WBEZ | jazz http://www.wbez.org/tags/jazz Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Morning Shift: An American art form in Paris http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2014-05-05/morning-shift-american-art-form-paris-110133 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Jazz photo for 5-5 Flickr pedrosimoes7.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>We mark Teacher Appreciate Week with NEA head Dennis Van Roekel. We take a look at the race for Congress in the 10th Congressional District which includes an attempt at a comeback. And, we celebrate jazz in Paris.&nbsp;</p><div class="storify"><iframe src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-an-american-art-form-in-paris/embed?header=false&border=false" width="100%" height=750 frameborder=no allowtransparency=true></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-an-american-art-form-in-paris.js?header=false&border=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-an-american-art-form-in-paris" target="_blank">View the story "Morning Shift: An American art form in Paris" on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Mon, 05 May 2014 10:13:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2014-05-05/morning-shift-american-art-form-paris-110133 Morning Shift: The music of the '20s comes roaring back http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-10-18/morning-shift-music-20s-comes-roaring-back-108960 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/victrolas Flickr Janice Pallas.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Professor Stewart Friedman explains why more college grads are less likely to start families right away. IDOT&#39;s Ann Schneider reacts to Thursday&#39;s vote on the proposed Illiana toll road. And, The Fat Babies hit on all sixes with the swinging sounds of the jazz age. (Photo: Flickr/Janice Pallas)</p><div class="storify"><iframe allowtransparency="true" frameborder="no" height="750" src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-the-music-of-the-twenties-comes-roar/embed?header=false" width="100%"></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-the-music-of-the-twenties-comes-roar.js?header=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-the-music-of-the-twenties-comes-roar" target="_blank">View the story "Morning Shift: The music of the '20s comes roaring back" on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Fri, 18 Oct 2013 08:27:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-10-18/morning-shift-music-20s-comes-roaring-back-108960 Jazz legend Jack DeJohnette returns to Chicago http://www.wbez.org/blogs/alison-cuddy/2013-08/jazz-legend-jack-dejohnette-returns-chicago-108558 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/2044758285_e3d7203cd0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p dir="ltr" id="docs-internal-guid-1a876bfa-ca8c-cebe-1f35-a6a8dcd283cb">Born on the South Side, educated at what was then called the Chicago Vocational High School, <a href="http://www.jackdejohnette.com/">Jack DeJohnette</a> went on to become one of the greatest drummers in jazz history.</p><p dir="ltr">Now he&rsquo;s back in his hometown, to kick off the <a href="http://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/dca/supp_info/chicago_jazz_festival.html">35th Chicago Jazz Festival.</a></p><p dir="ltr">Thursday night DeJohnette will play alongside a group of Chicago musicians who helped form his sound: Muhal Richard Abrams, Larry Gray, Roscoe Mitchell and Henry Threadgill.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;Special Legends Edition Chicago&rdquo; is the name of the concert, as well as a reference to a group/musicial project DeJohnette started back in the seventies.</p><p dir="ltr">But the gathering is also a nod to the <a href="http://aacmchicago.org/">Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians </a>or AACM. Abrams, Mitchell and Threadgill are members, and DeJohnette says the physical and experimental space they carved out in Chicago is what prepared him for &ldquo;the world stage of music.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">DeJohnette&rsquo;s presence on that stage is enormous. After moving to New York City in the 1960s, he played with most of the jazz giants: John Coltrane, Thelonius Monk, Miles Davis, Freddie Hubbard, Stan Getz and more.</p><p dir="ltr">In addition to his own extensive discography, DeJohnette appears on two game-changing jazz albums: <em>Forest Flowers</em>, performed live at the 1966 Montreux Jazz Festival by the Charles Lloyd quartet, and <em>Bitches Brew</em>, the 1970 album by Miles Davis.</p><p dir="ltr">DeJohnette says though he wanted to &ldquo;be the best he could be,&rdquo; he never imagined he&rsquo;d wind up in the company of musicians he revered.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;Even today I still pinch myself and say wow,&rdquo; DeJohnette said, &ldquo;I played with these people!