African Festival of the Arts: Ahmad Jamal, Soukous Stars, Los 3 de la Habana, and others | Fairs & Festivals | Chicago Reader
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African Festival of the Arts: Ahmad Jamal, Soukous Stars, Los 3 de la Habana, and others 

When: Sun., Sept. 6, 1:30 p.m. 2009
Phone: 773-955-2787
Price: $15, $10 in advance, $5 seniors over 65 and children under 12
africanfestivalchicago.com
Ahmad Jamal's 2008 album It's Magic (Dreyfus) is, like most of the pianist's records, an impressive demonstration of how the fundamental elements of jazz mechanics can become satisfying focal points in and of themselves. Jamal uses his sleek band, essentially a piano trio plus a second percussionist, to exert his mastery over tempo, density, and volume, manipulating them like the terms of an algebraic equation—but thankfully his equations have swing and soul. He treats both originals and standards like streams of information to be digested, broken apart, and reassembled; this kind of deconstruction is a familiar part of jazz, but Jamal and his band focus on it with a joyful zeal that animates the music with the spark of novelty. Jamal is joined by longtime bassist James Cammack, percussionist Manolo Badrena, and brilliant drummer Kenny Washington. This set is part of the African Festival of the Arts. —Peter Margasak

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