A 2016 Chicago Jazz Festival Preview: Nate Lepine


This Is Jazz Today: A 2016 Chicago Jazz Festival preview, in sound & vision.


Nate Lepine

nate lepineJazz is plenty fractured, and the natural inclination of jazz musicians to absorb the music of their environment has, over the course of time, resulted in a vast array of prevalent sounds.  There no longer is (and maybe there never was) a solitary Chicago Sound.  But if you’re looking for an example of music that has a legit claim to being referred to as the Chicago Sound in jazz, right here is what you got.  On his upcoming September 2016 release Quartet:Vortices, Chicago mainstay Nate Lepine offers up music that goes a long way to encapsulating one segment of the Chicago Sound.  The blues comes pouring out, just not quite as smoothly as your old-school jazz quartet would serve it up.  And that’s right in line with a lot of the Chicago scene, which is a strong incubator of modern avant-garde, experimental and free improv.  Melodies with jagged edges and tempos more likely to stomp than bop are common in the Chicago post-bop expressionism.  That familiar old-school sound gets kicked out with a casual fury, an intensity that’s sometimes driven, but sometimes just seems so off-the-cuff as to render harmless any negative impact of aggressiveness.  That’s important, because if you’re gonna light a flame under the blues, damage its soul and you’ve lost the song.  This isn’t the first example of Lepine representing this knowledge.  Same goes with the rest of his quartet, with Nick Mazzarella on alto sax, Clark Sommers on acoustic bass and Quin Kirchner on drums.

The quartet will be performing Saturday, Sept. 3rd at 2pm at the Jazz & Heritage Pavilion.

Here’s a preview track of their upcoming album Quartet:Vortices, releasing in September on Ears & Eyes Records…

Read more about the artist and the upcoming show on the Chicago Jazz Festival site.


The 38th annual Chicago Jazz Festival is taking place in (and around) Chicago’s Millennium Park, Wednesday August 31st – Sunday September 4th.

Read more about why you should be a part of the audience by visiting the official Chicago Jazz Festival site

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