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Chicago jazz drummer Frank Rosaly gets in touch with his Puerto Rican roots


Frank Rosaly is known around Chicago as a phenomenally talented and prolific jazz drummer –he plays in 26 different music ensembles. Rosaly is best known for playing and composing improvised or avant garde jazz music, with occasional forays into rock and other genres. But in his most recent musical research he's venturing into entirely new terrain – his Puerto Rican roots.

Rosaly's parents are both Puerto Rican, but he grew up in Phoenix, Ariz., where he says he was "Americanized" by his family. He'd visit the island as a child but was shy about not speaking Spanish. When he was 11 his parents divorced and he began spending summers with his father in and around San Juan.

Rosaly's Puerto Rican explorations will be most fully on display this August, when he performs at the Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park, with his new ensemble ¡Todos de Pie! – part of the Made in Chicago jazz series.

You can catch a glimpse of these efforts every Tuesday night in June at The Whistler on Milwaukee Avenue in Logan Square. Rosaly just this week kicked off a month-long residency in the Whistler's Relax Attack Jazz Series.

Rosaly's group Bootstrap - bassist Nathan McBride, whirlitzer Jim Baker and saxophonist Mars Williams - will play what he calls "rebel music," or music that responds in some way to social and political situations. Some of the music will be early Puerto Rican salsa. But they'll also perform music by Bad Brains and others – it's sure to be an interesting mix.

For more on Rosaly's Puerto Rican roots, check out my interview above.

Bootstrap, Whistler Relax Attack Jazz series Tuesdays at 10, 2421 N. Milwaukee Avenue.

¡Todos de Pie!, August 23, Made in Chicago Jazz series. Millennium Park.

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