| Mar 18, 2014
| 1:34 PM
Few poets have captured the feeling of jazz – its rhythms, its cadences, its sense of freedom – more lyrically than Langston Hughes. The music courses through his words, which carry backbeats and melodies as seductive as those in any solo by a...
| Aug 9, 2013
| 11:54 AM
Interviewing James McBride, author of the best-selling memoir “The Color of Water” and “The Good Lord Bird,” the unexpectedly hilarious new novel about the 19th century abolitionist John Brown and his violent crusade to end...
| Feb 28, 2013
After a tense decade of air raid sirens, duck-and-cover drills and fears of Soviet superiority, hope for America came in an unlikely form in the late 1950s: a lanky, 23-year-old Texan with a head full of curls and huge hands that ranged across a piano...
| Feb 28, 2013
| 7:34 AM
Van Cliburn, the immensely talented American piano virtuoso with the down-home charm and big romantic style, whose gold-medal win at the first International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow in 1958 at the height of the Cold War made him a cultural icon...
| Jan 2, 2013
| 10:27 AM
A new year brings new hopes for music in Chicago. Here are key resolutions for 2013:
Create a concise Cultural Plan. After months of town hall meetings, the city's Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events last fall came up with a 48-page wish...
| Aug 8, 2012
Until three weeks ago, no jazz club owner ever had been selected to receive the country's pre-eminent jazz honor: the National Endowment for the Arts' Jazz Masters Fellowship, which carries with it $25,000 and considerable prestige.
Anyone who follows...
| Aug 13, 2012
| 4:07 PM
Revered around the world but never a major star, worshipped by critics and connoisseurs but perpetually strapped for cash, the towering Chicago tenor saxophonist Von Freeman practically went out of his way to avoid commercial success. When trumpeter Miles...
| Jun 18, 2013
| 7:53 AM
Inspiring music-making isn't necessarily loud, aggressive, self-aggrandizing or heavily promoted.
Consider what happens early every Wednesday night at Andy's Jazz Club, where the superb but serenely understated Chicago guitarist Andy Brown leads a...
| Jun 11, 2013
| 9:48 AM
Joseph Marinaro had a dream: He was going to be a great singer, like his heroes Frank Sinatra and Mario Lanza.
But the talented young crooner from Buffalo, N.Y., got married and had 10 kids, set aside his musical ambitions and laid asphalt to support...
| Jun 6, 2013
| 12:49 PM
If jazz listeners ruled the world, saxophonist-composer Wayne Shorter's forthcoming 80th birthday – on Aug. 25 – would be deemed a national holiday.
That doesn't seem likely at this point, so Chicago will celebrate the occasion a bit early...
| May 28, 2013
| 11:40 AM
The great flutist-composer Nicole Mitchell moved to Chicago – and launched her international career here – in 1990.
More than two decades later, in August of 2011, she left the city for California, yet it's still impossible to think of...