From Ravi Coltrane to Peter Brotzmann, an explosive weekend in jazz

  • Pin It

Even by Chicago standards, this weekend will be bris.

Among the highlights

Ravi Coltrane: The son of jazz innovator John Coltrane and pianist-conceptualist Alice Coltrane, saxophonist Ravi Coltrane carries a regal surname in jazz and all the expectations that go with it. He has borne that weight remarkably well and gracefully, turning in particularly strong work during the past few years. The most striking recent example has come in the form of "Spirit Fiction," his Blue Note Records debut of 2012. The album affirmed the restlessness of Coltrane's ideas, the mercurial nature of his improvisations, the distinctiveness of his sound and the fleetness of his technique. All of that has been on display during previous Coltrane visits to his primary venue in Chicago, the Jazz Showcase. And there's something uniquely moving about witnessing him take the Showcase stage and facing a larger-than-life, black-and-white image of a jazz titan – his father. 8 and 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 4, 8 and 10 p.m. Sunday; at the Jazz Showcase, 806 S. Plymouth Court; $25-$40; 312-360-0234 or

Trio Globo: Is there any kind of music that Chicago harmonica virtuoso Howard Levy cannot play? Jazz, classical, blues, Hebraic, Latin – you name it, and he seems to find a distinctive way of addressing it on an unlikely instrument. As its name suggests, Trio Globo takes Levy into various realms of world music, in the company of cellist Eugene Friesen and percussionist Glen Velez. Jazz standards, original compositions and various forms of folkloric music figure prominently in this band's repertoire, Levy finessing the non-Western scales and other exotica as if the harmonica had been designed for them. 9 p.m. Friday and 8 p.m. Saturday at the Green Mill Jazz Club, 4802 N. Broadway; $15; 773-878-5552 or

Brotzmann, Drake, Parker: This high-powered trio of experimenters makes a rare appearance, performing in Chicago's emerging nexus for new music, Constellation. Saxophonist Brotzmann long since established the ferocious energy, technical acuity and intellectual heft of his work. He'll share the stage with Chicagoan Hamid Drake, a percussionist of vast sweep and imagination; and bassist William Parker, an innovator recently celebrated in the boxed set "Wood Flute Songs: Anthology/Live." 9:30 p.m. Friday at Constellation, 3111 N. Western Ave.; $15-$20;

Allen Toussaint: The veteran, septuagenarian New Orleans songwriter-producer has been an enjoying an autumnal career as performer in venues large and small. At his best, Toussaint unfurls a radiant tenor, and everyone ought to hear him at least once singing tunes such as "Get Out of My Life, Woman," "What Do You Want the Girl To Do?" and "Southern Nights." As instrumentalist, too, Toussaint knows his way around the keyboard and readily proves it. 7 p.m. Friday at SPACE, 1245 Chicago Ave., Evanston; $25-$65; 847-492-8860 or

Juan Pastor: Throughout its history, jazz has shown a remarkable malleability, perpetually readapting itself to embrace music of various cultures. Drummer Pastor grew up in Peru and moved to Chicago to immerse himself in the city's jazz culture. He calls his band – which blends of Peruvian and American musical idioms – Chinchano, and now he brings it into the spotlight. 5 and 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday at Andy's Jazz Club, 11 E. Hubbard St.; $10-$15; 312-642-6805 or

Laury Shelley: The former backup singer for the inimitable composer Michel Legrand has become increasingly active as headliner in Chicago clubs and returns to one of her regular spots. She'll be accompanied by the formidable pianist Jeremy Kahn. 6:30 to 9 p.m. Friday at Katerina's, 1920 W. Irving Park Rd.; no cover; 773-348-7592 or

Charlie Parker Tribute. As part of the Printer's Row Lit Fest, three individuals with remarkable expertise on Parker will meet to discuss the jazz master. Stanley Crouch is the author of "Kansas City Lightning: The Rise and Times of Charlie Parker." Chuck Haddix has penned "Bird: The Life and Music of Charlie Parker." And veteran Chicago impresario Joe Segal, founder of the Jazz Showcase, presented Parker more than half a century ago. The discussion will unfold in Segal's famed club, in front of the signature, larger-than-life photo of Bird. I'll moderate the discussion. 1 p.m. Saturday at the Jazz Showcase, 806 S. Plymouth Court; tickets required; printersrowlitfest.orgA

Marshall Vente and Joanie Pallatto: Pianist Vente and singer Pallato revisit the music from their album "Two," its repertoire spanning classic songs of various eras. Among them: "As Time Goes By," "Stolen Moments," "Cantaloupe Island" and "Still Crazy After All These Years." Theirs is a warm partnership worth revisiting. 6:30 to 9 p.m. Saturday at Katerina's, 1920 W. Irving Park Rd.; $10; 773-348-7582 or

Orbert Davis. As it approaches its 10th anniversary season, trumpeter Davis' Chicago Jazz Philharmonic releases "Sketches of Spain (Revisited)," the first of a trilogy of recordings. Davis has been performing and re-conceiving the Miles Davis-Gil Evans orchestral classic for years, and now the trumpeter finally commits it to disc, with the CJP as his orchestral foil. To mark the occasion, Davis will lead his sextet in music of Miles Davis (no relation), with guest saxophonists Ernest Dawkins and Ari Brown. 3 p.m. Sunday at City Winery, 1200 W. Randolph St.; $25-$35; 312-733-9463 or or

Marquis Hill: Chicago seems to be producing its share of formidable trumpeters, with artists such as Corey Wilkes and Maurice Brown enjoying accolades around the world. Hill stands among the latest of the new wave, his obvious conviction matched by a commanding technique and a voracious musical appetite. He'll be joined by tenor saxophonist Dustin Laurenzi, vibraphonist Justin Thomas, bassist Joshua Ramos and drummer Makaya McCraven. 9:30 p.m. Saturday at Constellation, 3111 N. Western Ave.; $10;

Greater Chicago Jewish Festival: The distance among jazz, klezmer and other forms of Jewish music is less than some might think, and this year's event underscores the point. Among the attractions: the Maxwell Street Klezmer Band at 2:30 p.m.; Yemen Blues at 5 p.m.; and the Joel Frankel Junior Klezmer Orchestra at 12:15 p.m. Sunday. The festival runs from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday at St. Paul Woods, Oakton Street and Lehigh Avenue in Morton Grove; $5; children free; 847-933-3000 or jewishfestival

Dana Hall: Recently appointed director of jazz studies at DePaul University, Hall may be the hardest working man in Chicago jazz. Or at least one of the most visible, Hall leading ensembles that explore far-flung repertoire and contributing to other bands, as well. For this occasion, he'll front his quintet, with saxophonist Geof Bradfield, trombonist Joel Adams, pianist Dan Trudell and bassist Clark Sommers. Here's an opportunity to hear Hall in a setting more relaxed and informal than most: the weekly sessions organized by the non-profit Hyde Park Jazz Society. 7:30 to 11:30 p.m. Sunday at Room 43, 1043 E. 43d St.; $10;

To read more from Howard Reich on jazz, go to

Twitter @howardreich

  • Pin It

The Grammys 2011