JACOB H. CARRUTHERS FOR INNER CITY STUDIES
Africa Brown shared personal reflections and songs related to the legendary Oscar Brown, Jr. They honored their father faithfully in songs such as Dat Dere, Work Song and A String Man. Their harmonies meshed beautifully with the tight band, featuring young trumpeter Corey Wilkes, who is making quite an impact on the Chicago jazz scene. In fact, he was outstanding with Roscoe Mitchell in one of the After-Fest sessions at the Hothouse; a performance of raw power and emotion.
The best performances belonged to the big stars of the lineup. Lee Konitz and his nonet performed subtle and gorgeous arrangements; one of the highlights was a scorching version of Chromatically the Blues. Konitz lent his beautiful tone as a guest during Joe Lovanos set the night before, performing All the Things You Are with a hip and tender touch. In tribute to Miles Birth of the Cool (on which Konitz originally played), Joe Lovanos band swung effortlessly through Boplicity and Move. Lovano was all class, stating the importance of the musical contributions of John Hicks and Dewey Redman (who died the previous day) and his band burned on all cylinders in the original The Deal. Steve Slagle played a particularly memorable solo on alto sax and Lovano brought it home with fiery passion on both his tunes and in arrangements made famous by Gunther Schuller, from the original Birth of the Cool sessions.
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