Chicago Jazz Ensemble

with David Sanchez & Steve Wilson

Harris Theatre, Chicago, IL
December 10, 2009

Jeremy Kahn, Steve Wilson, Jon Faddis, David Sanchez, Dan Anderson & Dana Hall

Story and Photos by James Walker

What a majestic long weekend of exceptional jazz with the Chicago Jazz Ensemble (CJE) kicking things off at Harris Theater downtown Chicago with a superb evening of classic jazz. CJE, under the direction of Maestro Jon Faddis, revisited 1959 with a trilogy based on music by Miles Davis, John Coltrane, and Ornette Coleman, on Thursday, December 10th with the assistance of guest artists tenor saxophonist David Sanchez and alto saxophonist Steve Wilson.

The evening began with a small ensemble of Sanchez,Wilson, trumpeter Faddis, pianist Jeremy Kahn, bassist Dan Anderson and musical director , drummer Dana Hall. This aggregate's rendition of Miles' classic "Kind of Blue" was perhaps the highlight of the entire evening.

What a rare opportunity to hear the majestic trumpet sounds of Faddis, uninterrupted by his directing. Faddis is one of the world's finest trumpeter and on this evening, he demonstrated his skills with those "ohhhh soooooo " high notes and serene muted tones. To this listener, no one can match his ability to accomplish these tasks.

Sanchez did his best imitation of Coltrane during this segment, while Wilson's alto sound was reminiscent of "Cannonball" Adderley from the original "Kind of Blue " album. Throughout this first set, each horn man had ample opportunity for extended solos, with Sanchez's solo on "Freddie Freeloader" demonstrating low- tone, bellow like sounds on the tenor. Wilson, produced highlight sounds on "All Blues", while, as previously mentioned, Faddis was simply resplendent from start to finish. Had this august group only performed "Kind of Blue", this listener would have gone home a "happy camper".

Nevertheless, with the full "Ensemble" joining in during the 2nd set, all was forgiven, as these guys and gal (trombonist Audrey Morrison) not only backed the guest artists with efficiency and affect, but also had highlight moments with trumpeter Pharez Whitted on "Giant Steps", drummer Hall on Coleman's "Congeniality" and "Eventually" and Anderson's low bass tones on Coleman's "Lonely Woman". Faddis , Sanchez, and Wilson didn't relax during this segment, as each continued with outstanding solos, again punctuated by Faddis's piercing sound on "Congeniality" and Sanchez's splendid run on Coltrane's "Naima".

The evening came to an end with Paul Desmond's classic "Take Five", which, over time, has become the signature song of pianist Dave Brubeck. All musicians returned to the stage to take part in this dynamic encore.

CJE's next concert will take place January 15, 2010, at the Harris Theater, as they pay tribute to the music of Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong. For ticket information, refer to their website at www.chicagojazzensemble.com.

Steve Wilson
Steve Wilson

David Sanchez
David Sanchez

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Contact James Walker and JazzChicago.net at jwjazz@att.net

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