When Time Out Chicago was still a print publication, I enjoyed a column that was called "Your Perfect Weekend" or something like that, where they highlighted select events that didn't conflict on the schedule. I kinda had my perfect day yesterday, as little reminders of this blog's guiding philosophy kept popping up.
The first event was a no-brainer, given the title of this blog. Victor Garcia is a very talented jazz trumpeter who got to showcase a project on a major outdoor stage for the Made in Chicago: World Class Jazz series curated by the Jazz Institute of Chicago. Garcia called his project Crossing Borders, and what he did was interpret the music of his Mexican ancestry through a a modern jazz lens. He hired a 13 piece band made up of musicians from both jazz and folkloric backgrounds, then wrote new arrangements for them. The whole enterprise came off magnificently, but I was especially thrilled when a dance melody from Jalisco was wedded to the birthplace of jazz through a lively New Orleans brass band arrangement. Really good stuff.
As 10:30 approached, we got back in the car and headed up the street a couple of miles to Barra ñ, a tiny nightspot run by Argentinians who also own Tango Sur and a neighboring grocer on the north side and also recently opened a Latin American lounge and restaurant in the aforementioned hipster enclave. Barra ñ was hosting a DJ session by Coba Sound System, who are at the core of Novalima, the Afro-Peruvian group I wrote about last week. The bar was packed with people of varying skin tones drinking and dancing in very close proximity. As the DJs got deeper into their groove and I began to surrender to the rhythm, I realized that the underlying beat was derived from house music, which was more or less invented in, wait for it... Chicago! There you have it: Chicago music conquers the international club scene, only to return to it's birthplace by a couple of guys from Peru.
I was up way too late last night.