&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">When I spoke with DeJohnette, he was on his way to a nine hour rehearsal for Thursday&rsquo;s show. If that sounds like a rough schedule, the drummer says he got used to long days in Chicago.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;We used to play until four in the morning and then they used to have what they called the &lsquo;breakfast jam&rsquo;,&rdquo; DeJohnette recalled. &ldquo;Guys would get up at 6:30 or 7 a.m. and play until two, three in the afternoon. I was playing music non-stop.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">DeJohnette started out on the piano but made the switch to drumming in high school. He says it was Chicago musician Eddie Harris who convinced him to stick with it. Harris thought he was a &ldquo;natural&rdquo; on the drums.</p><p dir="ltr">In his time, DeJohnette says there were plenty of places to play jazz in the city, whether a fellow musician&rsquo;s house or the Jazz Showcase or Lincoln Center, the AACM space on 39th Street. And though his focus was on improvised music and composition, DeJohnette says he didn&rsquo;t limit himself.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;I played blues, folk music and standards. I had quartets and quintets, backed up singers,&rdquo; DeJohnette said. &ldquo;So I had a broad spectrum of music I immersed myself in.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Last year DeJohnette was awarded the prestigous Jazz Masters Fellowship by the National Endowment for the Arts. At the age of 71, he continues to play in his long-standing trio with Keith Jarrett and Gary Peacock, and record with emerging jazz musicians.</p><p dir="ltr">Likewise, DeJohnette thinks Chicago is still a vital place for jazz, pointing to the efforts of musicians like Mike Reed, who recently opened the performing venue Constellation.</p><p dir="ltr">And though it&rsquo;s been awhile since he&rsquo;s played with the musicians joining him at the festival, DeJohnette says it will all be fine.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;That&rsquo;s the beauty of music,&rdquo; DeJohnette said. &ldquo;You can talk and talk and talk about it. But when you sit down and play it, it&rsquo;s beyond description.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr"><em>&ldquo;Special Legends Edition Chicago&rdquo; takes place Aug. 29 at 6:30 p.m. at the Pritzker Pavillion in Millennium Park. The Chicago Jazz Festival runs through Sept. 2. </em></p><p dir="ltr"><em>Be sure to join Richard Steele Aug. 30 at 2:30 p.m. as he helps inaugurate the Von Freeman Pavillion south of the Cloudgate sculpture.</em></p><p dir="ltr"><em>Alison Cuddy is WBEZ&rsquo;s Arts and Culture reporter and co-host of <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/wbezs-changing-channels/id669715774?mt=2">Changing Channels,</a> a podcast about the future of television. Follow her on<a href="https://twitter.com/wbezacuddy"> Twitter</a>,<a href="https://www.facebook.com/cuddyalison?ref=tn_tnmn"> Facebook</a> and<a href="http://instagram.com/cuddyreport"> Instagram</a></em></p></p> Thu, 29 Aug 2013 09:46:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/alison-cuddy/2013-08/jazz-legend-jack-dejohnette-returns-chicago-108558 Morning Shift: Health care, CPS and music http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-07-22/morning-shift-health-care-cps-and-music-108131 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Doctor-Flickr- caroline_1.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Host Tony Sarabia is back, and we talk about the recent CPS layoffs and how they may effect the education system? And with National Health Care on the horizon, we are taking a look at preventive care and its effect on our overwhelmed emergency care services.</p><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-28.js?header=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-28" target="_blank">View the story "Morning Shift: Health care, CPS and music" on Storify</a>]</noscript></p> Mon, 22 Jul 2013 08:19:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-07-22/morning-shift-health-care-cps-and-music-108131 Chicago’s South Shore Jazz Festival canceled http://www.wbez.org/blogs/alison-cuddy/2013-07/chicago%E2%80%99s-south-shore-jazz-festival-canceled-108057 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/3547441641_a6dac7d9bc_z.jpg" alt="" /><p><p dir="ltr"><em>Updated 9 p.m.</em></p><p dir="ltr">The South Shore Jazz Festival, a long-standing summer tradition in Chicago&rsquo;s cultural scene, has been canceled.</p><p>The festival was founded in 1981 by <a href="http://www.thehistorymakers.com/biography/geraldine-de-haas-38">Geraldine de Haas</a>, a former singer and one of Chicago&rsquo;s most tireless jazz advocates.</p><p>De Haas modeled her lakeside festival on the famous Newport Jazz Festival. And she did attract some big stars, from Count Basie to Diane Reeves.