Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Von Freeman and Barry Harris Take It to the Parks

Posted By on 09.30.09 at 04:45 PM

Barry Harris
  • Barry Harris
The Jazz Institute of Chicago is best known for booking the Chicago Jazz Festival, but it programs lots of other valuable events, and one of the coolest is the monthly concert series JazzCity, which has been presenting free live jazz in Chicago parks since 1997. The artists are typically top-notch locals, but Friday’s concert in La Follette Park (1333 N. Laramie) is a cut above the rest, featuring Chicago tenor treasure Von Freeman fronting a quartet with excellent Detroit-bred bop pianist Barry Harris.

Harris is the quintessential jazz pianist. Like fellow Detroit native Tommy Flanagan, he can make himself at home in all kinds of settings, and he’s never wanted for work as a sideman. He’s worked with a laundry list of greats—Donald Byrd, Thad Jones, Dexter Gordon, Max Roach, Sonny Stitt, Julian “Cannonball” Adderley, Lee Morgan, Coleman Hawkins—and always brings a nicely tart post-Bud Powell flavor to whatever he touches. And Vonski—well, if you live in Chicago and haven’t seen this man play, you can’t really call yourself a jazz fan.

The quartet, which features Stewart Miller on bass and Charles Heath on drums, plays at 7 PM.

photo: Mirko Caserta

Today’s playlist:

Viento de Agua, Unplugged: Materia Prima (Smithsonian Folkways)
Lasse Marhaug, Ear Era (Prisma)
Red Red Meat, Bunny Gets Paid (Deluxe Edition) (Sub Pop)
Chango Spasiuk, Pynandí: Los Descalzos (World Village)
Sentieri Selvaggi, Plays Gavin Bryars & Philip Glass (Cantaloupe)

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