Chicago Tribune from Chicago, Illinois on June 1, 2007 · Page 7-14
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Chicago Tribune from Chicago, Illinois · Page 7-14

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Friday, June 1, 2007
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14 CHICAGO TRIBUNE Ô ONTHETOWN Ô SECTION7 Ô FRIDAY,JUNE1,2007NS By Howard Reich Tribune arts critic It’s not difficult to guess where the center of gravity for sophisticatedbut accessiblemusic- making is going to be this summer: Millennium Park. With the “Made in Chicago” jazz series swinging into its third season and the “Music Without Borders” world-music series doubling in size from last year, the Pritzker Pavilion will be humming (and then some). The “Made in Chicago” jazz lineup in particular will unfurl events available nowhere else in the country. World premieres, daring repertoire, newly conceived ensembles, unusual artistic collaborations—“Made in Chicago” will traffic in the unexpected. The only shortcoming of the venture may be this year’s subtitle: “Home Cooked Jazz,” an innocuous but lightweight description that belies the intellectual heft of the programming. Last year’s subtitle, “World Class Jazz,” better alluded to the artistic breadth and ambition of the lineup. Even so, the “Made in Chicago” curators— Michael Orlove of the city’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Lauren Deutsch of the nonprofit Jazz Institute of Chicago—have partnered with Millennium Park executive director Helen Doria to prove that summertime music need not be trivial. In so doing, they’re redefining the nature of outdoor concerts, proving that such offerings can be every whit as substantial as the indoor fare we hear the rest of the year. Following is a guide through the “Made in Chicago” series. Each event will take place at the Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park, near Randolph Drive and Michigan Avenue; all the concerts are free and will begin at 6:30 p.m. In addition, each concert will be preceded at 6 p.m. by a short set from young Chicago jazz artists. For more information, phone 312-742-1168 or visit millenniumpark.org. July 26: Great Black Music Ensemble: “Tribute to Fletcher Henderson.” Jazz listeners know that Henderson was a primary architect of big-band swing, and that the Great Black Music Ensemble represents the avant- garde philosophies of the Chicago-based Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM). The two worlds converge when the Great Black Music Ensemble takes on Henderson classics and newer repertoire. Aug. 2: Dave Specter’s “Blues/Jazz Summit Chicago I.” Jazz and blues genres are intimately intertwined, a point that blues guitarist Specter will underscore by partnering with a contingent of Chicago blues and jazz musicians that will include Sharon Lewis, Billy Branch, Ari Brown, Jimmy Johnson and Chris Foreman. Aug. 9: Nicole Mitchell’s Black Earth Orchestra: “Tribute to Alice Coltrane,” with special guest Myra Melford. Mitchell, a jazz- flute virtuoso and rapidly developing composer, has penned new works for this evening, in which she’ll front a large ensemble and collaborate with pianist Melford (a former Chicagoan). This could be the most musically adventurous evening in the series. Aug. 16: “Legends and Lions: Ragtime and Beyond.” In the most unorthodox pairing of the summer, “Made in Chicago” will present the ragtime-piano wizard Reginald Robinson on a double-bill with AACM innovator Muhal Richard Abrams. Moreover, Robinson will play orchestral versions of his original ragtime compositions with the Fulcrum Point New Ragtime Chamber Group, while Abrams will play solo—a visionary musician on a huge stage, alone with his art. Aug. 23: “Sirens of Song: Dee Alexander’s Tribute to Nina Simone and Dinah Washington.” Chicago vocalist Alexander ought to be more famous than she is, but this evening should go a long way toward extending her popularity. Leading her Evolution Quartet, she will draw upon the repertoire and sensibilities of two singers who have influenced her profoundly. Aug. 27: “Chicago Jazz Philharmonic On Tap: Songs from the Chicago Songbook.” Trumpeter Orbert Davis’ Chicago Jazz Philharmonic typically merges classical and jazz impulses, but on this occasion the ensemble will stretch into the world of vocals and dance: Singers Maggie Brown, Jackie Allen and Terisa Griffin will share the spotlight with tap dancers from Lane Alexander’s Chicago Human Rhythm Project. Finally, here’s the lineup for “Music Without Borders,” also free at 6:30 p.m. on selected evenings at the Pritzker Pavilion: June 24: Enzo Avitabile & Bottari. American jazz meets