</p><p>But for years, the festival has struggled to raise money. In fact it was almost canceled last year until DuSable Museum of African American History President and long-time festival supporter Carol Adams <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/music/chi-south-shore-jazz-festival-20120712,0,1206153.column">stepped in</a> at the last minute.</p><p dir="ltr">De Haas, who retired recently, handed the operation of the festival over to <a href="http://www.jazzunitesinc.org/">Jazz Unites</a>, a civic group she also founded. She said this year the new organizers were waiting to get their application approved from the Chicago Park District.</p><p>&ldquo;They&rsquo;ve only had since June to pull it together because that&rsquo;s when the park district said you have the right to do it,&rdquo; de Haas said. &ldquo;But June is not long enough. They have to raise at least $100,000.&rdquo;</p><p>A spokesperson for the park district confirmed that Jazz Unites was given official notice of approval on June 24, &quot;though as a returning event the group was informed months ago that partnership approval was very likely.&quot;</p><p>The Park District said it plans to work closely with Jazz Unites to bring back the festival in 2014.</p><p>Meanwhile, Delmarie Cobb, who is acting as a consultant to the festival (Cobb was also involved with the festival in the mid-2000s) said they&rsquo;re already reaching out to the park district now to secure the site for 2014.</p><p>The delay this year is actually in keeping with de Haas&rsquo; wishes. She said she wanted the new group to wait a year before re-launching the festival so they could &ldquo;do it right.&rdquo; She&rsquo;s confident the show will eventually go on.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s one of the prides of the city,&rdquo; said de Haas. &ldquo;But it&rsquo;s definitely the pride of the South Side of Chicago.&rdquo;</p><p>And as a parting gift to de Haas and her husband (a noted jazz performer himself), who are moving to New Jersey, the festival organizers have renamed the festival in their honor.</p><div><span id="docs-internal-guid-4efdcd4d-e455-d01c-d936-7e561f148e22"><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Arial; font-style: italic; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Alison Cuddy is WBEZ&rsquo;s Arts and Culture reporter and co-host of </span><a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/wbezs-changing-channels/id669715774?mt=2" style="text-decoration:none;"><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(17, 85, 204); font-style: italic; text-decoration: underline; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Changing Channels,</span></a><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Arial; font-style: italic; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;"> a podcast about the future of television. Follow her on</span><a href="https://twitter.com/wbezacuddy" style="text-decoration:none;"><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-style: italic; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;"> </span><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(17, 85, 204); font-style: italic; text-decoration: underline; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Twitter</span></a><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Arial; font-style: italic; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">,</span><a href="https://www.facebook.com/cuddyalison?ref=tn_tnmn" style="text-decoration:none;"><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-style: italic; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;"> </span><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(17, 85, 204); font-style: italic; text-decoration: underline; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Facebook</span></a><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Arial; font-style: italic; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;"> and</span><a href="http://instagram.com/cuddyreport" style="text-decoration:none;"><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-style: italic; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;"> </span><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(17, 85, 204); font-style: italic; text-decoration: underline; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Instagram</span></a></span></div></p> Mon, 15 Jul 2013 16:53:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/alison-cuddy/2013-07/chicago%E2%80%99s-south-shore-jazz-festival-canceled-108057 Constellation: A new venue for music and other performing arts http://www.wbez.org/blogs/alison-cuddy/2013-04/constellation-new-venue-music-and-other-performing-arts-106402 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/links hall.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Wrigleyville has dedicated itself to nurturing the pursuits and expressions of &quot;&#39;bro culture&quot; like no other neighborhood in Chicago.