The 8th annual Hyde Park Jazz Festival Sept 27 and 28th was as mellowly festive a scene as has ever graced the Midway Plaisance, the grassy fields between University of Chicago’s faux Gothic buildings, originally created for the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition.
Photo-journalist Michael Jackson created portraits of local fans and players such as Irvin Pierce, last-minute tenor sax sub for altoist Oliver Lake (who had been scheduled to perform with soon-to-be-famous singer Dee Alexander, but was deterred by the strange airline tower disruption that occurred on Friday).
Jackson’s slideshow was commissioned by the Chicago Sun-Times. The portraits show the intensity, thoughtfulness, intimacy and drama of some of the music (in particular, I was struck by all that in Detroit-raised, now NYC-based pianist Craig Taborn‘s first solo concert in a long while), but don’t focus on how Frank Lloyd Wright’s Robie House itself became a virtual sound speaker (that thought thanks to another photo-journo, Marc PoKempner); how Trinidadian-born trumpeter Etienne Charles‘ set stirred up a hip Caribbean dance party down front; that the Fat Babies‘ traditional repertoire also drew foxtrotters to the temporary dance floor, how flutist Nicole Mitchell (now living in California, she claims Chicago is “still home”), vibist Jason Adaseiwicz, bassist Josh Abrams and drummer Frank Rosaly as Ice Crystal worked so well together.
Add in this info: the fest events were free (although donations of $5 were encouraged and welcomed) thanks to lead and founding sponsorship from the University of Chicago’s Office of Civic Engagement and support from the non-profit Hyde Park Jazz Society, while being incorporated as a non-profit — Hyde Park Jazz Festival — itself. A gift to the neighborhood and city, to musicians and citizens, for which we must say: Thanks!