Festival Review: HYDE PARK

The New York City Jazz Record

By Mark Keresman

When it comes to jazz, Chicago is one of THE American cities, with a vibrant and varied local scene. It also has one of the nation’s great annual festivals, but there’s another, not as well known, deserving attention. The city’s Hyde Park section (home to the University of Chicago) hosts a two-day festival (Sep. 29th-30th) with varied talent of both local (The Chicago Yestet, DJ Sadie Woods, Kenwood Academy Jazz Band directed by Gerald Powell, Mike Reed, Maggie Brown) and national (Kris Davis, Ryan Cohan, Christian Sands) renown…Jazz fans throughout America and beyond: know this festival.

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Hyde Park Jazz Festival 2018

Hyde Park Herald

by Aaron Cohen

When drummer Mike Reed spoke at the Logan Center on Saturday about his new “The City Was Yellow: The Chicago Suite,” he encapsulated the Hyde Park Jazz Festival’s essential spirit. Reed’s recent work represents 30 years of the city’s jazz compositions and he said his goal was to share stories about people and places rather than delve into a singular musical style. The entire day showed how his words resonated throughout the event.

Now in its 12th year, the festival presents an invaluable mix of locally based musicians and national stars. Spread throughout Hyde Park, most of the free Saturday concerts were held on or near the University of Chicago campus. The audiences that lined the Midway and filled the Logan Center’s venues also reflected the diversity among the artists on its dozen stages.

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Artists at Hyde Park Jazz Festival Reflect Generational Connections

DownBeat Magazine

By Michael Jackson

In its 12th year, Chicago’s Hyde Park Jazz Festival presented an almost preposterous amount of quality music on Sept. 29, day one of the two-day event that hosted scores of programs in about a dozen disparate venues.

The day commenced at 1 p.m. with Brandee Younger in the screening room of the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts as she delivered a talk: “Transcendence: A Glimpse Into The Life And Legacy Of Alice Coltrane.” Though Coltrane was a fellow harpist who enthralled Younger as a child when she first heard “Blue Nile,” she also showed a vintage clip of Coltrane playing piano in the manner of her mentor, Bud Powell. Following this detailed appreciation came New York-based writer Nate Chinen, reading excerpts from his latest work, Playing Changes: Jazz For The New Century.

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Midnight Coltrane

South Side Weekly

by Kyle Olesiuk

Ravi Coltrane is laughing at me. Or maybe with me? I can’t say for sure. However he’s laughing, I don’t feel too bad about it. I’ve asked a stupid question.

“How did you pick the band?” He looks around, at each of his bandmates: Brandee Younger, the electric harpist who wrote one of the pieces they performed (the rest were penned by Alice Coltrane); Johnathan Blake, the drummer famous for playing with Omer Avital; and Rashaan Carter, the bassist of Coltrane and Younger’s Alice Coltrane–centered group. You can imagine why he’s laughing. It’s been a long, cold day, and they’ve been working on this show for most of it.

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Hyde Park Jazz Festival review: Animating a neighborhood

Chicago Tribune

by Howard Reich

The 12th annual Hyde Park Jazz Festival was the reason, musicians performing in far-flung venues, from churches to concert halls to the great outdoors.

Music always resonates in Hyde Park, but over the weekend it was practically ubiquitous.

Following is one listener’s diary of some of Saturday’s events, which kicked off two days of stylistically wide-ranging jazz.

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This Weekend’s 2018 Hyde Park Jazz Fest Features Emerging Young Chicago Musicians

Block Club Chicago

by Lee Edwards

HYDE PARK — Returning for its 12th year, the Hyde Park Jazz Festival this weekend gives a platform to the city’s emerging, current and former jazz stars. 

The fest runs from 1 p.m.-midnight Saturday, and from 2-7 p.m. Sunday, with performances at several venues across the neighborhood, including two outdoor stages at Midway Plaisance Park, 1130 Midway Plaisance. 

Headliners at the free fest include Ravi Coltrane, Jason Moran and Dee Alexander. View the entire artist line-up and venues here

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Ravi Coltrane, Jason Moran headline Hyde Park Jazz Festival

Chicago Tribune

by Howard Reich

For jazz lovers, it’s one of the most eagerly anticipated weekends of the year: the Hyde Park Jazz Festival.

