Chi-Town Jazz Fest plays for a noble cause

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Father John Moulder

Father John Moulder playing the guitar during a show with the Alejo Poreda and Friends at Jazz Showcase in Chicago. (Nuccio DiNuzzo / Chicago Tribune / March 8, 2010)

For more information, visit chitownjazzfestival.org.

Thursday

Tom Matta Big Band, 5:30 p.m.; Eric Schneider Quartet, 7:15 p.m.; Xavier Breaker Coalition, 9 p.m.; Andy Brown Quartet, 10:45 p.m.; Andy's Jazz Club, 11 E. Hubbard St.; $15; 312-642-6805 or andysjazzclub.com.

Friday

Stephanie Browning, 9 p.m.; Marquis Hill Blacktet, 10:30 p.m.; Willie Pickens Band, midnight; Green Mill Jazz Club, 4802 N. Broadway; $15; 773-878-5552 or greenmilljazzclub.com.

Ambrose Akinmusire, 7:30 p.m.; University of Chicago's Logan Center for the Arts, 915 E. 60th St.; $5-$35; raffle drawing is $25 for two Jazz at the Logan subscriptions; 773-702-2787 or ticketsweb.uchicacgo.edu.

Saturday

Laurenzi/Ernst/Green, 9:30 p.m.; Nick Mazzarella Trio, 11 p.m.; Constellation, 3111 N. Western Ave.; $15; constellation-chicago.com.

Steve Rashid and Friends, 7:30 p.m.; Sheil Catholic Center, 2110 Sheridan Rd., Evanston; $10-$25; sheil.northwestern.edu or 847-328-4648.

Sunday

Goran Ivanovic Trio, with Matt Ulery, 7 p.m.; Frank Catalano Band, 8:30 p.m.; Daniel Bruce Trio, 10 p.m.; Martyrs', 3855 N. Lincoln Ave.; 773-404-9494 or martyrslive.com.

Mosaik, 6 p.m.; Garrison/Paliga Octet, 7 p.m.; Tammy McCann and the Reunion Orchestra, 8:30 p.m.; FitzGerald's, 6615 Roosevelt Rd., Berwyn; $15; 708-788-2118 or fitzgeraldsnightclub.com.

Tuesday

Glenbrook South Jazz Lab Band, Jazz Singers and Jazz Ensemble, 7 p.m.; Jeff Lindberg's Chicago Jazz Orchestra, 8:30 p.m.; Jazz Showcase, 806 S. Plymouth Court; $10-$15; 312-360-0234 or jazzshowcase.com.

Pat Metheny Unity Band, 8 p.m. Tuesday; Symphony Center, 220 S. Michigan Ave.; $38-$70; raffle ticket drawing is $25 for two Symphony Center Presents Jazz subscriptions; 312-294-3000 or cso.org.

Vijay Iyer

Pianist Vijay Iyer has been a singular figure in American music for at least the past decade, and he extends and deepens his expressive range with "Mutations," his exceptional first album as bandleader on the ECM label. To say that Iyer produces extraordinarily subtle colors in works for solo piano, piano and electronics, and piano with string quartet understates the lustrous beauty of this music. During the course of two free-standing pieces and a suite of works titled "Mutations I-X," Iyer embraces multiple musical languages, though categorizing his efforts merely as examples of minimalism, expressionism and Impressionism doesn't quite do justice to the sound-scapes he produces.

Some of this work will seem a bit abstract to listeners who hold conventional definitions of jazz, and it will be harmonically familiar to those who follow currents of contemporary classical music. But that's not the point. Iyer has constructed gripping sonic portraits that are at once provocative and accessible, intellectually substantive and sensuously attractive. Moreover, this music stands as practically the antithesis of the galvanic pianism for which Iyer is best known, "Mutations" showing a delicate, shimmering, translucent side of his playing.

Bix Fest

"A Tribute to Bix Beiderbecke" will run Thursday through Sunday at the Marriott Racine, 7111 Washington Ave., Racine, Wis. Traditional bands, film screenings, lectures, record sales and other attractions will crowd the schedule of this annual event. For details, visit bixfest.com or phone 847-996-0246.

To read more from Howard Reich on jazz, go to chicagotribune.com/reich

hreich@tribune.com

Twitter @howardreich

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