February 14, 2013
The death of esteemed Chicago pianist Ken Chaney in December, at age 73, caught his fans by surprise and left a hole in the city's musical life.
As bandleader, he presided over such distinctive ensembles as the funk-tinged Ken Chaney Xperience, which combined vocals and instrumentals in unconventional ways, and the Awakening, which illuminated his experimental leanings.
Chaney had led the Awakening in a triumphant performance during the Made in Chicago jazz festival in Poznan, Poland, just a month before he died of natural causes.
But Chaney's influence stretched far beyond the stage, for he was a mentor to generations of emerging Chicago musicians, thanks to his work with the education programs of the nonprofit Jazz Institute of Chicago.
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