</p><p>Wandering along Clark Street between Belmont and Addison Avenues on a weekend (or during a Cubs home stand) is like entering their personal pleasure dome, a place where men sporting backwards baseball caps and pastel golf shirts stage elaborate performances: Alienated sports fan, existential beer chugger, street fighter.</p><p>So I&#39;ve always found it pleasing that the neighborhood has proven a shelter for two very different communities: the practitioners of women&#39;s health, and performing artists.</p><p>No more though. After 35 years sharing the second story of the Link&#39;s-Hall Building at the corners of Sheffield, Clark and Newport, both the <a href="http://chicagowomenshealthcenter.org/">Women&#39;s Health Center </a>and performance venue <a href="http://www.members.linkshall.org/Default.aspx">Links Hall</a> are <a href="http://www.linkshall.org/Space/GoodbyeOldLinks/tabid/200/Default.aspx">relocating</a>.</p><p>Though it has been raising money and looking for a new space for some time, Women&#39;s Health Center hasn&#39;t yet made an announcement about new digs. But Links Hall has not only landed, in many ways it has found a new lease on life.</p><p>Their new home is the former Viaduct Theatre at Belmont and Western, now known as <a href="http://www.constellation-chicago.com/event/247849-source-family-chicago/">Constellation</a>.</p><p>There Links Hall, under the direction of Roell Schmidt, will be both the primary tenant and partner in a <a href="http://linkshall.org/Space/NewHomeForLinks/tabid/197/Default.aspx">&quot;collaborative arts venue&quot;</a> with jazz musician and music presenter <a href="http://www.mikereedmusic.com/thinkingoutloud.cfm">Mike Reed.</a></p><p>In fact tonight Links will kick Constellation into existence with its show&nbsp;<a href="http://members.linkshall.org/Performances/April/tabid/174/Default.aspx#aprilfraction"><em>Fraction: Dance in Progress</em>.</a></p><p><em>Fraction,</em> in keeping with Link&#39;s mission to present established and emerging performers, is kind of a dance &quot;open house&quot;. The program features a&nbsp;series of works-in-progress by an array of performers, including 7th and 8th grade Near North Montessori School students, a couple of flamenco artists, and Philip Elson, a member of local dance troupe The Seldoms. There&#39;ll also be opportunity for audiences to talk with the artists and provide feedback on their work.</p><p>But <em>Fraction </em>also represents what&#39;s exciting about Constellation overall.</p><p>Though many of the venue&#39;s shows will reflect Reed&#39;s experiences in the world of improvised music (he performs in a seemingly endless number of &nbsp;ensembles and leads two jazz groups of his own),&nbsp;this is also a space for all kinds of performers, including dancers, filmmakers, and pop musicians.</p><p>Variety has truly been the hallmark of Reed&#39;s presenting style, whether at the Chicago Jazz Festival, the Pitchfork Music Festival or, for the past two years, the Brilliant Corners of Popular Amusement, a curious but satisfying mix of music performers, circus acts and stand-up comedians. That he&#39;s hired <a href="http://michaelslaboch.com/home.html">Michael Slaboch</a>, former talent buyer at The Hideout, to program Constellation, signals a continuing commitment to eclecticism.</p><p>Already there is an emphasis on collaboration across performing arts.&nbsp;This coming Sunday, Links Hall dancers will improvise alongside Dutch experimental musician Hans Bennink and other members of ICP (Instant Composers Pool). On April 18th CIMM (the Chicago International Music and Movies Festival) will host an evening with works from both musician Van Dyke Parks and his son filmmaker Richard Parks.</p><p>Constellation is also forging into less familiar musical territory with a weekly series showcasing Chicago&#39;s burgeoning new or contemporary classical music scene.</p><p>Curated by <a href="http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/ArticleArchives?author=847392">Peter Margasak of The Chicago Reader</a> (and a regular contributor to&nbsp;WBEZ&#39;s Friday night music show <em>Radio M</em>), the series will focus mainly on local ensembles. Already in the works are performances from members of <a href="http://www.eighthblackbird.org/">Eighth Blackbird</a>, <a href="http://iceorg.org/">International Contemporary Ensemble</a>, and <a href="http://dalniente.com/">Ensemble Dal Niente</a>.</p><p>Though it&#39;s possible to see contemporary classical music on a fairly regular basis in the city, until now, said Margasak, they &quot;haven&#39;t had a center of action.&quot; He&#39;s also hoping the series will provide them with some much-needed &quot;infrastructure&quot;.</p><p>&quot;Normally these groups have to rent spaces and equipment to perform,&quot; said Margasak. &quot;This basically gets rid of a lot of their overhead. Constellation has a real piano, a real sound system, a screen if they want to do multimedia stuff.