By Howard Reich
The Frederic Chopin bicentennial inspired major concerts around the world in 2010, but none like the one Chicago jazz singer Grazyna Auguscik offered that July at the Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park.
Performing before an enthusiastic audience of 8,500 and sharing the stage with world-class Polish and Chicago musicians, Auguscik applied her distinctly fluid vocal style to some of the most sublimely expressive music ever penned. Yes, everyone knows that Chopin stands as one of the greatest composers to have written for the piano, but Auguscik and friends proved that Chopin's miniatures can flourish in a jazz environment, as well.
And though Auguscik hardly was the first jazz musician to make that point, she did so with such elegance and authenticity that one hoped she would return to this repertoire.
She will do precisely that Saturday evening, when she appears on the Contempo-Jazz Double Bill, an annual concert that pairs contemporary classical music with jazz performance of comparable stature, at the University of Chicago's Logan Center for the Arts. Considering how effective Auguscik sounded in 2010, one can only imagine where she has taken this concept.
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