Tenor saxophonists Wilkerson and Brown blow into Hamilton Park on Friday | Bleader

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Tenor saxophonists Wilkerson and Brown blow into Hamilton Park on Friday

Posted By on 12.07.11 at 11:00 AM

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Few albums epitomize the bluesy, hard-charging sound of the Chicago tenor saxophone tradition more thoroughly than Blowing in From Chicago (Blue Note), a classic 1957 session featuring Clifford Jordan and John Gilmore. Both players were products of the legendary Captain Walter Dyett's music program at DuSable High School, and both had indeed blown in from Chicago to record the album at Rudy Van Gelder's studio in Hackensack, New Jersey. Jordan had just moved to New York, and Gilmore was to spend another four years or so in the Windy City, where he was the right-hand man in Sun Ra's Arkestra.

For the session they were supported by a killer rhythm section: pianist Horace Silver, bassist Curly Russell, and drummer Art Blakey. Though both saxophonists certainly changed in subsequent decades, even here they sound fully formed. You can hear why John Coltrane was such a fan of Gilmore, who plays here with unstoppable drive and a searing left-of-center melodic flair. Jordan was more in thrall of bebop—he chews the scenery on a high velocity spin through Bird's "Billie's Bounce."

Chicago still has no shortage of brilliant tenor saxophonists, and the Jazz Institute of Chicago has enlisted two of the best for a tribute to that classic album: Edward Wilkerson Jr. and Ari Brown. The horn players will be joined by pianist Ken Chaney, bassist Harrison Bankhead, and drummer Ernie Adams as they rip through the album, which also contains Chicago gems like John Neely's "Status Quo"—which Mike Reed's People, Places & Things covered on their first album, 2008's Proliferation (482 Music)—and Jordan's "Evil Eye." The free concert is Friday night at the Hamilton Park Field House; the Jazz Links Student Ensemble kicks it off with a short set at 7, followed by the main attraction at 7:30 PM.

Today's playlist:

Red Mitchell, Red Mitchell (Bethlehem/Avenue Jazz)
Anibal Arias, Escenas de la Ciudad (Winter & Winter)
Tora Seydou Traore, Tora Seydou Traore (Yaala Yaala)
Milt Jackson, Wizard of the Vibes (Blue Note)
Ab Baars & Meinrad Kneer, Windfall (Evil Rabbit)

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