&quot;</p><p>Long term, Margasak&#39;s ambition is to increase the profile of Chicago&#39;s new music performers and composers on their home turf. As with many local jazz artists, contemporary classical musicians have frequently found more acclaim the further they get from Chicago.</p><p>And though certain groups, like ICE, Fulcrum Point and Fifth House Ensemble have been music stalwarts in the city for some time now, performing in venues from the Adler Planetarium to small art galleries, Margasak thinks featuring them at Constellation, with its cross-section of performance genres and styles, will help &quot;demystify&quot; or make the music come across as &quot;less hoity-toity&quot;.</p><p>Chicago&#39;s music venues have long learned to find space for other performing talents, from poets and writers to talk show hosts and spelling bee contestants. Still, Constellation seems like a different effort to present a whole array of cutting edge events, in a space and manner audiences will still find accessible.</p><p>You can judge for yourself when the venue opens its doors tonight. Meanwhile, Margasak will launch his new music series, known as &quot;Frequency&quot;, with a free open house on April 27th. He&#39;s featuring groups that represent both the composed (Ensemble Dal Niente) and improvised (modular synth group <a href="http://www.brianlabycz.com/thegreenpasturehappiness.html">The Green Pasture Happiness</a> led by Brian Labycz) sides of the new music scene.</p><p><em>Constellation is located at 3111 N. Western Avenue.</em></p><p><em>Alison Cuddy is WBEZ&#39;s Arts and Culture reporter. You can follow her on twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/wbezacuddy">@wbezacuddy</a>, <a href="http://instagram.com/cuddyreport">Instagram</a> and <a href="https://www.facebook.com/cuddyalison?ref=tn_tnmn">Facebook</a>.</em></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Mon, 01 Apr 2013 06:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/alison-cuddy/2013-04/constellation-new-venue-music-and-other-performing-arts-106402 Jazz composer, pianist Dave Brubeck dies http://www.wbez.org/news/jazz-composer-pianist-dave-brubeck-dies-104208 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/AP810823016.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>HARTFORD, Conn.&nbsp; &mdash; Jazz composer and pianist Dave Brubeck, whose pioneering style in pieces such as &quot;Take Five&quot; caught listeners&#39; ears with exotic, challenging rhythms, has died. He was 91.</p><p>Brubeck died Wednesday morning at Norwalk Hospital of heart failure after being stricken while on his way to a cardiology appointment with his son Darius, said his manager Russell Gloyd. Brubeck would have turned 92 on Thursday.</p><p>Brubeck had a career that spanned almost all American jazz since World War II. He formed The Dave Brubeck Quartet in 1951 and was the first modern jazz musician to be pictured on the cover of Time magazine &mdash; on Nov. 8, 1954 &mdash; and he helped define the swinging, smoky rhythms of 1950s and &#39;60s club jazz.</p><p>The seminal album &quot;Time Out,&quot; released by the quartet in 1959, was the first ever million-selling jazz LP, and is still among the best-selling jazz albums of all time. It opens with &quot;Blue Rondo a la Turk&quot; in 9/8 time &mdash; nine beats to the measure instead of the customary two, three or four beats.</p><p>A piano-and-saxophone whirlwind based loosely on a Mozart piece, &quot;Blue Rondo&quot; eventually intercuts between Brubeck&#39;s piano and a more traditional 4/4 jazz rhythm.</p><p>The album also features &quot;Take Five&quot; &mdash; in 5/4 time &mdash; which became the Quartet&#39;s signature theme and even made the Billboard singles chart in 1961. It was composed by Brubeck&#39;s longtime saxophonist, Paul Desmond.</p><p>&quot;When you start out with goals &mdash; mine were to play polytonally and polyrhythmically &mdash; you never exhaust that,&quot; Brubeck told The Associated Press in 1995. &quot;I started doing that in the 1940s. It&#39;s still a challenge to discover what can be done with just those two elements.&quot;</p><p>After service in World War II and study at Mills College in Oakland, Calif., Brubeck formed an octet including Desmond on alto sax and Dave van Kreidt on tenor, Cal Tjader on drums and Bill Smith on clarinet. The group played Brubeck originals and standards by other composers, including some early experimentation in unusual time signatures. Their groundbreaking album &quot;Dave Brubeck Octet&quot; was recorded in 1946.</p><p>The group evolved into the Quartet, which played colleges and universities. The Quartet&#39;s first album, &quot;Jazz at Oberlin,&quot; was recorded live at Oberlin College in Ohio in 1953.</p><p>Ten years later, Joe Morello on drums and Eugene Wright on bass joined with Brubeck and Desmond to produce &quot;Time Out.&quot;</p><p>In later years Brubeck composed music for operas, ballet, even a contemporary Mass.