After decades of using Grant Park’s Petrillo Bandshell as its main stage, the Chicago Jazz Festival has finally moved to a classier, better-sounding and more welcoming venue: Millennium Park. The festival, which continues throughout this weekend, officially opened yesterday (Aug. 29) with events including a concert by Jack DeJohnette in the Jay Pritzker Pavilion.
Calling it a Jack DeJohnette concert doesn’t seem adequate, however. For this occasion, the legendary jazz drummer assembled a stellar group of well-known Chicago jazz men — pianist Muhal Richard Abrams, bassist Larry Gray and reedists Roscoe Mitchell and Henry Threadgill — billing it as “Special Legends Edition Chicago.” It was indeed special, a set of music filled with intelligent and probing solos by all five of these players, but more than just solos. This may have been an one-off performance, but this quintet thrived on interplay and collaboration.