The 14th annual Chicago Asian American Jazz Festival kicks off Thursday with the first of three CD-release concerts. The fest showcases the best of Chicago’s contemporary Asian American music and collaborations, bringing together the modern sounds of American-born jazz with the traditional music of the artists’ Asian heritage.Word to the Monk.
“Through music,” says saxophonist Francis Wong, “I envision a way to create continuity through the integration of tradition and innovation.”
The local movement has its roots in bassist Tatsu Aoki’s Innocent Eyes and Lenses, founded in 1984, and now called Asian Improv aRts Midwest, an organization dedicated to presenting Asian American artists and related programs.
Opening night features Bradley Parker-Sparrow and “The New World” CD release show with Wong, Joanie Pallatto and Dedé Sampaio, followed by an Asian Improv Records jam session with special guests.
The fest continues Friday night with the Ritwik Banerji Quintet featuring Ritwik Banerji, Satya Gummuluri, Patrick Mulcahy, Steve Ptacek and Rob Frye, followed by Jeff Chan’s Trio plus One and Friends and the “Horns of Plenty” CD release show featuring Jimmy Ellis, Ed Wilkerson Jr., and guests Wong and Lewis Jordan.
Wong, Aoki and Jeff Parker lead off Saturday night with the “Three Big Guys Plus One” CD release show, followed by the Hal Tsuchida Organ Trio featuring Hal Tsuchida, Rob Block and Sharif Zaben.