In future years, he hopes to partner with foreign consulates and other organizations in Chicago to expand the breadth and heft of the festival, but for now it stands as a seasonal rite at the Green Mill.
"I must have brought 20 different acts to (the Mill) over the years from Holland and France and Germany," says Ponticelli.
"When we play the traditional gypsy songs, people are super appreciative of that. Chicago has this culture of Serbian, Bosnian, Yugoslavian, Romanian and other people who are aware of the diversity of cultures that created this music.
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4802 North Broadway, Chicago, IL 60640, USA
806 South Plymouth Court, Chicago, IL 60605, USA
1245 Chicago Avenue, Evanston, IL 60202, USA
1920 West Irving Park Road, Chicago, IL 60613, USA
1043 East 43rd Street, Chicago, IL 60653, USA
"It shows a tolerance people have for one another."
At least when gypsy jazz is playing.
Also worth hearing
Bobby Watson: The Kansas City saxophonist leaves no doubt about the blues spirit of his hometown or the imprint it has made on him, also bringing considerable harmonic sophistication to his work. He'll lead a quartet. 8 and 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 4, 8 and 10 p.m. Sunday; at the Jazz Showcase, 806 S. Plymouth Ct.; $20-$35; 312-360-0234 or jazzshowcase.com
Gary Burton: The eminent vibes virtuoso leads the New Gary Burton Quartet featuring guitarist Julian Lage, bassist Scott Colley and drummer Antonio Sanchez. 7 and 9:30 p.m. Friday at Evanston SPACE, 1245 Chicago Ave., Evanston; 847-492-8860 or evanstonspace.com
Eric Schneider: A seasoned reedist who's stepped in the syntax of swing, Schneider heads the Green Mill Quartet jam session, sharing the stage with pianist Dennis Luxion, bassist Steve Hashimoto, drummer Rick Shandling and visitors who sit in. 1:30 to 4 a.m. Saturday (late Friday night) at the Green Mill Jazz Club, 4802 N. Broadway; no cover; 773-878-5552 or greenmilljazz.com
Joanie Pallatto and Bradley Parker-Sparrow: Singer Pallatto and pianist Parker-Sparrow celebrate the release of their new album, "Days." 6:30 p.m. Saturday at Katerina's, 1920 W. Irving Park Rd.; $5; 773-348-7592 or katerinas.com
Paul Marinaro: Until this year, the formidable Chicago singer hadn't played the Green Mill once, but he surely yearned to. Since the release of his moving album debut, "Without a Song," Marinaro practically has become a regular at the Mill. This time, he sits in for Hammond B-3 master Chris Foreman, who's on the road with the Deep Blue Organ Trio as it opens for Steely Dan. 5 p.m. Friday at the Green Mill Jazz Club, 4802 N. Broadway; no cover; 773-878-5552 or greenmilljazz.com
Tammy McCann: The powerhouse Chicago vocalist chooses her dates selectively, so any time she appears represents an opportunity to hear world-class jazz singing in our own backyard. She'll lead her quintet in the weekly series presented by the Hyde Park Jazz Society, an informal, unpretentious gathering that has no equivalents in Chicago. 7:30 to 11:30 p.m. Sunday at Room 43, 1043 E. 43d St.; $10; hydeparkjazzsociety.comChicago Gypsy Jazz Festival
When: 9 p.m. Friday and 8 p.m. Saturday
Where: Green Mill Jazz Club, 4802 N. Broadway
Tickets: $12; 773-878-5552 or greenmilljazz.com
To read more from Howard Reich on jazz, go to chicagotribune.com/reich.