweet potato chips, beignets, and pad thai - not all at once!). And, of course, great music. I got there shortly after 2:00, and stayed through most of the evening Mainstage concerts. Pics for those who are interested.

Yesterday, I just lazed around and read. Finished up Sarah Roahen's Gumbo Tales: Finding My Place at the New Orleans Table, which I enjoyed very much, even if it did make me hungry N'awlins cooking.

May 2017

S M T W T F S
 1 23456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
28293031   

Syndicate

RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated May. 30th, 2017 07:10 am
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios