Hyde Park Jazz Festival review: Music embraces a neighborhood – Chicago Tribune

Huge crowds, congenial atmosphere, pleasant weather — and, oh yes, more music than any individual possibly could get to.

The 10th annual Hyde Park Jazz Festival swept into the historic Chicago neighborhood over the weekend, instantly turning it into the world’s largest jazz club.

Following is one listener’s diary of a now-indispensable event that ends Sunday:

Willie Pickens Quartet: 2:20 p.m. at the Wagner Stage on the Midway Plaisance. Even playing an upright piano on a temporary, outdoor stage, the eminent Chicago pianist sounds tonally resplendent. The rinky-dink keyboard, in fact, adds a touch of character to Pickens’ work, the 85-year-old master proving once again that he can draw torrential sound from virtually any set of keys. Trumpeter Pharez Whitted leads the charge in Dizzy Gillespie’s “Woody ‘n You,” Whitted’s clarion tones heard blocks away. Veteran drummer Robert Shy and bassist Kurt Schweitz generate plenty of energy, but Pickens’ pianism rumbles at the center of the storm.

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