Mark Keresman

Mark Keresman

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
29.01.2011

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
Mariza, born in Mozambique, living in Portugal, is a truly amazing singer she is a singer of Fado, a folk form that is Portugal’s country blues and torch song/cabaret rolled into one. Her presentation Sunday night at the nearly sold-out show at Chicago’s classy but unpretentious Hot House one of THE BEST places in this windiest of cities to experience jazz and world music(s) was minimal, to say the least: two guitarists and a bassist sitting in a half-circle. But the audience’s focus was on the
Don’t confuse Austin’s Asylum Street Spankers with the down-into-the-dustbin-of-History neo-/retro-/whatever Swing/Lounge knee-deep-in-sharkskin trend that thrived in the hep urban environs of LA, SF, et. al. in the 1990s. Not that there wasn’t any good music in it Squirrel Nut Zippers and Frenchy were and are still pretty swell but a great deal of it was musically shallow and ain’t-we-HIP style over substance jizz by people who had never even touched or SEEN a Count Basie album. These As
The Green Mill is one of the oldest bars in Chicago if not indeed THE oldest bar. I don’t know if it was one of the places he owned, but it was one of the favorite hangouts of legendary underworld boss "Scarface" Al Capone. On the walls within are idyllic paintings framed by the kind of elaborate, baroque-style woodwork that you just don’t see in bars (or just about anyplace) built after 1930. Though time has somewhat dulled the shine, the Green Mill (near the corner of Broadway & Lawrence on th
I have a new guitar hero. (At age 44, yet. Oy.)

As a lad, I idolized Eric Clapton then Phil Manzanera, John McLaughlin, Frank Zappa, then I got into other kinds of music where the Guitar Solo wasn't the dominant thang. Yet, along with fine piano, saxophone and violin playing, Amazing Guitar Players still occupy a Place In My Heart. However, there aren't too many that really get to me like they used to, as far too many guitarists substitute gee-whiz, looka-me TECHNIQUE for genuine invent
At first glance, one might take Garmarna to be just another band of alterna-rock 20-somethings, but as the Blues Poet Willie Dixon once observed, you can’t judge that chunk of reading matter by its superficial graphic design. From Sweden, Garmarna are five singers/players who take the traditional folk music of their land’s history and invest/interpret it with modern technology and edgy oomfp. They strive for a balance that treats their heritage with reverence but, thankfully, don’t try to