'Jazz Christmas'

For the past 17 years, leonine Chicago pianist Willie Pickens has presided over a "Jazz Christmas" concert at Hyde Park Union Church on the South Side that has featured some of the country's most admired soloists. Through the years, no less than Branford Marsalis, Tom Harrell, Nicholas Payton, Orbert Davis, Donald Harrison, Terell Stafford, Bunky Green, Ed Petersen, Charles McPherson, Randy Brecker and Gary Bartz have shared the stage with Pickens and his trio to play Pickens' sophisticated arrangements of holiday repertoire. "Every year we were able to give it a little different flavor, little different twists by having different artists," says Pickens, who will end the run Friday evening. "So even if every year it was the same music, it always sounded different -- it sounded alive." Trumpeter Jon Faddis, saxophonist Gregory Tardy and singer Milton Suggs will appear with the Willie Pickens Trio at 8 p.m. Friday at Hyde Park Union Church, 5600 S. Woodlawn Ave.; $40; 773-363-6063 or
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