Jim Trompeter Quartet featuring Scott Wendholt 

JIM TROMPETER QUARTET FEATURING SCOTT WENDHOLT

The jazz world holds a special niche in its collective heart for hot new trumpet players, much as the classical crowd maintains a spot for that next great operatic tenor. Whether the vagaries of fate and fortune will elevate Scott Wendholt to that niche remains to be seen, but he certainly has put himself in the running, with three ear-straightening albums on the Criss Cross label and his membership in the New York quintet led by saxophonist Vincent Herring. Like many other young trumpeters, Wendholt displays a cool ease supported by a practiced command of previous idioms and innovations; nonetheless, he offers a distinctly different package from that of his contemporaries. He plays longer (and correspondingly more complex) lines than Roy Hargrove, but his sense of balance prevents them from either imploding or petering out. His tone has more of an edge than Nicholas Payton's--almost a pucker--and his improvisations are more intriguingly ambiguous than those of Marcus Printup. Wendholt might just be the best young trumpeter you never heard, a musicians' secret. Jon Faddis, a modern trumpet god, thought enough of Wendholt to hire him for the Carnegie Hall Jazz Orchestra, and when Jim Trompeter (one of Chicago's best pianists) decided to introduce a new voice to Chicago, he immediately thought of Wendholt, who will bring not only his horn but also his sleek, lithe compositions. Trompeter himself seems poised for a breakthrough as well. His playing, always distinguished by steely technique and muscular, imaginative improvising, has lost much of its emotional baby fat: the pianist seems more committed to the music at hand, shaping his solos with a greater attention to context. And with Kelly Sill on bass and Joel Spencer on drums, Trompeter needn't worry about much else. The rhythm takes care of itself--just as you'd expect with two musicians who've shared the stage so often over the last 25 years that they have the anticipatory impulses of a long-married couple. Friday, 9 PM, and Saturday, 8 PM, Green Mill, 4802 N. Broadway; 773-878-5552. NEIL TESSER

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Uncredited photo of Jim Trompeter.

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