Mark Keresman

Mark Keresman

Call it "the people’s alternative concert space," even if it is at a chain store. Many Borders stores host not only touring authors, but also touring singers & players from time to time. Best part is: "it don’t cost nothing." This particular Borders in Chicago, the relatively new uptown store, played host to the outstandingly talented Brazilian singer/guitarist/songwriter Badi Assad, in town for the Chicago World Music Festival.

Ms. Assad i

Savina Yannatou is a singer from Greece who has background in classical (baroque/Renaissance era), folk music of Europe & the Middle East, and jazz/free improv. She and her band endeavor to unpretentiously weave all these strands together for a tapestry virtually [hyperbole alert!] unparalleled in modern music. Ms. Yannatou’s vocal talents had the breadth of an unusually eclectic ethnomusicologist, the chops of Patty Waters, Diamanda Galas, Joan La Barbara, and (dare I say) Yoko Ono and most imp
To paraphrase somebody 'r' other, reality makes strange bedfellows. Producer Adrian Sherwood has twiddled the knobs for some of the trippiest dub ever to emanate from the British Isles (African Headcharge, Creation Rebel, Prince Far I) and he's done production work for nominally more "pop" acts Nine Inch Nails and Ministry. And as hard for it might be to believe for anyone under 30, there was a trio of real musicians at the core of the earliest and most influential hip-hop records (Grandmaster F
Another weekend night at one of America's coolest jazz clubs, the Green Mill in Chicago, this time with one of the finest, most underrated American jazz singer, Ms. Sheila Jordan. Ms. Jordan (b. 1928) was a contemporary of Charlie Parker, and was briefly married to one of Parker's pianists, Duke Jordan. Until about 20 years ago, a day job kept her from pursuing singing full-time -- before then, Jordan sang with George Russell, Carla Bley and Roswell Rudd, and in the early 1960s recorded her debu
There are drummers, and then there is Bob Moses. [Holy Hyperbole, Batman!] Well, it’s true: there aren’t many jazz drummers like Bob Moses. To say his resume is impressive is a gross understatement (Gary Burton, R. Roland Kirk, Pat Metheny’s 1st album, Steve Kuhn, etc.); he’s a fascinating, effective and engaging composer/arranger a la Gil Evans and Carla Bley (a bunch of discs on Gramavision, officially out of print but well worth seeking); and he’s a helluva drummer, a descendant of Art Blakey
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