There aren't enough good clarinetists in this city! At least not that I know of. Where are you hiding, if you're there?
One of the best to be heard, however, is Kim Cusack. With a sound somewhere between Pete Fountain and Benny Goodman, he's an expert interpreter of the tunes which were popular in even the early part of LAST century. But, of course, many of these songs (especially those of dixieland heritage and 30's-40s big band era) have become lasting standards, if not always played as often as once was the case. Cusack is presently leading a quartet at Andy's on Wednesday evenings (the early set) through December. His inclusion of guitarist Andy Brown as part of the group adds an extra element of excitement that isn't particularly common in instrumental combos of this kind. (Well, that is, if you can find this sort of small group highlighting clarinet anywhere else, anyway.) So check them out and hear something unique, worthwhile, of lasting traditional jazz.
Corey Wilkes is one of the hot young lions on the Chicago jazz scene. His abilities on trumpet are quickly earning him well deserved renown. He leads an outstanding quintet which follows upon Cusack's group (and moves things up a few decades in the process.) With a tight band and some excellent players all, it is something truly notable in the current available musical offerings ongoing. If Wilkes and his cats (most significantly saxophonist Marquel Jordan) are as on as they were last week, you won't be disappointed.
Finally, the aforementioned Andy Brown celebrates the release of his debut CD, simply entitled Trio and Solo, with a live performance at Katerina's tonight (Wed, Nov. 14) featuring none other than his trio and solo offerings. Brown is a quite adept instrumentalist with an interesting musical voice. He's been quietly building a reputation as someone solid, and thus finds himself regularly featured at the key clubs with the better bands around town. Yet his cool demeanor, which is an asset in his sound and work, can let him pass under the radar screen if you aren't paying close attention. So make sure to see what he's all about and drop by the release party, buy his disk, or both!