Chicago Jazz Festival club tour images

The 36th annual Chicago Jazz Festival (mostly free) kicked off Wednesday with a trolley tour of neighborhood clubs. Marc PoKempner captured performers’ and crowds’ spirits in his images:

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Guitarist Alfonso Ponticelli and Swing Gitan performs regularly on Wednesdays at the Green Mill — with the  only jazz-improvising cymbolim (hammered dulcimer) player I’ve ever . Photo by Marc PoKempner

A seriously exciting jam session at 50 Yard Line. Trumpeter Marquis Hill dropped in. Photo by Marc PoKempner

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Vocalist June Yvon holds the mic for sitting-in flutist’s solo on “Sonny” at City Life. Photo by Marc PoKempner

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At Red Pepper’s Masquerade Lounge the audience was virtually onstage. Photo by Marc PoKempner


Playing Herbie Hancock’s “Chameleon,” a keyboardist at Red Pepper’s gets ecstatic. Photo by Marc PoKempner

The Jazz Festival continues tonight — Saturday — with headlining vibist Gary Burton receiving JJA Jazz Awards for his playing and Best Book of the Year — Learning To Listen, his autobio-graphy.

Also on the bill tonight: trumpeter Tom Harrell’s Colors of a Dream, bassist Dave Holland’s quartet Prism, and Chi’s own sax colossus Ari Brown. Tomorrow’s finale includes guitarist Bobby Broom’s trio, alto saxist Miguel Zenon’s quartet, great young singer Cecil McClorin Salvant, and the Sun Ra Arkestra, led by high-energy 90-yr-old Marshall Allen.

And there are Labor Day weekend jazz fests across the U.S. — Kingston NY, Philadelphia, Aspen, Macinac Island, among other spots. Hear something to celebrate summer’s end 2014.

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