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Chicago Jazz Festival 2016: Thursday

The lineup for September 1 includes Cameron Pfiffner's Adolphe's Ax; Mwata Bowden's One Foot In, One Foot Out; and Orbert Davis's Soul Migration.

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Chicago Cultural Center

Claudia Cassidy Theater

Dan Trudell - BILL KLEWITZ
  • Bill Klewitz
  • Dan Trudell

Noon | Dan Trudell Trio

Superbad Chicago organist Dan Trudell draws on the full spectrum of Hammond B-3 tradition, from Jimmy Smith to Don Patterson, for a fresh and fully formed sound that he's put to good use in his organ trio and with the B3 Bombers (featuring James Brown drummer Clyde Stubblefield). Last year Trudell threw a changeup with Dan Trudell Plays the Piano, a mainstream acoustic date that combines Coltrane-era vocabulary with the same kind of ingenuity and down-home sound you'd expect on a Ramsey Lewis LP. He plays here with the band from the album, bassist Joe Sanders and exceptional drummer Matt Wilson. —John Corbett

Preston Bradley Hall

  • John Broughton

12:30 PM | Mwata Bowden's One Foot In, One Foot Out

Educator, composer, and bandleader Mwata Bowden (who usually plays baritone saxophone, clarinet, or didgeridoo) is a longtime member of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians. He and his bandmates here—bassist Harrison Bankhead, tenor saxophonist Ari Brown, and drummer Avreeayl Ra—have all played with one another, either extensively or occasionally, joined as they are by a web of collaborations that spans several decades and countless ensembles. (Bankhead, Brown, and Ra are AACM members too.) The two younger members of the group, self-­described "discopoet" Khari B. and trumpeter Leon Q, will bring affinities for hip-hop and spoken word. Bowden and Khari B. are father and son, but that's not the only reason this is likely to feel like a family affair. The convergence of generations and styles promised by this lineup is very much in keeping with the AACM's motto, "Great Black Music: Ancient to the Future." —Bill Meyer

Claudia Cassidy Theater

  • Christine Jeffers
  • Eric Schneider

1:30 PM | Eric Schneider/Pat Mallinger Quintet

Dueling horns are a Chicago tradition. Two stalwart Chicago saxophonists—both multi-instrumentalists, both excellent contemporary practitioners—help provide the opening salvo of this year's festival. Mallinger will be familiar to late-night Green Mill habitues as coleader of Sabertooth; he plays a quick alto with a cutting sound. Schneider's wonderful tenor is in the same bag, drawing from the mainstream scene of the 50s and the cutting-edge early 60s while adding insights of more recent vintage. Here they'll be working with pianist Dennis Luxion, bassist Matt Ferguson, and drummer Clif Wallace. —John Corbett

Preston Bradley Hall

  • Via Louder Than A Bomb: The Chicago Youth Poetry Festival Facebook

2 PM | Louder Than a Bomb Presents: The Bomb Squad

Readings by poets affiliated with nonprofit Young Chicago Authors.

Claudia Cassidy Theater

Carla Bley participates in a Q and A after the screening of this Charlie Haden documentary. - COURTESY DCASE
  • Courtesy DCASE
  • Carla Bley participates in a Q and A after the screening of this Charlie Haden documentary.

3 PM | Charlie Haden: Rambling Boy

Following this screening of the 2008 documentary Charlie Haden: Rambling Boy, keyboardist and composer Carla Bley—who founded the Liberation Music Orchestra with the legendary bassist—will participate in a Q and A. —Peter Margasak

Preston Bradley Hall

[Recommended] 3:30 PM | Cameron Pfiffner's Adolphe's Ax

Chicagoans have plenty of chances to encounter saxophonist and polymath Cameron Pfiffner. He coleads the organ combo Sabertooth, which has bridged Saturday night and Sunday morning at the Green Mill for 24 years, and he also works as an actor—this summer he played painter Gustav Klimt in a three-week run of Susan Padveen's one-man show The Portrait at the Greenhouse Theater Center. But one place you won't often find him is the recording studio—when he's done with a band, you're usually out of chances to hear it. So it's a treat that Pfiffner has revived Adolphe's Ax, an all-­saxophone sextet he led for a spell four years ago. (He sometimes styles it "Adolphe'S AX" to make sure nobody misses the point.) Named after the saxophone's inventor, the band has a unique book of Pfiffner originals and adaptations that combine jazz with liturgical music. —Bill Meyer

Millennium Park

Jay Pritzker Pavilion

  • Kymon Odukoya

6:30 PM | Brown in Bronzeville Effect with Maggie & Africa Brown

Singer Maggie Brown, daughter of musician, writer, and civil-rights activist Oscar Brown Jr., inherited a lot from her celebrated father—including his deeply rooted righteousness and his devotion to using music to address social and cultural ills. Tonight she and her sister carry on the tradition of a great Chicago musical family, supported by pianist Shawn Wallace, saxophonist Fred Jackson, guitarist Samuel Mösching, bassist Dexter Sims, and drummer Peter Manheim. —Peter Margasak

  • Louis Byrd

8 PM | Orbert Davis's Soul Migration

Trumpeter and composer Orbert Davis put himself on the map in 2004 by conceiving and leading the Chicago Jazz Philharmonic, a massive ensemble that brings the grandeur and spectacle of a symphony orchestra to jazz. For this special commission—part of Chicago's yearlong celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Great Migration—Davis wrote a programmatic suite for a relatively pared-down group. He's wisely enlisted singer Maggie Brown, an artist with a keen historical sensibility, as his lead vocalist. Journalist John Fountain will read texts related to this crucial chapter in the city's history, when roughly half a million African-­Americans moved here from the rural south. The band features drummer Ernie Adams, reedists Steve Eisen and Michael Salter, keyboardist Leonardo Lopez Varady, and vibist Joel Ross; here and there the Chicago Jazz Philharmonic Youth Brass Ensemble and String Quartet will enlarge the sound. —Peter Margasak

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