</p><p>In 1988, he played for Mikhail Gorbachev, at a dinner in Moscow that then-President Ronald Reagan hosted for the Soviet leader.</p><p>&quot;I can&#39;t understand Russian, but I can understand body language,&quot; said Brubeck, after seeing the general secretary tapping his foot.</p><p>In the late 1980s, Brubeck contributed music for one episode of an eight-part series of television specials, &quot;This Is America, Charlie Brown.&quot;</p><p>His music was for an episode involving NASA and the space station. He worked with three of his sons &mdash; Chris on bass trombone and electric bass, Dan on drums and Matthew on cello &mdash; and included excerpts from his Mass &quot;To Hope! A Celebration,&quot; his oratorio &quot;A Light in the Wilderness,&quot; and a piece he had composed but never recorded, &quot;Quiet As the Moon.&quot;</p><p>&quot;That&#39;s the beauty of music,&quot; he told the AP in 1992. &quot;You can take a theme from a Bach sacred chorale and improvise. It doesn&#39;t make any difference where the theme comes from; the treatment of it can be jazz.&quot;</p><p>In 2006, the University of Notre Dame gave Brubeck its Laetare Medal, awarded each year to a Roman Catholic &quot;whose genius has ennobled the arts and sciences, illustrated the ideals of the church and enriched the heritage of humanity.&quot;</p><p>At the age of 88, in 2009, Brubeck was still touring, in spite of a viral infection that threatened his heart and made him miss an April show at his alma mater, the University of the Pacific.</p><p>By June, though, he was playing in Chicago, where the Tribune critic wrote that &quot;Brubeck was coaxing from the piano a high lyricism more typically encountered in the music of Chopin.&quot;</p><p>In 1996, he won a lifetime achievement award from the Grammys and in 2009 he was a Kennedy Center Honors recipient.</p><p>Brubeck told the AP the Kennedy Center award would have delighted his late mother, Elizabeth Ivey Brubeck, a classical pianist who was initially disappointed by her youngest son&#39;s interest in jazz. (He added that she had lived long enough to come to appreciate his music.)</p><p>Numerous jazz musicians were already on their way to Connecticut this week for a birthday concert in his Brubeck&#39;s honor that had been scheduled for Thursday in Waterbury. The show will go on as a tribute concert. Darius, an acclaimed pianist, was among those scheduled to perform along with saxophonist Richie Cannata, and Bernie Williams, former New York Yankees star and a jazz guitarist.</p><p>Born in Concord, Calif., on Dec. 6, 1920, Brubeck actually had planned to become a rancher like his father. He attended the College of the Pacific (now the University of the Pacific) in 1938, intending to major in veterinary medicine and return to the family&#39;s 45,000-acre spread.</p><p>But within a year Brubeck was drawn to music. He graduated in 1942 and was drafted by the Army, where he served &mdash; mostly as a musician &mdash; under Gen. George S. Patton in Europe. At the time, his Wolfpack Band was the only racially integrated unit in the military.</p><p>In an interview for Ken Burns&#39; PBS miniseries &quot;Jazz,&quot; Brubeck talked about playing for troops with his integrated band, only to return to the U.S. to see his black bandmates refused service in a restaurant in Texas.</p><p>Brubeck and his wife, Iola, had five sons and a daughter. Four of his sons &mdash; Chris on trombone and electric bass, Dan on drums, Darius on keyboards and Matthew on cello &mdash; played with the London Symphony Orchestra in a birthday tribute to Brubeck in December 2000.</p><p>&quot;We never had a rift,&quot; Chris Brubeck once said of living and playing with his father. &quot;I think music has always been a good communication tool, so we didn&#39;t have a rift. We&#39;ve always had music in common.&quot;</p></p> Wed, 05 Dec 2012 12:44:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/jazz-composer-pianist-dave-brubeck-dies-104208 Chicago jazz is music to Polish ears http://www.wbez.org/blogs/alison-cuddy/2012-11/chicago-jazz-music-polish-ears-103908 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Made-in-Chicago-2012-poznan-concerts-culture-events-entertainment-Festivals_51561.jpg" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" title="(Courtesy Made in Chicago)" /></div><p>Last week, as many of you tucked into your annual helping of turkey &lsquo;n sides, I, along with some residents of Poznan, Poland, was digging into very different fare: Chicago jazz.</p><p>For the past seven years, this small, picturesque city in western Poland has hosted&nbsp;<em><a href="http://www.inyourpocket.com/poland/poznan/concerts-culture-events-entertainment/Festivals/Made-in-Chicago-2012_108591v">Made in Chicago</a>,&nbsp;</em>a four-day festival exclusively dedicated&nbsp;to our city&#39;s avant garde and traditional jazz scene. The gathering&nbsp;is the work of Wojciech&nbsp;Juszczak, of the arts organization <a href="http://www.estrada.poznan.pl/">Estrada Poznanska</a>, in collaboration with Lauren Deutsch of the Jazz Institute of Chicago.