Story & Photos by James Walker, Jr., III - Copyright 2009-2010
The Hyde Park Jazz Society continues to produce one of the finest sets in
Chicago each and every Sunday night at Room 43 on the southside. On December
13th, saxophonist Kevin Nabors fronted a quintet that included guitarist Scott
Hesse, drummer Isaiah Spencer, bassist Junius Paul, and world class trumpeter
The capacity crowd was treated with an exceptional three hour evening of jazz
classics and several Nabors originals. These young lions, full of energy and
talent, demonstrated the future of Jazz in Chicago is alive and well.
They opened the set with Joe Henderson's "Afrocentric", allowing all to warm up
with solid extended solos. This arrangement was conducted all evening as Kevin
allowed his exceptional band mates room to express themselves to the delight of
the crowd. These young disciples of Fred Anderson's Velvet Lounge in the South
Loop took turns soloing without being over bearing.
Occasionally, Wilkes would
demonstrate why he's considered one of America's finest young trumpeter with
several high octave, rapid-fire riffs that he's become noted for.
At the same
tim , timekeeper, Spencer kept the beat going with a steady pace and several
full throttle solos including one on Nabors original "Levitation".
Spencer was also highlighted on Rashaan Roland Kirks "Serenade to Kookoo" which
he began unaccompanied by his colleagues. His smooth rolling of the sticks was
followed by a sweet picking of the strings by Hesse. Paul also stood out as
this number concluded with the fleet fingers of Spencer.
As is normal at Room 43, there was one guest artist who joined this esteem group
during the first set. Trombonist Norman Palms sat in on Gene Ammons " Stringin
the Jug". Palms can also be included in that "young lion " category who also is
a Velvet regular.
Although front man Nabors primarily used his tenor sax, he occasionally pulled
out the soprano, an instrument he seems to be coming more comfortable with
during recent performances. This young man continues to mature and grow as a
musician and will be heard from in the future. It's not by accident that he's
often seen at the side of masterful Wilkes, and it's apparent this relationship
has served him well.
For additional details regarding future Sunday night Room 43 jazz sets, please refer to the Hyde Park Jazz Society website at www.hydeparkjazzsociety.org.