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Ira Sullivan & Stu Katz: A Family Affair

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Ira Sullivan hasn’t lived in Chicago since 1963, when he moved to Florida to bask in the warmer climes, teach and perform with/mentor young players in the Miami area. But he is still regarded as a hometown hero in the Windy City, where he emerged as one of bebop’s strongest voices alongside such peers as Johnny Griffin and Wilbur Campbell. When he comes back to town to play Joe Segal’s Jazz Showcase-or, as he did last year, the Chicago Jazz Festival, which celebrated his 80th birthday-it’s an event.

A Family Affair was recorded at the Showcase with another old partner in bop, vibraphonist/pianist Stu Katz. After all these years, Sullivan’s multi-instrumental brilliance still dazzles. On a new original, “Blues Two Views,” he splits the difference between muted trumpet (hard-edged and lyrical) and tenor saxophone (blues-tough and breathy-tender). He switches to soprano saxophone on “Yesterdays,” awakening the Jerome Kern standard with a ripping intensity you don’t often hear on the instrument or the song.

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