April 30, 2011
In 34 years of covering music for the Tribune — including the 22 years of Richard Daley's mayoralty — I have not once seen him at a jazz concert. Unless you count that tiny photo of him smiling in the Chicago Jazz Festival program book.
Granted, it's entirely possible he showed up at a South Side jazz joint when I wasn't there or caught a late-night set at the Jazz Showcase or even dropped in on the Chicago Jazz Festival itself (though, if he had, he surely would have been appalled by the acoustics at the Petrillo Music Shell and ordered that it get the Meigs Field treatment).
Compared with Daley's high-profile appearances at Loop theaters, Lyric Opera of Chicago and Barbra Streisand concerts, jazz clearly has not been on the man's radar.
Yet considering that Chicago jazz has been world famous for, oh, nearly a century, you'd think he might have wanted to check it out — and lend his cachet to an art form born of the African-American experience.
Maybe Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel will be more open-eared — dancers love jazz.
Howard Reich is a Tribune arts critic.
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