As always, the historic neighborhood will come alive with the music, which will play in several venues from 1 p.m. to midnight Saturday and 1 to 9 p.m. Sunday.

Following is a guide to several of the most promising sets. All are free, with the exception of the finale, “Jason Moran: Celebrating Willie Pickens & Muhal Richard Abrams,” 8 p.m. Sunday.

For details, visit www.hydeparkjazzfestival.org.

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The 2018 Hyde Park Jazz Festival celebrates tradition and innovation in its diverse bill

Chicago Reader

by Izzy Yellen

In its 12th year, the Hyde Park Jazz Festival continues to program a diverse lineup of jazz artists. Over the course of the two days, the event will showcase over 30 acts at various venues in Hyde Park while embracing countless styles, traditions, and innovations. Though there are plenty of big names on the bill—including Ravi Coltrane with Brandee Younger, Jason Moran (paying tribute to Willie Pickens and Muhal Richard Abrams), Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah, and Dee Alexander—the fest puts emphasis on giants in niche scenes.

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Mike Reed will unveil 'The City Was Yellow'

Chicago Tribune

by Howard Reich

Last year, the Orchestre National de Jazz in France invited drummer-impresario Mike Reed to compose a suite of pieces dedicated to Chicago, where he’s based.

But Reed — founding director of the Pitchfork Music Festival, creator of the Constellation arts center and managing partner of the Hungry Brain music venue — believed he had a better idea.

“I said, ‘That’s music that’s already been written,’” he explains.

Meaning that there’s already a vast body of repertoire written by Chicagoans for and about the city.

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Bringing Jazz Back to the Alley

South Side Weekly

by Bridget Vaughn and Kyle Oleksiuk

On 73rd Street and Paxton, toward Merrill, at least one hundred people marched: past cars, over puddles, into alleys and across the block. As they marched, they held bundles of herbs in the air, played percussion, danced, and waved flags. This scene was the beginning of the Back Alley Jazz Festival—and the man at the front of the crowd, who rode in a mint-green Pedicab and wore a sash that read “Grand Marshall,” was Jimmy Ellis, a saxophonist who has been playing in Chicago since 1948.

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Saturday Afternoon Backyard Jazz, Just Like the South Side Used to Do

The Chicago Community Trust

by The Chicago Community Trust Staff

By seven o’clock in the evening on a muggy Saturday in July, the backyard of Zenja Vaughn’s house at 7343 S. Paxton was filled to capacity. Visitors brought lawn chairs and coolers, or balanced plates of jerk chicken and ribs from a food truck on their knees as they waited, eyes fixed on the concrete parking pad. Folks who didn’t fit crammed into the alley to watch through the open gate, or peered over the fence from the house next door. The attraction, the headliner of the day’s Back Alley Jazz festival, was vocalist Maggie Brown and her ensemble.

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Ravi Coltrane, Jason Moran to headline Hyde Park Jazz Festival

Chicago Tribune

By Howard Reich

At first glance, the lineup for the 12th annual Hyde Park Jazz Festival suggests a bulging array of styles and musical idioms.

For any event that features singer Dee Alexander and saxophonist Ravi Coltrane, vibraphonist Thaddeus Tukes and the Kenwood Academy Jazz Band, harpist Brandee Younger and pianist and MacArthur Fellow Jason Moran clearly encompasses a wide swath of artistic territory.

But as always with this intelligently programmed festival – which will run Sept. 29-30 at multiple Hyde Park locations – underlying themes and messages will drive the proceedings.

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Learned From Monk: The Hyde Park Jazz Fest celebrates the pianist and composer’s centennial

South Side Weekly

by Bridget Vaughn

In its eleventh year, the Hyde Park Jazz Festival drew large crowds two weekends ago. The free two-day festival offered music lovers ten venues to hear some of the best local, national, and international music on the planet.

On Saturday, the festival paid tribute to and celebrated the one-hundredth birthday of famed jazz pianist and composer Thelonious Monk, who was born on October 10. The fest’s curators brought four perspectives on the life and legacy of Monk, starting with a biographical perspective in the afternoon, and ending with three unique musical interpretations in the evening.

