Hyde Park Jazz Festival: Orbert Davis CJP Chamber Ensemble, Victor Garcia Septet, Ryan Cohan Sextet, and others | Midway Plaisance Park | Fairs & Festivals | Chicago Reader
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Hyde Park Jazz Festival: Orbert Davis CJP Chamber Ensemble, Victor Garcia Septet, Ryan Cohan Sextet, and others 

When: Sun., Sept. 28, 1 p.m. 2014
This weekend the eighth Hyde Park Jazz Festival—the second under executive director Kate Dumbleton—once again turns the south-side neighborhood into the epicenter of jazz in Chicago. The south side's mainstream jazz community got this whole shebang off the ground in the first place, and its sound is well represented, with sets from groups led by the likes of pianist Willie Pickens, trumpeter Art Hoyle, and singer Maggie Brown. But what sets this two-day lineup apart is its mix of top-notch out-of-town headliners and unusual local projects.

The out-of-towners include tenor saxophonists Houston Person and J.D. Allen (the latter leading a new quartet with Philadelphia pianist Orrin Evans), Trinidadian trumpeter Etienne Charles, and brilliant pianist Craig Taborn in his first-ever Chicago solo set (he plays at 11 PM on Saturday in the gorgeous Rockefeller Chapel). Among the locals are charismatic singer Dee Alexander, who leads a quartet with edgy, soulful alto saxophonist Oliver Lake; cellist Tomeka Reid, who reconvenes her transatlantic collective Hear in Now; reedist Geof Bradfield, who premieres his quintet Our Roots (inspired by a 1965 album where Chicago saxophonist Clifford Jordan interprets Leadbelly); and drummer Dana Hall, who premieres an ambitious project called the Black Ark Movement dedicated to the music of Los Angeles clarinetist and composer John Carter. Hall's lineup features Bay Area clarinetist Ben Goldberg and trumpeter Russ Johnson (a pair who can do justice to the gravitas and melodic generosity of Carter and longtime trumpet foil Bobby Bradford) as well as reedist John Wojciechowski and veteran New York bassist Robert Hurst.

Most of the rest of the 35 groups at the festival play around town regularly—to a significant extent, the fest can double as a portrait of the state of modern jazz in Chicago. In addition Black Cinema House screens three short jazz films at the Logan Center at 2 PM on Saturday. Ten of the weekend's dozen venues fall within a square of Hyde Park less than five blocks on a side. Some of the smaller rooms will likely have to turn people away; admission is first come, first served (though the Jazz Pass guarantees you preferred seating for indoor concerts). —Peter Margasak

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