There's so much to say... about the Hyde Park Jazz Fest that I almost don't know where to begin....
The Hyde Park Jazz Festival was a delight for the musical soul and spirit with a diverse presentation of Jazz genres and ensembles. The festival spread across the beautiful grounds and architecture of the U of C campus and into its surrounding museums and art spaces. Being at this festival was like going on a Jazz Cruise around Hyde Park to some of its most delightful artistic structures and venues. This year, there were artist vendors and that added a visual dimension to the experience! The admission was free and the whole experience was energizing and life changing.
The stages and venues were intimate and up close and personal... so one could experience the musicians and the music without the pretentiousness of reserved and special seating. That was fun! The venues were all unique and included the Hyde Park, the Little Black Pearl Art & Design Center, the Robie House, The James Wagner Stage at the Midway Plisance, the DuSable Museum, Uof C Mandel hall, the International House and so much more...
Saturday 9/25 @ 12:30 a.m.... I heard some great music at Midnight Jam!
I sat in and played some piano with my cousin and saxophonist Al Smith at the Midnight Jam hosted by Dee Alexander. It was wonderful to be at U of C’s Mandel Hall at 12:30 am playing music to a full house...with some very wonderful musicians!
Some of the other musicians who sat in or played and performed included the host of the Jam session, vocalist, Dee Alexander, along with pianist Miguel de la Cerna...the very intuitive...Bassist Junius Paul, the seasoned and stylish vocalist, June Evon, vocalist, Maggie Brown, bassist, Cecile Savage, young vocalist, Milton Suggs, and a young vibraphonist who was incredibly musical and lyrical with his solos...
It was also great to hear some very young performers like the 10 year... mini-Ella who sang 'Lullabye in Birdland' in a sultry... and dusky voice. She named her vocal influences to be a combination of "Joan Collaso and Mahalia Jackson". She was poised and had "an old soul presence" in her musical presentation. What a treat! The drummer who played with her had to be all of 11 or 12 years old. It was really amazing.... to hear Jazz played by these young ones.
Also, there were some very memorable moments with the upcoming drummer to watch... Kenwood Academy and U of Illinois Champaign alumnus, ...young and on fire!.... drummer, Taylor Moore. She is always on point...To hear more... check her out on you tube. Stay tuned ...and she is from Chicago!
HYDE PARK JAZZ FEST DIARY
Sunday morn... 9/25 @ 12:30 a.m.
Sat in and played some piano with my cousin and saxophonist Al Smith at the Midnight Jam at U of C's Mandel Hall... hosted by Dee Alexander.
Sunday morn.. 9/25 @ 2:oo a.m.:
We headed to Mellow Yellow Restaurant on east 53rd St. to a late , late night after set of Jazz featuring vocal stylist, Jesse Chabonier and some very cool musicians....Al sits in on soprano and alto sax with the ensemble which included Jerome Croswell, Tadeo Garcia, Michael Lough and Adrian Ruiz.
We leave @ 4:30 a.m. after a great... laid back set of Billie Holiday and classic jazz standards.