Green Mill All-Stars Reunion | Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Green Mill All-Stars Reunion 

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It's a long-standing music-business tradition that most steady jazz gigs run Tuesday through the weekend--which leaves the players free on Monday nights. When the Green Mill opened up as a jazz room nearly 12 years ago, owner Dave Jemilo took advantage of that fact to assemble a Monday-night quintet under the leadership of saxophonist Ed Petersen and trumpeter Steve Jensen. The Green Mill All-Stars underwent a few personnel changes in their time, but before the group dissolved three years ago (when Petersen moved to New Orleans) it had a strong impact on the local scene, anchoring the Green Mill's evolving lineup and eventually showcasing vocalist Kurt Elling in his developmental phase. Now the original All-Stars--including pianist Willie Pickens, bassist Brian Sandstrom, and drummer Robert Shy--reassemble for one night only; they'll dedicate their sets to the memory of Jensen, who died earlier this year. Trumpeter and flugelhornist Art Davis will take Jensen's place, adding his smart, concise improvisations to the mix. Their Friday sets usher in a homecoming weekend for Petersen, who's spending the holidays in Chicago--where his splendiferous tone, lively instincts, and ferociously virtuosic solos have been much missed. Saturday night he'll reunite with the quartet he led in the early 1980s, with pianist John Campbell, bassist Kelly Sill, and drummer Joel Spencer. Campbell's recent repatriation from New York makes this lineup possible for the first time in years, and it's a fine way to extend the New Year's weekend. Next Friday, January 2, 9 PM, and next Saturday, January 3, 8 PM, Green Mill, 4802 N. Broadway; 773-878-5552. NEIL TESSER

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): uncredited photo of Ed Petersen.


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