This year AccuJazz, which is programmed by local jazz drummer Lucas Gillan, is being clearer about what it's doing. Under the auspices of ChicagoJazz.com it's created ChicagoJazz.com Radio, which includes a special channel for the Chicago Jazz Festival. The channel consists of more than 400 songs, all of them by artists performing at the fest and some by the exact combos that are coming to town. Though I suppose getting a big heap of music, arranged without regard to subgenre or quality, has its merits—you can end up hearing some worthwhile material you wouldn't have thought to seek out yourself—listening to it can be a tiring experience. It helps that Internet radio stations like AccuJazz, unlike their conventional counterparts, let you skip to the next track when you've had enough of something.
As part of its partnership with ChicagoJazz.com, AccuJazz has rolled out a number of other Chicago-related channels: Chicago Avant-Garde Jazz, Chicago Instrumental Jazz, Chicago Vocal Jazz, Chicago Jazz Veterans, Chicago Mainstream Jazz, Chicago Young Jazz Artists, Live in Chicago, and Chicago Smooth Jazz. The site's organization still feels a little messy and all over the place to me, and there are lots of glaring omissions, but with the exception of "Chicago Smooth Jazz" every channel features some terrific music. Plus it’s all free. You can also customize your experience, creating parameters and removing specific artists from the playlists the station generates.
Next week I’ll be posting my own Jazz Festival preview in the form of a special edition of the Post No Bills podcast, featuring music from some of the same combos that will be playing in Grant Park—and needless to say, every artist I'm including is one I wholeheartedly recommend.
Ricardo Villalobos, Alcachofa (Playhouse)
Billy Hart Trio, Live at the Café Damberd (Enja)
Cave Singers, Welcome Joy (Matador)
Modern Shit, Will Make You Ill (Alga Marghen)
Amadou Sodia, Ça Va Se Savoir (Sterns)