"It's also a bit of a test of the people – like the musicians, the audiences: 'All right: Are you guys ready? … Are you guys ready to make this work?'
"I can keep the lights on to a certain extent. If people aren't ready for this, it doesn't matter.
"I think they've been meeting that," adds Reed. "I've seen it grow. I'm seeing a lot of younger musicians – musicians I might not have known about or known where to find – they're right in my building. I feel what their energy is and what they're doing to generate their audiences. …
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3111 North Western Avenue, Chicago, IL 60618, USA
806 South Plymouth Court, Chicago, IL 60605, USA
4802 North Broadway, Chicago, IL 60640, USA
1 West University Parkway, Governors State University, University Park, IL 60484, USA
1200 West Randolph Street, Chicago, IL 60607, USA
"It's going pretty damn well. I can't ask it to go much better at this point."
Nor can we.
Also worth hearing
Bobby Broom: The masterful Chicago guitarist leads a trio with bassist Dennis Carroll and drummer Makaya McCraven. 8 and 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 4, 8 and 10 p.m. Sunday; at the Jazz Showcase, 806 St. Plymouth Court; $20-$35; 312-360-0234 or jazzshowcase.com
Donny McCaslin: An imposing saxophonist who brings to the stage both brains and brawn, McCaslin leads a group that includes includes pianist Jason Lindner, electric bassist Tim Lefebvre and drummer Nate Wood. 9 p.m. Friday and 8 p.m. Saturday at the Green Mill Jazz Club, 4802 N. Broadway; $15; 773-878-5552 or greenmilljazz.com
"Mardi Gras Carnival": Orbert Davis will lead the Chicago Jazz Philharmonic Chamber Ensemble in music of New Orleans, with pianist Reginald Robinson and harmonic virtuoso Howard Levy as guest soloists. 8 p.m. Saturday at Governors State University's Center for Performing Arts, 1 University Parkway, University Park; $35 for concert; $25 additional for buffet dinner beginning at 6:30 p.m. Saturday; 708-235-2222 or govst.edu or chicagojazzphilharmonic.org
Joe Louis Walker: The veteran bluesman celebrates the release of his latest recording, "Hornet's Nest." 8 p.m. Saturday at City Winery, 1200 W. Randolph St.; $18-$22; 312-733-9463 or citywinery.com
To read more from Howard Reich on jazz, go to chicagotribune.com/reich.
Wadada Leo Smith, Douglas Ewart & Mike Reed
When: 9:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday
Where: Constellation, 3111 N. Western Ave.
Tickets: $15; constellation-chicago.com