CHICAGO ARTISTS PLAYING JAZZ MUSIC FOR JAPAN

A number of Chicago artists are playing jazz music in order to raise money for the Japan relief fund. For starters, a standing-room-only audience jammed the Cultural Center's sprawling Sidney R. Yates Gallery for a "Japanese Earthquake Relief Fundraiser." With minimum suggested donations starting at $50, the event was poised to generate significant financial help for a traumatized nation.

But there was also something beyond money at work here, with several of Chicago's most accomplished jazz artists – many of them Japanese and Japanese-American – producing music of heightened intensity and purpose. The audience responded enthusiastically, making the three-hour marathon an emotionally charged civic event, as well as a concert of distinction (even if the over-reverberant room posed acoustical challenges).

"Today, all of us are Japanese," Gov. Pat Quinn told the crowd, before yielding the podium to Sen. Richard Durbin and other speakers.

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