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IMN Artists Were a Hit in Chicago This Year

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Monday December 22, 2014

From The Chicago Tribune

For Chicago jazz lovers, it was a very good year
By: Howard Reich

Chicago jazz listeners heard great sounds in 2014, including:

Regina Carter, Oct. 24, the University of Chicago’s Logan Center for the Arts: Magical sounds usually emerge when Carter picks up her violin, but this performance shed particular light on her stylistic versatility. The vintage jazz idiom she explored in Duke Ellington’s “Squeeze Me” sounded as persuasive as the down-home country fiddling she brought to the age-old “Shoo-Rye.” She ventured to music of South America in Astor Piazzolla’s “Libertango,” duetting brilliantly (if too hurriedly) with Columbian harpist Edmar Castaneda. The partnership made at least one listener wish a recording of their collaboration would come about – soon.

Danilo Perez, Sept. 18, Jazz Showcase: Two decades ago, the Panamanian pianist made an auspicious Chicago debut on a double-bill with Puerto Rican saxophonist David Sanchez. Since then, both artists have earned global reputations as original thinkers in jazz, Perez playing frequently in Chicago – but not so often in an intimate club setting. His appearance at the Jazz Showcase proved revelatory, Perez offering music from his “Panama 500” album scaled down for quartet. The performance showed Perez ingeniously transforming Panamanian folkloric music via jazz techniques. It also piqued one’s interest in hearing this work performed in concert with the larger instrumental forces Perez convened for the album.

And a shout-out for IMN’s international roster too:

Vijay Iyer, Sept. 5, PianoForte Studios: Anyone who follows jazz knows that Iyer, a MacArthur Fellowship winner, stands at the vanguard of extending the expressive reach of the piano. Though he has played Chicago often during the past couple of decades, this was a rare opportunity to hear him playing solo, and on a first-rate concert instrument: a Fazioli grand in PianoForte’s inviting recital hall. Iyer blithely ignored conventional stylistic boundaries, applying classically tinged pianism to contrapuntal passages in Thelonious Monk’s “Work,” evoking shades of Claude Debussy in Iyer’s “Spellbound and Sacrosanct, Cowrie Shells and the Shimmering Sea” and suggesting the perpetual-motion piano writing of Serge Prokofiev in Iyer’s “One for Blount.”

To read the full list click here