November 22, 2012
Chicago jazz listeners have a great deal to be thankful for this Thanksgiving weekend:
Muriel Anderson: Three years ago, the mighty Chicago jazz guitarist John Moulder enriched one of his many engagements at the Green Mill Jazz Club by sharing the stage with Muriel Anderson, a stylistically eclectic colleague. Her exquisitely sensitive accompaniments on acoustic guitar enhanced the sonic sheen of Moulder's music from his "Bifrost" album, just as it had when she played a new-music festival at Northwestern University's Regenstein Hall in Evanston back in 1988. Since then, Anderson has built a formidable reputation as a soloist on a variety of guitars. She'll play her annual "Saturday After Thanksgiving Concert" with the most formidable jazz harmonica player on the planet, Chicagoan Howard Levy. 8 p.m. Saturday at Downers Grove North High School, 4436 Main St., Downers Grove; $15-$25. In addition, Anderson will convene a guitar workshop at 2 p.m. Sunday at the Two Way Street Coffee House, 1047 Curtiss St., Downers Grove; $22-$25; 630-541-8529 or murielanderson.com.
The noted Italian singer has made Chicago her home away from home each Thanksgiving week, her residency at the Jazz Showcase consistently attracting large crowds. Better still, Gambarini has developed significantly through the years her scat singing, showing heightened technical acuity, her interpretations increasingly subtle. She'll lead a quartet. 8 and 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 4, 8 and 10 p.m. Sunday; at the Jazz Showcase, 806 S. Plymouth Court; $25; 312-360-0234 or jazzshowcase.com.
In January, the singer-bassist made an unconventional appearance with the Chicago Jazz Ensemble, before that great band had gone on hiatus at Columbia College Chicago, where it's based. Participating in a tribute to Charles Mingus, Ndegeocello proved quite effective on electric bass, less so as vocalist in music from Joni Mitchell's album "Mingus." This time, Ndegeocello will perform "A Dedication to Nina Simone" and will be joined by Chicago guitarist Jeff Parker, whose weighty but succinct playing somehow flourishes in practically any musical setting. 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. Friday at the Old Town School of Folk Music's Maurer Concert Hall, 4544 N. Lincoln Ave.; $26-$30; 773-728-6000 or oldtownschool.org.
Joe Rendon: The esteemed Chicago conguero has played with Tito Puente, Irakere, Paquite D'Rivera and other giants of Afro-Caribbean music, as well as uncounted bands based here. In this setting, he'll be leading his quintet in a Global Dance Party, the kind of event he's uniquely equipped to handle. The session also will include a Latin dance class, for those in need of a little encouragement. 8:30 p.m. Friday at the Old Town School of Folk Music's Szold Music & Dance, 4545 N. Lincoln Ave.; $10; 773-728-6000 or oldtownschool.org.
Dave Schumacher/Jerry Weldon Organ Quartet: In their annual visit to Chicago, baritone saxophonist Schumacher and tenor saxophonist Weldon offer hard-charging frontline work honed through many seasons of sharing a bandstand. Schumacher, especially, produces gales of sound, with Chicago organist Dan Trudell pushing him from one offbeat to the next. The uncommonly dynamic Chicago drummer Dana Hall will be driving rhythms forward, which could make this one of the more arresting engagements of the weekend.
9 p.m. Friday and 8 p.m. Saturday at the Green Mill Jazz Club, 4802 N. Broadway; $12; 773-878-5552 or greenmilljazz.com.
Christopher McBride: When the ascending trumpeter Marquis Hill celebrated the release of his album "Sounds of the City" a couple of months ago at the Green Mill, he wasn't the only young Chicago musician announcing his gifts. The alto saxophonist that night, Christopher McBride, also acquitted himself quite well, leaving at least one listener eager to hear him leading his own group. McBride will oblige this weekend, marking the release of his debut CD, "Quatour De Force." 5, 6 and 7:30 p.m. Friday at Andy's Jazz Club, 11 E. Hubbard St.; $10 before 7:30 p.m.; $15 after 7:30 p.m.; 312-642-6805 or andysjazzclub.com.
Corey Wilkes: Is there a subgenre of jazz that Chicago trumpeter Wilkes does not play? Perhaps, but it's hard to come up with. The perpetually traveling trumpeter is home for the holidays, and he'll lead a strong quintet, with vibist Justin Thomas, bassist Junius Paul, drummer Xavier Breaker and the mentor to all of them, pianist Robert Irving III. 9:30 p.m. Friday at Andy's Jazz Club, 11 E. Hubbard St.; $15; 312-642-6805 or andysjazzclub.com.
Erwin Helfer and Barrelhouse Chuck: Billed as a "Boogie Woogie Celebration," this summit of two major Chicago players stands as a potentially significant event. Not many pianists today, in other words, devote themselves to this historic genre, which has deep roots in Chicago musical history. Here's a chance to hear what it's all about. 6:30 p.m. Sunday at the Old Town School of Folk Music's Szold Music & Dance Hall, 4545 N. Lincoln Ave.; $20; 773-728-6000 or oldtownschool.org.
Joan Collaso: Chicago happens to be rich in fine female jazz singers these days, and Collaso is one of them. She'll play the weekly session presented by the nonprofit Hyde Park Jazz Society in Room 43, which feels more like an intimate family gathering than a formal club performance. 7:30 to 11:30 p.m. Sunday at Room 43, 1043 E. 43d St.; $10; valet parking available; hydeparkjazzsociety.com.
Soul Jazz Party: For those who don't have to get out of bed early on Monday morning, the new late Sunday night attraction offers a tempting reason to stay up: the historically informed playing of the Paterson Trio, featuring guitarist Joel Paterson, Hammond B-3 organ player Ben Paterson (no relation) and drummer Alex Hall. 11 p.m. Sunday to 2 a.m. Monday at the Green Mill Jazz Club, 4802 N. Broadway; $4; 773-878-5552 or greenmilljazz.com.