</p><p>This year&rsquo;s program included a number of Chicago&rsquo;s younger improvising stars, including <a href="http://tomekareid.com/">cellist Tomeka Reid</a>, saxophonist Dave Rempis (who, along with bass player Joshua Abrams, form the ARR Trio) and <a href="http://jasonadasiewicz.com/">vibraphonist Jason Adaciewiz</a> (who brought his Sun Rooms trio and played with Mike Reed and others in <a href="http://www.cuneiformrecords.com/bandshtml/livingbylanterns.html">Living by Lanterns</a>). They were joined by stalwarts of Chicago&rsquo;s scene, including <a href="http://kenchaney.webs.com/">Ken Chaney</a>, who recently reprised his &#39;70s jazz-soul outfit The Awakening.</p><p>Juszczak discovered the &quot;Chicago sound&quot; when Poland was still behind the Iron Curtain. He said it was &ldquo;incredibly expensive&rdquo; to get jazz records from the United States, but &ldquo;somebody somehow got one LP and we exchanged the music on tape.&rdquo; For some Polish music lovers, jazz, especially free jazz, represented freedom.&nbsp;</p><p>Despite the logistical and political obstacles Juszczak faced, Deutsch said her collaborator now knows the history of Chicago&rsquo;s jazz scene far better than many locals, including the smallest details &mdash; like where Von Freeman went to high school.</p><p>Juszczak&nbsp;said he was drawn to Chicago&rsquo;s jazz scene in particular because of the way its music is &ldquo;rooted in community,&rdquo; in which experimental and more mainstream musicians don&rsquo;t exist apart from one another, but exchange ideas and play together in one scene. He contrasted our city&rsquo;s scene with that of New York&rsquo;s, which he finds more &quot;snobby.&quot; &nbsp;</p><p>In New York, it&#39;s &quot;more about money and careers,&quot; Juszczak said.&nbsp;</p><p>Though a European music festival dedicated to the players of one jazz community may seem unorthodox, even narrow-minded, Juszczak said the creativity and depth of Chicago&rsquo;s musicians keeps it fresh. And, audiences seem to welcome the experience. Thousands of people come every year, from within Poland and other parts of Europe. Perhaps that&rsquo;s because the festival offers the opportunity for annual discovery akin to Juszczak&rsquo;s original forays into Chicago jazz. Every year he and Deutsch try to present &ldquo;non-obvious&rdquo; jazz stars and new ensembles, so that the audiences, right alongside the festival&rsquo;s programmers, experience new groups and new music for the first time. One highlight for Juszczak was the 2006 premiere of <a href="http://nicolemitchell.com/">flutist Nicole Mitchell</a>&rsquo;s&nbsp;<em>Harambee Suite.&nbsp;</em>Deutstch added that the festival has helped launch the careers of some of Chicago&#39;s musicians, by allowing them to play in front of a discerning&nbsp;international crowd.</p><p>The festival ran Thursday through Sunday, and this year included opportunities for Polish and Chicago musicians to workshop techniques and ideas together. Don&#39;t tell, but a few New York musicians (all long-time Chicago&nbsp;collaborators) snuck into the mix, too. The concerts culminated with&nbsp;<em>Blowin&rsquo; in from Chicago,</em>&nbsp;an all-star &ldquo;re-imagining&rdquo; of the famous 1957 Blue Note recording with the then very young Chicago tenor saxophonists John Gilmore and Clifford Jordan (Edward Wilkerson Jr. and Ari Brown did the honors in Poznan).</p><p>But no rest for the European arts presenter: Juszczak is already off to presenting his next event, a festival of baroque music. In fact, when I asked him to name a favourite musician, he opted for J. S. Bach over and above his beloved Chicago jazz cats!</p><p>To find out more about this year&rsquo;s festival, tune into&nbsp;<em>Worldview&nbsp;</em>at noon on Monday; I&rsquo;ll be joining Jerome live to re-cap the event.</p></p> Mon, 26 Nov 2012 10:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/alison-cuddy/2012-11/chicago-jazz-music-polish-ears-103908 Chicago musician Jon Weber retools 'Piano Jazz' http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2012-01-19/chicago-musician-jon-weber-retools-piano-jazz-95647 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2012-January/2012-01-19/JonThroughPiano.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>For years, Chicagoans could hear world-class musician <a href="http://www.jonwebermusic.com/">Jon Weber</a> just by stepping into the lounge at Chicago’s Four Seasons Hotel. Now, people all over the country will be able to hear Weber as he steps into Marion McPartland’s roll as host of the syndicated radio program <a href="http://www.scetv.org/index.php/piano_jazz_rising_stars/information/program_descriptions" target="_blank"><em>Piano Jazz</em></a>. Actually, the show--and its name, is being tweaked just a bit. Weber recently sat down with WBEZ’s Richard Steele to talk about his musical journey, which he said began as a kid in Milwaukee.