Chicago has made a name for itself as the forefront of jazz since the 1920s, and with world-class musicians filling seats in clubs and theaters every night, things aren't much different today. Get a taste of the action at one of these upcoming shows.
Mike Stern Trio @ Jazz Showcase (May 7-10)
After playing alongside such household names as Miles Davis and Blood Sweat and Tears, Mike Stern began to make a reputation for himself as a trailblazer for jazz in the '80s and '90s. While he is easily able to blend his virtuosity into a big band sound, expect at least a few of his Zeppelin-worthy solos to ring throughout the Showcase's intimate space.
Performing as part of the Israeli Jazz and World Music Festival, Avishai Cohen is a standout on the bill. Named a rising star by jazz magazine Downbeat for three years in a row, Cohen seems far from peaking, with seven albums and numerous side projects under his belt. Another festival headliner, Omer Avital, joins Cohen on bass with Nasheet Waits drumming in what's sure to be a superb performance.
After getting his start with a little local act called The Smashing Pumpkins, drummer Jimmy Chamberlin joined bandleader and sax powerhouse Frank Catalano for a an album and a string of local performances. The group's sound mixes lively bebop and catchy melodies, and is sure to keep the Green Mill crowd grooving late into the night.
Once known as a pioneering force in the realm of psychedelic jazz fusion, Larry Coryell plays it a bit cooler these days. Picking up where jazz guitar legend Wes Montgomery left off, Coryell can do it all, switching from toe-tapping swing to white-knuckle rock at a moment's notice. With support from Chicago jazz vets Paul Wertico and Larry Gray, this trio won't disappoint, especially in a cozy room like SPACE.
Marquis Hill @ Room 43 (June 28)
Chicago native Marquis Hill has brought the ear of the worldwide jazz community back to his hometown since winning the prestigious Thelonius Monk International Jazz Trumpet Competition. It's a distinction he wears well, being equally skilled as a performer and a composer. Audiences at Room 43 will feel transported back to 1950's Manhattan with the classic bebop stylings that Hill frequently indulges in.
Esperanza Spalding @ Lincoln Hall (June 28-29)
Something of a star in the modern jazz world, Esperanza Spalding melds soulful sensibilities with a Brazilian flair. Since beginning her professional career in 2006, Spalding has received nearly every accolade possible, most famously when she beat out Justin Bieber and Drake, among others, for the 2011 Grammy for Best New Artist. Neither casual listeners nor die-hard jazz fanatics will want to miss her stop at one of Chicago's best music venues.