You won't catch me complaining about massively attended jazz concerts in Grant Park; nonetheless, there's a qualitative difference between those small figures on the band-shell stage piped through Gargantua's own sound system and the intimate surroundings in which jazz is more often heard (and in which jazz history is most often made). Luckily, late-night jam sessions at two sites near Grant Park--Joe Segal's Jazz Showcase and Southend Musicworks--help round out the most nearly perfect jazz-festival weekend in America. At Southend, a different band will host the proceedings each night. Friday, it's the quintet led by the sturdy yet quirky Damon Short on drums, featuring a standout front line of trumpet, bass trumpet, and sax, as well as many of Short's distinctive compositions. And while I can't promise the attendance of specific guest stars, I'd be surprised if festival performers Ray Anderson (trombone) and Howard Johnson (tuba) were nowhere to be seen. Saturday, the "A.A.C.M. Originals" take the stage, with bassist Malachi Favors Maghostut and three saxophonists: Fred Anderson, Douglas Ewart, plus "Kidd" Jordan of New Orleans. (Likely sitters-in include Lester Bowie, Von and Chico Freeman, and the Swiss trumpeter Franco Ambrosetti--all of whom perform with Favors at the festival earlier that night.) Sunday, it's the Green-Mosley Complex, a powerhouse merger of Chicago and Detroit musicians that has become a Southend favorite with its soulfully "outside" improvisations over a rock-steady pulse. And with any luck, festival main-stagers Hugh Masekela and Ravi Coltrane--yeah, his son--could show their faces too. Tonight through Sunday, 11 PM, Southend Musicworks, 1313 S. Wabash; 939-2848.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Phoebe Ferguson.