The first American indoor jazz festival.
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Arts & Acts
Although the "Miles Davis Sextet" was booked at the Playboy Jazz Festival, only the Quintet performed.
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Magnificently staged in the south bowl of Soldier Field. Home to the Chicago Bears football team.
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The title Jazz After Dark II references late night seduction as conjured up in the slow, but purposeful, pace of ballads. The set's two discs are smartly divided into instrumentals and vocals. The thematic focus aligns a broad range of players from Chet Baker to Ella Fitzgerald. There are the classicists (Bill Evans, Dave Brubeck, Duke Ellington) and the modernists (Sonny Rollins, Thelonious Monk), with small combos and duets being the setting for them all. The vocal disc covers the greater span of years, with performances by contemporary singers (including Curtis Stigers, Karrin Allyson, and Peter Cincotti) alongside vintage tracks by some of their mentors and influences. --David Greenberger
Various artists - a historical collection to represent 4 decades of jazz
Tito Puente, the Puerto Rican king of the timbales, reigned as the master of Latin music for more than 50 years until he died in 2000. This live date at the Playboy Jazz Festival in 1994 captures the danced-charged electricity he released from the bandstand. Backed by a sizzling band of young Turks, Puente launches into his zesty, Cubop, mambo-motored, Latin-jazz-fused dance grooves. His swing on Hilton Ruiz's "New Arrival," which was also featured on the movie soundtrack Calle 54, highlights his skills on the vibraphone, while jazz trumpeter Freddie Hubbard's standard "Little Sunflower" dances as well as trances. Only Puente could get more grooves out of the well-worn Mongo Santamaria standard "Afro-Blue." "Ti Mon Gi," his update of the famous percussion track "Ti Mon Bo" from the legendary '50s record Top Percussion, highlights the incredible conguero Giovanni Hidalgo. This CD brings back Tito Puente's magic and majesty. --Eugene Holley, Jr.