Mark Keresman

Mark Keresman

While the more cynical among us (like yours truly) might accuse singer/songwriter Susan Werner of "changing" her style to appeal to the jazz-is-hip-now crowd, the cabaret set or the (dwindling) retro swing scene well, shucks, that’s just wrong. While Ms. Werner was in high school and college, she’d played and sung jazz before moving into the folk/singer-songwriter milieu in which she established herself. On her latest album I Can’t Be New (Koch), she renews the jazz/torch song side of her musica
Chicago’s Reservation Blues conveniently located very near the holy trinity of Damen, North & Milwaukee does not fit the stereotype of an old-style blues bar. The walls are red brick, with photographs and album covers hung with great care adorning the walls, and shucks, it wasn’t even that smoky (thank goodness). Of course, the pics and LP covers were of a hardly traditional/stereotypical bluesman, namely, the Breezy Burg’s own Eddy "The Chief" Clearwater.

The Chief reminds me somewhat
In these very (web)pages I’ve extolled the coolness of Chicago’s legendary jazz club the Green Mill, so I shan’t repeat myself. But this past V-Day in the Windy/Big-Shouldered City was indeed special, but not for the temporal pleasures/seizures of the holiday (feh), but rather because trumpeter/composer Dave Douglas has made a rare appearance here. [His first, maybe? I’m not certain.] It was enough of an Event that despite the cold (and it surely was, indeed), there was a line around the corner
While some ethnocentric types go on about Jazz being "Black Music" and Anglocentric types maintain jazz is an American music (a good arguement, I'll admit), jazz is really a world music with its roots in the unique, (proudly) mongrelized contraption known as the USA. The clashes (sometimes literal) of cultures in the USA is where jazz sprang from, and attempts to "localize" it are doomed to failure (some folks eat up the "this is OUR music" spiel, but it’s baloney all the same) the band A
Chicago’s Abbey Pub was host to a terrific hepcat Christmas Pageant. Though this is hardly your parents’ Christmas concert (unless your parents are/were Gomez and Morticia Addams), nobody in this packed house humbugged this show.

The evening was kicked off (literally) by the zany antics of the Legendary Shackshakers. When I reviewed their disc Cockadoodledon’t on this site months ago, my assessment of them was an Outer Limits-warped blues band, a band thrilled too much by
Call me an ol’ Humbug, but I’m generally allergic to most Christmas music while some of it is beautiful, a lot of it is overly sentimental in that syrupy TV movie of the week way. Perhaps Brian Setzer understands that many feel similar, turning the attention of his big band to some Xmas classics, all the while amping up the Hep Factor. For those unfamiliar with the lad’s resume, Brian Setzer is best known as the guitarist/singer of the Stray Cats, a rockablilly revivalist trio that, while dissed
Schuba’s is a tasteful but thoroughly unpretentious music club/restaurant in/near the Lakeview/Wrigglyville section of Chicago very good live sound quality, very good food that usually hosts alternative/indie rock, folk and country sounds. But they’re branching out into this odd thing called "jazz music," and this past Sunday night, Schuba’s was the host to the Chicago debut of one of the grand-daddies of the UK avant-garde jazz/free-improv scene. British alto saxophonist Trevor Watts has
Jean-Michel Pilc is a French piano player (let’s say post-bop, or hard bop with occasional avant-garde overtones) whose touring travels brought him to Chicago’s Green Mill (one of the oldest if not THE oldest jazz clubs in town) with a talented trio consisting of bassist Toma Bramerie and drummer Ari Hoenig, and we in Chicagoland (what "we" call the greater Chicago area) were all the better for it. Anyone expecting an evening of refined Gallic excursions was likely disappointed Pilc is a way-
Green Dolphin Street a classy Chicago jazz bistro/supper club was the setting for a two-night stand of drummer T.S. Monk’s sextet. It was essentially the same grouping of players as their latest platter Higher Ground (Thelonious/Hyena), albeit with two substitutions: Nick Rolfe, piano, and Keith Newton, reeds, in place of Ray Gallon and Willie Williams, respectively; Winston Byrd, trumpet & flugelhorn, Bobby Porcelli, alto sax & flute; David Jackson, acoustic bass. In front of a near-pack

Osby: Wizard

Published in Concert Reviews
[For a description of the remarkable old, old-school rococo, slightly funky Chicago institution The Green Mill, please refer to my concert review of the Matt Wilson Quartet elsewhere on this very site.] The 40-something Greg Osby is one of the premier alto saxophone wizards of his generation, that generation of musicians whose commitment to jazz is unwavering, but open to the influences/inspirations of not only hard bop and the jazz avant-garde but to pre-bop styles and even [gasp] non-jazz musi