&nbsp;</p></p> Thu, 19 Jan 2012 15:35:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2012-01-19/chicago-musician-jon-weber-retools-piano-jazz-95647 Jazz pianist Reginald R. Robinson keeps a 'song in his soul' http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-11-02/jazz-pianist-reginald-r-robinson-keeps-song-his-soul-93683 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-November/2011-11-02/reginald robinson.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Not every production boasts a certified MacArthur genius as an accompanist. But trust the Old Town School of Folk Music to know a musical talent when they see one.</p><p><a href="http://www.reginaldrrobinson.com/">Jazz pianist and composer Reginald R. Robinson</a>, 39, plays piano and contributes a few of his own neo-ragtime compositions to the school’s first excursion into theater, <a href="http://www.oldtownschool.org/"><em>Keep a Song in Your Soul: The Black Roots of Vaudeville</em>. </a>Opening tomorrow and running just through Sunday, the piece is set during the Great Migration, 1910-1930, and looks to be a hand-clapping, foot-stomping good time.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-November/2011-11-02/reginald robinson.jpg" style="width: 500px; height: 336px;" title=""></p><p>When Robinson got the $500,000 award, in 2004, he was flat broke and considering quitting the business. A Chicago native, he’d grown up too poor to afford music lessons. He dropped out of school at 15 to teach himself to play piano—a decision aided by his new neighborhood and high school in the Back of the Yards.</p><p>“I was sort of pushed,” Robinson says. “I could stay in school at that point and risk getting shot or jumped on. There was a lot of bad things happening in the school, in the area. And I was like, ‘Do I wanna continue to go through this? Or do I want to stay home?’” Sounds like a no-brainer, though quitting school isn’t usually the best way to pursue a career.</p><p>“My parents strongly objected to me leaving school,” says Robinson. “You know, they were typical caring parents: they did not want me to drop out. But I’d be getting to school late, and all kinds of stuff…. So I stayed home and mastered the music I wanted to play for the rest of my life.”</p><p>“I didn’t realize it would turn into anything like this. I just went along, doing the music, and one thing led to another.”</p><p>When Robinson went back to school to get his GED in 1992, some of the faculty noticed him writing down music in the hallway. One of them, musician Mac Olsen, invited Robinson to meet his piano teacher, who worked in a violin shop that hosted a jam session every Saturday. One day when Robinson was there, horn player Ira Sullivan came in.</p><p>“I couldn’t sit in with the other guys,” says Robinson, “cuz they were reading from charts. So I sat and listened, and after they finished, after about an hour and a half, I got up there and played some solo piano—‘Maple Leaf Rag’ and one of my own pieces, ‘Good Times Rag.’ And Ira Sullivan was like, wow. He said, ‘I know ‘Maple Leaf,’ but what’s that other piece? Is that Scott Joplin?’”</p><p>Sullivan introduced him to stride pianist Jon Weber, who paid for Robinson’s first demo and introduced him to Delmark’s Bob Koester. Robinson’s <em>The Strongman</em> came out in 1993; two other albums on Delmark followed. But sales weren’t great. The MacArthur grant enabled Robinson to self-produce <em>Man Out of Time</em> in 2007, made up of pieces he’d composed over the preceding decade; <em>Reflections</em> came out in 2010.</p><p>Asked whether the MacArthur award inspired him, Robinson says, “It confirmed what I knew, that my music was worth something. From that, receiving the award, things became easier. It’s like a magic carpet—it helps you go into places that you wouldn’t normally be able to go.”</p><p>Fortunately, being a bona fide genius hasn’t gone to his head.</p><p>The award, Robinson says, “is like the song, ‘Keep a Song in Your Soul.’ It’s about remembering where you come from. And it’s about the music. It wasn’t about the title. Nobody called me a genius before I got the award. I told myself I was a genius—in the privacy of my own room. ‘Hey, this is a good idea!’ I’d say it in a joking way. ‘This is perfect! Man, I like this!’”</p><p>“It was always about the music. Through it all, that’s what kept me going. Whether it’s good times or bad times, always writing music. My story before the MacArthur: it was music!”</p><p>Directed by Andrea J. Dymond, <em>Keep a Song in Your Soul</em> is a collaboration between Robinson, Grammy-winning string band the Carolina Chocolate Drops, and Chicago choreographer Reggio “The Hoofer” McLaughlin, all of whom also perform.</p></p> Wed, 02 Nov 2011 13:58:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-11-02/jazz-pianist-reginald-r-robinson-keeps-song-his-soul-93683