Winter 2014 in Jazz Music: Two Marsalises, Gregory Porter and Jack DeJohnette

The tempo of Chicago jazz never slows, as this winter's highlights show:

Patricia Barber: An inimitable singer-pianist-songwriter, Barber returns to her weekly engagement at the Green Mill Jazz Club. Riding the critical success of her 2013 album "Smash" (Concord Jazz), Barber remains as a singular voice in jazz. She'll lead her quartet. 9 p.m. Mondays at the Green Mill Jazz Club, 4802 N. Broadway; $7 at 773-878-5552 and greenmilljazz.com

Dana Hall: In one of the more intriguing, ongoing experiments in Chicago jazz, drummer Hall leads Black Fire, an ensemble devoted to reviving, illuminating and re-conceiving music of Andrew Hill. These scores are complex enough to merit the intense examination, and Hall — an associate professor of jazz studies and ethnomusicology at DePaul University — now has a weekly forum in which to develop this work. 7 and 9:30 p.m. Tuesdays at Andy's Jazz Club, 11 E. Hubbard St.; $10 at 312-642-6805 and andysjazzclub.com

Rob Clearfield: A poetic and idiosyncratic pianist, Clearfield has accompanied other musicians beautifully but in the past year stepped into the spotlight with his own inviting recording, "The Long and Short of It." He'll play music from this release and new material leading a trio with bassist Dan Thatcher and drummer Marcus Evans. 9:30 p.m. Wednesday at Constellation, 3111 N. Western Ave.; free, constellation-chicago.com

Fareed Haque: The boldly eclectic Chicago guitarist celebrates the release of his newest album, "Out of Nowhere," which has been billed as a return to his core interest in jazz. The recording features music by John Coltrane, Joe Henderson and Duke Ellington, as well as originals, with Haque playing alongside such noteworthy figures as bassist George Mraz, drummer Billy Hart and pianist Rob Clearfield. 9 p.m. Friday and 8 p.m. Saturday at the Green Mill Jazz Club; $10-$15 at 773-878-5552 and greenmilljazz.com

Too Hot to Handel: The Jazz-Gospel Messiah: In an annual performance, Handel's celebrated oratorio is robustly reconceived. 7:30 p.m. Jan. 18 and 3 p.m. Jan. 19 at the Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Congress Pkwy.; $25-$68 at 800-982-2787 and auditoriumtheatre.org

Hyde Park Jazz Festival Fundraising Jam: Several of Chicago's leading musicians will converge to benefit the city's most ingeniously produced jazz fest, the headliners including Victor Goines, Dee Alexander, Willie Pickens, Ari Brown, Geof Bradfield, Maggie Brown, Eric Schneider and John Wojciechowski, with an ace rhythm section featuring pianist Ron Perrillo, drummer George Fludas and bassist Dennis Carroll. 6:30 to 10:30 p.m. Jan. 21 at Room 43, 1043 E. 43d St.; $10 admission (plus minimum $10 donation), hydeparkjazzsociety.com

Henry Butler: The leonine New Orleans pianist-vocalist has played too infrequently in Chicago through the years, which makes this a major event for anyone who appreciates jazz piano virtuosity at the highest level. 8 p.m. Jan. 23 at Evanston SPACE, 1245 Chicago Ave., Evanston; $18-$34 at 847-492-8860 and evanstonspace.com

Pharez Whitted: A dynamic Chicago trumpeter, Whitted leads a quintet. 8 and 10 p.m. Jan. 23-25; 4, 8 and 10 p.m. Jan. 26; at the Jazz Showcase, 806 S. Plymouth Court; $20-$30 at 312-360-0234 and jazzshowcase.com

Victor Goines: Listeners know him best as a key reedist in the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, but Goines has an important local presence as well, heading the jazz studies department at Northwestern University's Bienen School of Music and playing select engagements in Chicago clubs. He'll celebrate the release of his newest recording, "Morning Swing." 9 p.m. Jan. 24 and 8 p.m. Jan. 25 at the Green Mill Jazz Club; $10-$15 at 773-878-5552 and greenmilljazz.com

Branford Marsalis; Ray Anderson: Symphony Center's jazz series resumes with an appealing double-bill. Marsalis stands as one of the most imposing, technically accomplished saxophonists of his generation; trombonist Anderson, a former Chicagoan, will lead his Pocket Brass Band. 8 p.m. Jan. 31 in Orchestra Hall at Symphony Center, 220 S. Michigan Ave.; $28-$70 at 312-294-3000 and cso.org

Ken Vandermark: The MacArthur Fellowship winner and long-standing inventor brings a large ensemble to a small stage in an intimate room, making this a most promising engagement. 9 p.m. Jan. 31 and 8 p.m. Feb. 1 at the Green Mill Jazz Club; $10-$15 at 773-878-5552 and greenmilljazz.com

Nicole Mitchell: She lives on the West Coast, but flutist Mitchell remains a key figure in Chicago music, thanks to the important dates she continues to play here. This time she'll collaborate with the Chicago Modern Orchestra Project, led by Renee Baker, plus three vocalists and several noted instrumentalists: guitarist Jeff Parker, trumpeter Marquis Hill, cellist Tomeka Reid, bassist Joshua Abrams and drummer Marcus Evans. They'll perform Mitchell's evening-length work "When Life's Door Opens," inspired by Mitchell's poetry collection of that name. 8:30 p.m. Feb. 1 at Constellation; $15, constellation-chicago.com

Jack DeJohnette; Gregory Porter: Top billing here goes to a quartet staffed by drummer Jack DeJohnette, saxophonist Joe Lovano, bassist Esperanza Spalding and pianist Leo Genovese — and considering the stature of these musicians, this will be a major event. But during the past year, Porter has become the most talked-about male vocalist in jazz, and he soon will be the top-of-the-bill wherever he performs. 8 p.m. Feb. 15 at Orchestra Hall in Symphony Center; $30-$80 at 312-294-3000 and cso.org

Ambrose Akinmusire Project: A trumpeter of considerable technical resources and creative imagination, Akinmusire plays the remarkably strong debut season of the University of Chicago's Jazz at the Logan series. He'll lead a quintet. 7:30 p.m. March 7 at the University of Chicago's Logan Center for the Arts, 915 E. 60th St.; $35 general, $5 students at 773-702-2787 and chicagopresents.uchicago.edu

Cecile McLorin Salvant: Chicago-area listeners heard Salvant turn in a magisterial performance with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra in December at Wentz Concert Hall in Naperville, but this time she leads her own band. 7 and 9:30 p.m. March 8 at Evanston SPACE; $18-$38 at 847-492-8860 and evanstonspace.com

Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra: For those who missed Wynton Marsalis and the JALC Orchestra in Naperville in December, here's a chance to hear the band in its primary Chicago venue. 8 p.m. March 28 at Orchestra Hall in Symphony Center; $48-$160 at 312-294-3000 and cso.org

hreich@tribune.com

Twitter @howardreich

Copyright © 2015, RedEye
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