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Hyde Park Jazz Festival 2017

all*about*jazz

by Mark Corrotto

Even though the 11th annual Hyde Park Jazz Festival is on the books and the music is no longer audible, the spirit of the weekend endures. What has become an annual rite and celebration of music, culture, and maybe above, all the spirit of Chicago's South side, is a bucket list experience that you can repeat yearly. The two-day celebration features thirty- five performances at thirteen different venues in and around the University of Chicago campus in Hyde Park. If you do the math, that's sixteen hours of music. Kind of like an ultra-endurance event for the ears.

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Monk Tributes, Innovative Pairings Give Spark to Hyde Park Jazz Fest

DownBeat Magazine

by Michael Jackson

The 11th annual Hyde Park Jazz Festival, populating a dozen varied venues amid the picturesque splendor of the festival’s namesake neighborhood on the South Side of Chicago, proved as stimulating as ever this time around (Sept. 23–24). Programmed for the sixth year by the astute, visionary Kate Dumbleton—and assisted by music manager Carolyn Albritton, managing director Olivia Junell and stalwart new operations manager Dave Rempis, among others—the HPJF is unlike any other festival in its intensity and pace. Its principal hit: an offering of 30 presentations between 1 p.m. and midnight on Sept. 23.

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Review: Hyde Park Jazz Fest animates a neighborhood

Chicago Tribune

by Howard Reich

Two world premieres, one piano colossus, a brilliant look at Thelonious Monk and a couple of vibraphonists swinging hard in a house of worship.

Now that’s a jazz festival — more specifically, the 11th annual Hyde Park Jazz Festival, which ends Sunday.

As always, the event unfolded smoothly, albeit with one surprising misstep: Audience members were allowed to sit on the stairs that form the aisles of the Logan Center Performance Hall, an obvious safety hazard.

Otherwise, though, Chicago’s most appealing jazz festival turned several blocks of Hyde Park into a sprawling musical nexus.

Here’s a diary of Saturday’s highlights:

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Your guide to the Hyde Park Jazz Festival

Chicago Tribune

by Howard Reich

In 2007, when a group of South Side visionaries launched the Hyde Park Jazz Festival, they hoped to bring long overdue attention to a neighborhood rich in jazz history.

“There are so many people in Chicago who simply don’t go south of Roosevelt Road,” James Wagner, one of the co-founders of the festival, told me at the time.

“On the North Side, a lot of people just don’t think of it.”

Since then, the Hyde Park Jazz Festival has become a magnet for thousands of listeners each fall, the 11th annual event featuring Chicago and visiting musicians on several stages this weekend.

Following are one listener’s picks for the most promising sets, the music unfolding at several Hyde Park venues on Saturday and on two outdoor stages on the Midway Plaisance (one named for Wagner, who died in 2009) on Saturday and Sunday. All performances are free; the music plays from 1 p.m. to midnight Saturday and 1 to 7 p.m. Sunday; for more information, visit www.hydeparkjazzfestival.org.

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Clarinetist Ben Goldberg and trumpeter Jeremy Pelt highlight this weekend’s Hyde Park Jazz Festival

Chicago Reader

by Peter Margasak

The 11th annual Hyde Park Jazz Festival kicks off tomorrow with a typically packed schedule of diverse sounds, focusing on some of the city's most important and creative forces while making room for a selective smattering of national and international attractions. In this week's paper I highlighted a couple of duo performances by Nick Mazzarella & Tomeka Reid and Andrew Cyrille & Bill McHenry, but naturally there's much more that's worth your time.

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What to see at the Hyde Park Jazz Festival

Time Out Chicago

by Zach Long

Marking the tail end of summer music festival season (and September's second big jazz-oriented event), the Hyde Park Jazz Festival brings Chicago's best performers and some talented visitors to the South Side neighborhood. Spread out over the course of two days and taking place at various venues, the festival is packed with worthwhile performances, but it can be difficult to decide what to see, even if you frequent Chicago jazz clubs. To make the decision as easy as possible, we've picked our five favorite performances on the Hyde Park Jazz Festival lineup, including a set from local drummer Makaya McCraven and a hotly anticipated collaboration between bandleaders from Chicago and Mali.

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