Jo Ann Daugherty
Caveats, qualifiers and disclaimers run rampant among jazz aficionados, and Kansas City-turned-Chicago pianist Jo Ann Daugherty has likely heard them all. She’s been called a “stunning surprise” (one writer’s attempt to dismiss her provincial status as a Midwestern native) and been outed by a reviewer as “a fox,” as if her considerable improv and compositional chops didn’t warrant attention on their own. Some even claim that her latest disc, Range of Motion, has to be compared to Thelonious Monk and Bill Evans in order to be understood. Instead of listening to these odd dialogues, check out the command Daugherty displays from the bench as a soloist and bandleader; it’s clear that few canned comments can capture the real essence of what she has to offer. Daugherty is the sum of her environment, abilities and influences, but the result — her music — goes far beyond any simple equations.