Bob Mintzer With Trio New | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Bob Mintzer With Trio New 

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Fame is funny. During the last decade, reedman Bob Mintzer has been a savvy modernist, known in jazz circles for his strong sound (blending tonal elements of two contrasting tenor-sax models, Wayne Shorter and Michael Brecker) and his busy, muscular solos. Along the way, while leading a series of big-band dates for the small DMP label--of his own arrangements in the "contemporary jazz" vein--he's also established a reputation on the college and high school band circuits, where his charts are highly prized. And here at the end of 1991, Mintzer is essentially the same musician--except that now he's also the frontline horn for the wildly popular Yellowjackets (whose musical integrity rose significantly when he joined up last year). How that will affect those coming to see him is anyone's guess; what is not open to conjecture is the fact that in Chicago, Mintzer will get a chance to stretch out in ways you don't hear on record--that is, free of both big-band and pop-success constraints. What's more, he'll have a rhythm section guaranteed to facilitate (if not actually accelerate) the process. Trio New (as they've just started calling themselves) is pianist Laurence Hobgood, bassist Eric Hochberg, and drummer Paul Wertico; Open-minded to the point of telepathy, they offer an unusual combination of power and grace, and none of them would qualify as "risk averse." Tonight, 9 PM, and Saturday, 8 PM, Green Mill, 4802 N. Broadway; 878-5552.

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