Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park: Geof Bradfield's “Melba!” at 6:30 p.m. Excerpt from Wadada Leo Smith's “Ten Freedom Summers,” 7:40 p.m. Charles Lloyd Quartet with Bill Frisell, 9 p.m.
Saturday, AUG. 31
Von Freeman Pavilion in Millennium Park: Frank Russell Band, noon. Hamid Drake Quartet with Kidd Jordan, William Parker and Cooper Moore, 1:10 p.m. Ernie Krivda Quartet, 2:20 p.m. Satoko Fujii's Orchestra Chicago, 3:30 p.m.
Jazz and Heritage Pavilion in Millennium Park: Nick Mazzarella Trio, 12:30 p.m. Erin McDougald Quartet, 2 p.m. Chevere de Chicago, 3:30 p.m.
Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park: Stafford James String and Percussion Ensemble featuring M'BOOM, 5 p.m. Gregory Porter, 6:10 p.m. Rudresh Mahanthappa's Gamak, 7:25 p.m. Jason Moran's “Fats Waller Dance Party,” 8:45 p.m.
Sunday, SEPT. 1
Von Freeman Pavilion in Millennium Park: Fast Citizens, noon. Juli Wood Quintet, 1:10 p.m. Evan Christopher, 2:20 p.m. Atomic, 3:30 p.m.
Jazz and Heritage Pavilion in Millennium Park: The Engines, 12:30 p.m. Fareed Haque and Tony Monaco, 2 p.m. Papo Vazquez Mighty Pirates Troubadours, 3:30 p.m.
Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park: Jimmy Heath Quartet with Jeb Patton, 5 p.m. Hamid Drake & Bindu: Reggaeology, 6:10 p.m. Robert Glasper Trio, 7:25 p.m. Donald Harrison and the Congo Square Nation with Willie Pickens, 8:45 p.m.
DePaul students hit the road
The jazz students at DePaul University are about to learn some new lessons, for they'll be celebrating the School of Music's 100th anniversary, as well as this year's Woody Herman centennial, with a good old-fashioned grueling bus tour.
On Wednesday night, the band will take the stage of the Jazz Showcase to kick off its “Time Passes On” tour, named for its recent recording with drummer Jeff Hamilton.
He'll be joining the students at the Showcase and on the bus as they roll to play dates from Chicago to New York and back, with alto saxophone titan Phil Woods joining them at the famed Deer Head Inn, in Delaware Water Gap, Pa., on Saturday.
“They're going to see what it's like to play night after night after night, as opposed to preparing simply for one concert,” says Bob Lark, professor and director of jazz studies at DePaul.
“Most of these students want to be professional performers. If you want to do that, you should see what it's like to be at the top of your game (under travel duress). The people in the audience are not coming to hear a college band. They're coming to hear great music and icons like Jeff Hamilton and Phil Woods.
“There are no excuses.”
Despite the challenges, or perhaps because of them, the students also will have the rare opportunity to sharpen their skills in a way that no classroom, no rehearsal space and no
one-night-only concert can match.
To underwrite the tour, Lark will draw on approximately $21,000 the band has saved up since 1990 from recording royalties, donations and the like. Revenue from this tour and support from the School of Music will make up any additional costs.
And though $21,000 seems like a lot when it has taken 23 years to earn, the expense is minor in relation to the experience the students will receive. Surely an annual tour by the DePaul University Jazz Ensemble would be a welcome development.
“I can't agree more,” Lark says. “If the funds were available, I would love to come up with an excuse to play Chicago, St. Louis and Kansas City. ... There's a wonderful jazz club in Indianapolis (the Jazz Kitchen) and Detroit has a long jazz history.”
If this tour proves successful, can a follow-up really be far off?
The DePaul University Jazz Ensemble launches its tour with drummer Jeff Hamilton, plus guest soloists Thomas Matta and Mark Colby, at 8 and 10 p.m. Wednesday at the Jazz Showcase, 806 S. Plymouth Court; $15-$25; 312-360-0234 or jazzshowcase.com. For details, visit music.depaul.edu/ensembles.
To read more from Howard Reich on jazz, go to chicagotribune.com/reich
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