Italian percussion. June 27: Carlinhos Brown/Andy Palacio & The Garifuna Collective. Music of Brazil and Belize. June 28: Seun Kuti & Egypt 80, with special guest DJ Rich Medina. Jazz, funk and Afro-centric music embrace. July 12: Toumani Diabate & The Symmetric Orchestra, with Vieux Farka Toure. West African musicians with Chicago jazz players. July 23: SambaSunda. United States debut of groundbreaking Indonesian orchestra. July 29: Gerardo Nunez Flamenco Ensemble, featuring Simon Shaheen and Nishat Khan. Flamenco music in partnership with Arabic and Indian expressions. hreich@tribune.com Outdoor concerts feature more than breezy fare Tribune photo by Terrence Antonio James Flutist Nicole Mitchell performs “Tribute to Alice Coltrane,” with special guest Myra Melford in Millennium Park Aug. 9. Millennium Park hosts ‘Made in Chicago’ series SUMMER MUSIC PREVIEW By John von Rhein Tribune music critic It looks as if summer concert options for local classical music lovers are coming down to a choice between “water works” at Ravinia and world music at Grant Park. By why make it an either/or situation? Certainly there’s plenty of worthwhile music to satisfy every listening taste at both the Ravinia and Grant Park music festivals this year. With more than 130 events running through Sept. 17, Ravinia’s got the more extensive goods—and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, in residence for 17 concerts. But Grant Park, nestled within the splendors of downtown Chicago’s classy new playground, Millennium Park, has got location, location, location. Ravinia, North America’s oldest music festival, is marketing its classical schedule around a “water works” theme—inspired by “The Mermaid” of Alexander Zemlinsky, the summer’s featured “Breaking the Silence” composer. The aqueous fare ranges from Handel’s “Water Music” to Debussy’s “La Mer.” Music director James Conlon also will con- duct mainstream programs, including Mahler’s Fifth and Sixth symphonies; a concert version of Puccini’s “Madama Butterfly”; the conclusion of his Mozart piano concerto cycle; and a rare concert appearance by tenor Placido Domingo, who headlines the Gala Benefit Evening in August. Conlon’s Zemlinsky events will include such esoterica as the gorgeous “Lyric Symphony” and the compelling opera “A Florentine Tragedy.” Ravinia-presented Chicago premieres include dancer-choreographer Mark Morris’ “Mozart Dances” (at the Harris Theater in Millennium Park); composer Jake Heggie’s vocal- orchestral work “To Hell and Back,” starring Patti LuPone; and Philip Glass’ and Leonard Cohen’s “Book of Longing.” Audiences seeking to escape the noisy drone of the 17-year cicadas that have invaded the Ravinia grounds need only step into the Martin Theatre for such treats as violinist Sarah Chang playing Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons” with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra; singers Deborah Voigt and Stephanie Blythe; early music master Jordi Savall and his Hesperion XXI group; and tenor Nikolai Schukoff in recital with pianist Christoph Eschenbach. Add to this concert versions of Bernstein’s “West Side Story” and Loesser’s “The Most Happy Fella” and you’ve got a Ravinia season to make the customers chirp right along with the cicadas. Down at Millennium Park, the Grant Park festival folks know they can’t compete with Ravinia in star power, so they are again banking on the populist allure of free, eclectic concerts in one of the most spectacular outdoor concert settings in the world. And the world is what the season (June 13 to Aug. 18 in the state-of-the-art Jay Pritzker Pavilion) will celebrate. Check out a program titled “Looking East” that includes music by Tan Dun. Or concerts of Latin music featuring Uruguayan guitarist Eduardo Fernandez. Or the fiery Hungarian fiddler Roby Lokatos turning up the heat in classical, jazz and traditional Gypsy music genres. As is his wont, principal conductor Carlos Kalmar will mix standard symphonic and choral fare with unusual repertory. His concerts include Mendelssohn’s “Elijah,” the Grant Park debut of the acclaimed Argentine pianist Ingrid Fliter, and a terrific season-finale that combines Vaughan Williams’ rarely-heard “Dona Nobis Pacem” with works by Benjamin Britten and John Adams. Good alfresco listening to all. jvonrhein@tribune.com A classical summer from Grant Park to Highland Park Ravinia will present the Chicago-area premiere of “To Hell and Back,” starring Patti LuPone. SUMMER MUSIC PREVIEW Product: CTOTT PubDate: 06-01-2007 Zone: NS Edition: FRI Page: 7-14 User: cci Time: 05-30-200720:55 Color: K

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