David Whiteis

David’s Contributions


01/03/14    Albums

Trombone for Lovers
Roswell Rudd

Trombonist Roswell Rudd’s timbral and emotional range is as diverse as ever, and his gnarled imprecations keep pop ballads such as “Unchained Melody” from getting grandiose and novelty-tinged offerings like “Tennessee Waltz” and “Ghost Riders in the Sky”...


11/27/13    Albums

Allen Toussaint

When Hurricane Katrina forced Allen Toussaint out of New Orleans in 2005, he moved to New York, where he began an extended residency at Joe’s Pub in Manhattan. In September of 2009, he was recorded there solo over the course of two evenings. This deluxe...


10/29/13    Albums

Pushing the World Away
Kenny Garrett

The paradox invoked by the title of saxophonist Kenny Garrett’s latest is that of a man seeking to escape the chaos of daily life in order to live in the moment, “pushing the world away” so he may see it, immerse himself in it and celebrate it as fully as...


10/24/13    Albums

Occupy the World
Wadada Leo Smith & Tumo

As he did in last year’s Pulitzer-nominated Ten Freedom Summers (Cuneiform), trumpeter-composer Wadada Leo Smith again melds social concerns with deeply personal statements. TUMO, the ensemble Smith leads and conducts here, is a 21-piece Finnish improvisational...


09/04/13    Albums

One From None
Michael Bates/Samuel Blaser Quintet

Saxophonist Michael Blake’s brief overtone wail at the onset of the opening title track here recalls Coltrane’s tension-building intro to “Leo” on Live in Japan . Blake then segues into a blues-tinged unaccompanied improvisation before the rest of the quintet...


05/31/13    Albums

The Three of Us
Junior Mance

On this latest trio outing, Junior Mance combines soul-jazz cool with bop-stoked fire; his orchestral approach to the keyboard calls forth deep sonic landscapes rich in texture. Violinist Michi Fuji, despite her chamber-music background, has a looseness...


05/20/13    Albums

What It Is!
Kahil El'Zabar Quartet

Veteran percussionist Kahil El’Zabar here leads a group of young Chicago lions, and the mash-up of maturity and youthful panache seems to have sparked inspiration on both sides of the generational divide. What It Is! includes five originals and two Trane...


05/17/13    Albums

Birds Requiem
Dhafer Youssef

A feeling of reverence tempered by resignation suffuses this work, which oud master Dhafer Youssef envisions as the score for an imaginary film about a spiritual quest. In this journey, enlightenment is apprehended only by embracing the inevitability of...


04/07/13    Albums

Afro Straight
Ernest Dawkins

Saxophonist Ernest Dawkins is best known as the leader of Chicago’s New Horizons Ensemble. Admirers of that group will recognize on Afro Straight Dawkins’ gift for imbuing even his most outward-bound flights with a gritty swagger that invokes his city’s...


04/06/13    Albums

Coral Sea
Kenny Drew Jr./Jon Burr/ Marty Morell

The spirit of Bill Evans is a strong presence throughout this set. Coral Sea includes a composition by Evans himself (“Very Early”), one by bassist Scott LaFaro that Evans adapted into his repertoire early on (“Gloria’s Step”), and at least one more (the...


09/07/12    Concerts

Review: Chicago Jazz Festival 2012

Dianne Reeves, Roy Haynes, Ken Vandermark are among the highlights


06/20/12    Albums

The Dave Shank Quintet

If further proof were needed that purism among jazz musicians is a thing of the past, this lineup should seal the argument. Vibraphonist Dave Shank and his colleagues—saxophonist Mike Migliore, pianist Barry Miles, bassist John Patitucci and drummer Terry...


01/04/12    Albums

Triumph of the Heavy, Volume 1 & 2
Marcus Strickland

Here’s a gutsy move: In an age of diminishing CD sales, and at a time when mainstream U.S. culture seems more fixated than ever on the lightweight, Marcus Strickland has released a two-CD set with the daunting title Triumph of the Heavy . The good new is...


11/10/11    Albums

Wet Paint
Andrew Sterman

The spiritual serenity we’ve come to expect from Andrew Sterman is pervasive here. However, also as we’d expect, the music is mostly devoid of self-indulgence or ethereal formlessness. Questing, rather than wafting, is the dominant motif. “Open Circle” sets...


10/24/11    Albums

It's About Damn Time
Wendell Harrison

Listen to the funked-up take on Clifford Brown’s “Dahoud,” or the hip-hop- and soul-flavored “Love Juice,” and one thing becomes clear: This set showcases reedist Wendell Harrison’s non-elitist aesthetics. He’s been criticized for this eclecticism, and occasionally...


10/18/11    Albums

The Story of Cathy & Me
Curtis Fuller

Curtis Fuller’s wife of 30 years, Catherine Rose Driscoll Fuller, died of lung cancer in 2010. In memory of their time together, trombonist Fuller assembled this set of musical sketches and spoken remembrances, enlisting the assistance of vocalist Tia Michelle...

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About David Whiteis


David Whiteis, an internationally published critic and journalist with over 25 years of experience writing about blues, jazz, and other essential issues, currently writes on a regular basis for JazzTimes, the Chicago Reader, Living Blues Magazine, Juke Blues Magazine (Great Britain), and other publications. He is the recipient of the Blues Foundation’s 2001 Keeping the Blues Alive Award for Achievement in Journalism. His recent book Chicago Blues: Portraits and Stories, was published by University of Illinois Press in 2006. He is currently working on a book about contemporary Southern Soul-Blues.