Hyde Park Jazz Festival 2016

Lecture Series

Saturday, September 24, 2016


Assembly Hall

In late 2006, Hyde Park cultural leaders convened with the Hyde Park Jazz Society to create an annual event that would bring new audiences into the many arts and cultural venues in Hyde Park and celebrate jazz’s great legacy and bright future on Chicago’s South Side. The University of Chicago’s Office of Civic Engagement stepped up to assist this grassroots effort with both financial and staff support.

For yet another year, International House plays host to the Hyde Park Jazz Festival! This annual event features the finest artists in local, national, and international jazz. The full line-up of more than 40 programs can be found on the 10th annual Hyde Park Jazz Festival website. International House will host two programs on Saturday, September 24th:

​Dan McClenaghan, in AllŸAboutŸJazz, writes “There's something quite ‘free’ about a trio without a guitar or piano in the mix, with no chords nailing the sound down.” Three veterans of the Chicago jazz scene have teamed up under the lead of bassist CLARK SOMMERS for “an organic sounding outing.” Bassist, composer and educator, Clark holds the bass chair with vocalist Kurt Elling, with whom he has toured the globe from Istanbul to the Canary Islands. He has played on two GRAMMY nominated recordings with the band, one of which won the GRAMMY for best vocal jazz album in 2009. Clark also performs with Portland’s Darrell Grant in his “Territory” ensemble, which includes Brian Blade, Joe Locke and Steve Wilson. He has also performed with Cedar Walton, Ernie Watts, Bennie Maupin, Von Freeman, Ira Sullivan, Frank Wess, Charles McPherson, Peter Bernstein, Jodie Christian, and Kevin Mahogany, among others.

Reared in Houston, TX, and honing his chops in New York, Los Angeles, and Washington before settling in Chicago, multi-reedist, composer, and educator, GEOF BRADFIELD is Associate Professor of Jazz Saxophone and Jazz Studies at Northern Illinois University. He has worked alongside many jazz luminaries and performed throughout the United States and Europe, Russia, Africa and the Middle East. His critically acclaimed CD, African Flowers, was named one of the top 10 CDs of 2010 by the Los Angeles Times, and Melba! was selected as one of the best CDs of 2013 by DownBeat Magazine. Writes Neil Tesser, Geof  “has drawn plenty of praise for his work as a reed soloist. . . . But in the last few years, Bradfield has made just as much impact with his precise and colorful writing, in compositions that evoke a vivid sense of place through the same mixture of detail and sweep.” Geof’s recent project, Our Roots, released last year, took its name and inspiration from Chicago saxophonist Clifford Jordan’s 1965 Atlantic record, These Are My Roots: the Music of Lead Belly. He is also leading his Garden of Souls project in this Festival.

Drummer, percussionist, composer, bandleader, educator, and ethnomusicologist, DANA HALL has been an important musician on the international music scene since 1992 after leaving aerospace engineering for a life in music. Dana has performed, toured, and/or recorded with such luminaries as Roy Hargrove, Joshua Redman, Horace Silver, Clark Terry, Maria Schneider, Jackie McLean, Mulgrew Miller, Marcus Belgrave, Joe Henderson, Curtis Fuller, and Charles McPherson. His debut CD, Into the Light, was released to great critical acclaim. Former Artistic Director of the Chicago Jazz Ensemble, Dana is an Associate Professor of Jazz Studies and Ethnomusicology at DePaul University and the Director of the DePaul Jazz Studies program. In addition to his active composing, travel, and university schedule, Dana leads his group Black Fire around town. Neil Tesser has noted, “even among modern drummers, Dana Hall stands out.” Howard Reich describes him as “viscerally exciting, intellectually formidable” with a “seemingly bottomless well of ideas.” Last year, Dana premiered "The Hypocrisy of Justice: Sights and Sounds of the Black Metropolis: Riffin' and Signifyin(g) on Richard Wright's Native Son” at Symphony Center, receiving great acclaim and a standing ovation for his powerful work. He is offering a composer’s talk on that work in this Festival.

​Bassist and composer JOSHUA ABRAMS has been in the thick of Chicago's vibrant music scene for fifteen years, playing and recording as leader and sideman in projects across the genres. He co-founded the "back porch minimalist" band Town & Country and, with Matana Roberts and Chad Taylor, the trio Sticks & Stones. He has released four records under his own name as well as two under the moniker "Reminder" that navigate the realms of jazz & improvisation, electro-acoustic composition, beatmaking, minimalism and field recordings. The New York Times describes his 2012 record, Represencing, as "music that hints at the ceremonial without losing its modern bearings" and The Wire named his record Natural Information one of the top 50 recordings of 2010. On his recent recording, Magnetoception, Joshua explores new contexts for the guimbri, the three-stringed North African bass lute at the heart of his previous two recordings.

Tenor saxophonist, pianist, and composer, ARI BROWN is a dynamic member of the Chicago avant-garde jazz scene who also demonstrates his traditional jazz chops on both of his instruments. Ari has performed all over the world, touring with Elvin Jones, and working with musicians ranging from McCoy Tyner and Don Patterson to Sonny Stitt, Lester Bowie, Bobby Watson, and Anthony Braxton. He has been part of Kahil El’Zabar’s “Ritual trio” and is the go-to saxophonist for Orbert Davis’s Chicago Jazz Philharmonic. Chicago Reader critic Peter Margasak calls Ari “A terrific saxophonist with a deep understanding of both bop’s complex rhythms and the wild expressionism of free jazz.”

A Detroit native, drummer and educator, GERALD CLEAVER became deeply involved with the Michigan jazz scene, working with Ali Muhammad Jackson, Marcus Belgrave, Donald Walden, Rodney Whitaker, A. Spencer Barefield, Wendell Harrison, among others. An NEA fellowship allowed Gerald to study with drummer Victor Lewis after which he earned a music degree from the University of Michigan, later becoming a member of its jazz faculty. Gerald has worked with a long list of great jazz leaders, some of whom include Roscoe Mitchell, Henry Threadgill, Jacky Terrasson, Hank Jones, Tommy Flanagan, Charles Gayle, Reggie Workman, and Eddie Harris.

Connecticut born and Berklee educated, JEFF PARKER is a guitarist, composer, educator, and “sculptor of sonic textures.”  A founding member of the critically acclaimed and innovative groups Isotope 217˚ and Chicago Underground, he is a longtime member of the band Tortoise, the Brian Blade Fellowship, and the Exploding Star Orchestra. He has performed all over North America, Europe, and Asia, been recognized seven times by DownBeat Magazine’s Critic’s Poll, named “Jazz Soloist of the Year” by the Chicago Reader “Reader’s Choice,” and acknowledged as one of contemporary music’s most versatile and innovative electric guitarists.

Free and open to the public.

Sponsored by the Global Voices Performing Arts Series and the Hyde Park Jazz Festival.