October 4, 2012
Jazz listeners tend to think of Chicago as a tenor saxophone town, and for good reason: tenor giants such as Gene Ammons, Johnny Griffin, Von Freeman, Fred Anderson, Clifford Jordan, Ari Brown and many more are globally identified with Chicago. But this city also has turned out its share of legendary pianists, many of them women, as Chicagoan Bethany Pickens will illustrate during this concert. She'll pay homage to Lil Hardin (a significant force on her husband, Louis Armstrong, during his Chicago days), Dorothy Donegan (a hyperactive, charismatic stage presence) and Earma Thompson (whose music was imbued with the spirit of South Side Chicago blues). Pianist Pickens, it should be noted, is the daughter of octogenarian Chicago piano giant Willie Pickens, though she has developed a leaner style of her own. The event is presented by the nonprofit Jazz Institute of Chicago as part of the ongoing JazzCity series, which long has brought free concerts to the parks.
7 p.m. Friday at Revere Park, 2509 W. Irving Park Road; free; 312-427-1676 or jazzinchicago.org