After being significantly scaled back over the last two years, the Hyde Park Jazz Festival is due to come back in full form on Sept. 24 and 25.
"We're fully back," said executive and artistic director Kate Dumbleton. "We're back to full strength with all the venues we normally partner with."
International House, 1414 E. 59th St., the Hyde Park Union Church, 5600 S. Woodlawn Ave., Rockefeller Chapel, 5850 S. Woodlawn Ave., Little Black Pearl, 1060 E. 47th St., and the Hyde Park Bank, 1525 E. 53rd St., are venues again, alongside the Logan Center for the Arts, 915 E. 60th St., and the Midway Plaisance.
All those venues mean many different settings for performances, which Dumbleton says is a fun part of curating the festival: thinking about what sounds good in what space.
"A lot of these rooms are really architectural wonders and important cultural spaces where the community comes and goes all year," she said. "We're just thinking about sound: the actual acoustics and also what music might resonate in a particular context."
On Saturday at 5 p.m., experimental guitarist Jeff Parker is going to play the sanctuary at Augustana Lutheran Church, 5500 S. Woodlawn Ave., because, Dumbarton said, "His new solo record is really an exploration of the way sound works together and what one person can do with an instrument and some electronics."
She said it's going to sound particularly good at Augustana (even though, she said, Parker would sound anywhere). "I think it'll be an interesting concert that you can't necessarily hear if you'd see him at Thalia Hall," Dumbleton said.
The Hyde Park Bank's vast lobby has sound bouncing everywhere and can be a good venue when a musician considers it into their performance. Emma Dayhuff (Saturday at 5:30 p.m., with the Phoenix Ensemble) is a bass player whose instrument resonates in the hall; the audience's bodies also create an acoustic element.
"When we invite the musicians to play, we're very specific about where they're playing. And many of them go check it out and they think about it, and they think about what project they want to do there, what their personnel is," Dumbleton said.
New York City vocalist Samara Joy is performing on Saturday at 11 p.m. at Rockefeller Chapel, accompanied by Pasquale Grasso on guitar.
Dumbleton said duos go well in that "super tricky," very acoustically challenging venue. She called Joy "a young phenom."
"I think having her do a performance with this really fantastic guitar player — you'll be able to see Samara Joy in many places in the future because she's going to be so incredibly famous, but I think doing a duo performance in Rockefeller Chapel at 11 p.m. is going to be extremely special," Dumbleton said.
Admission is free, though $10 donations are appreciated.
Dumbleton is furthermore excited about South Side composer Miguel de la Cerna premiering a piano suite about his father's life in Chicago on Saturday at 9:30 p.m. at the Logan Center the premiere of a collaboration between American ensemble Hear in Now and Ethiopia-based QWANQWA, which had been commissioned in 2019 (Saturday at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. at the Logan Center).
"The mere fact that these musicians are able to come this year is sort of a triumph, even before they get on the stage," Dumbleton said, noting the ongoing Tigray War and impact of COVID-19. "But they're going to create a whole new piece of work collaborating together, exploring jazz and traditional Ethiopian music."
"There's a lot of factors involved in programming the festival. We want to have a breadth and depth of different trajectories of jazz music, especially those that have a really important history on the South Side," she said. "Everything from music that people dance to to experimental music to straight-ahead to new forms."
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