The Chicago Horns

Room 43, June 20, 2010
The Chicago Horns
The Chicago Horns

Story and Photos by James Walker, Jr.

Fathers Day was an appropriate opportunity for the Hyde Park Jazz Society to pay homage to long time Chicago radio personality Richard Steele. In conjunction with the John Wright Music, Steele was honored during the intermission of the weekly Sunday jazz session that featured The Chicago Horns. Those speaking on behalf of Steele included Lauren Deutsch of the Jazz Institute of Chicago. Steele has worked in Chicago radio since 1970, including an on air personality with WBEZ as talk show and jazz program host.

Chicago Horns, one of the city's most underrated ensembles, consisted of Kenny Anderson, trumpet; Hank Ford, saxophone; Jack Zara, bass; Kirk Brown, keyboard; Charles Heath, drums; and leader Bill McFarland, trombone. The horns have been together for years and work together like a "well oiled machine."

Throughout the two sets observed by this writer, each ensemble member thrilled the crowd with exceptional solos. This was particularly true of Ford, Anderson and McFarland. Ford's lead on "Sentimental Mood" was scintillating and led directly into "Moanin'." His initial usage of his muted horn was beautifully done. The three horns completed this number blasting away in unison while Zara's deep bass tones did not go unnoticed in the background. As usual, smooth drumming Charles Heath kept time with perfection. He's always cool and in control and makes drum playing look so easy.

Highlight of second set included another stunning solo by Kenny Anderson on Coltrane's "Impressions." Both Heath and Zara expressed themselves on this number with great extended solos. The band captivated the spirit of a few couples in the audience on an infectious bluesy number as they began dancing to the music. Society's president Charlie Thomas and wife Betty were among such couples.

This set was concluded with Freddie Hubbard's "Little Sunflower," as young trumpeter John Moore sat in with an excellent extended solo. Audience demonstrated their appreciation of this swinging set by one of Chicago's finest with a rousing ovation.

For additional information pertaining to future Hyde Park Jazz Society sets, refer to their website at www.hydeparkjazzsociety.org.

Bill McFarland

Hank Ford

Kenny Anderson

Charles Heath

Kirk Brown

Jack Zara

John Moore

Richard Steele

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

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