The French are generally credited with staging the world's first recognizable jazz festivals (Nice in 1948 and Paris in 1949); using that as a premise, and pushing the rules of logic a bit, I suppose you could say there's something fitting about celebrating Bastille Day with the sounds of jazz. (In any case, the music should easily supplant such attempts at justification.) Organizer Kahil El-Zabar has lined up a fair enough sampling of the city's jazz scene, from the music's roots (blues pianist Erwin Helfer) to its future (saxist/composer Ed Wilkerson), with stops along the way for bebop, free jazz, and new directions in the mainstream. Your hosts at these way stations: the hard-driving bop-forged tenor man E. Parker MacDougal, the hard-bop-driven trumpeter Brad Goode, the proficient and propulsive young saxophonist Ron Blake, and El-Zabar's own Ritual Trio, with bassist Malachi Favors and reedman Ari Brown. In keeping with a holiday that commemorates liberation, the music is free and in the street. Saturday, 2-8 PM, Wabash between Delaware and Chestnut; 664-7225 or 708-799-5229.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photos/Lauren Deutsch.