Fest Opens with Tale of 2 Schools


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If the rest of Chicago Jazz Festival Week proves as dynamically creative as Monday night's opener in Millennium Park, there will be remarkable listening ahead.

Conceived by one of Chicago's most promising young musicians, the evening merged two generations of instrumentalists to often stunning effect.

At the core of the music-making was Chicago drummer Mike Reed's innovative People, Places and Things band. Each of its players thrives at the razor's edge of the Chicago jazz avant-garde, and each commands a following of his own. If this unit had held the stage alone, listeners would have savored its free-ranging improvisations.

But Reed boldly expanded his band for this occasion to an octet, with three elder statesmen joining the front line. Any ensemble that spotlights veterans Art Hoyle on trumpet, Ira Sullivan on tenor saxophone and Julian Priester on trombone commands instant respect among jazz connoisseurs.

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