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Asian-American Jazz Fest blossoms again

(Howard Reich, Chicago Tribune)

The closing of the Velvet Lounge and HotHouse in recent years has been tough on at least one remarkable group of Chicago musicians: its innovative Asian-American jazz artists.

Inventive improvisers such as bassist Tatsu Aoki, pianist-vocalist Yoko Noge and saxophonist Jeff Chan had played there regularly for years, and most prominently during the annual Chicago Asian American Jazz Festival. Unfortunately, no room has emerged to replace the Velvet and HotHouse as nightly incubators of new ideas in jazz.