Judy Roberts prepares to say farewell again

"I really got used to those black parking boxes you have here in Chicago – that was a big hurdle for me, because ... working those has been a challenge," says Roberts, reflecting on the past three months.

"I value smaller places like Katerina's (on West Irving Park Road) even more than ever. Watching a small place persevere is great. And 3160 (a cabaret on North Clark Street), where they're doing it against all odds.

"It restores my faith that people will come out to hear good music."

Even so, the farewells have not been fun.

"My final speeches are real verklempt," she says, using the Yiddish word for emotionally choked up. "I'm thinking about saying goodbye to people, and everyone is crying.

"It's heartwarming and bittersweet.

"The bittersweet factor is on the rise."

Judy Roberts leads her trio, plus saxophonist Greg Fishman, at 8 and 10 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday; 4, 8 and 10 p.m. Sunday; at the Jazz Showcase, 806 S. Plymouth Ct.; $20; 312-360-0234 or jazzshowcase.com.

To read more from Howard Reich on jazz, go to chicagotribune.com/reich.