Charlie Kohlhase Quintet | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Charlie Kohlhase Quintet 

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In from Boston rides this pianoless quintet, one of the better bands you haven't heard. Charlie Kohlhase's combo boasts three horns and a palette slightly darker than usual: with a front line of trumpet and baritone and tenor saxes, you don't expect him to be painting pastels. But Kohlhase lets plenty of daylight into this band by way of his own spiffy compositions and the clean, breezy drumming of Matt Wilson. The band has a loose intensity, swinging with purpose as well as humor, and it refuses to be bound by mainstream conventions. (in those respects it resembles the Either/Orchestra, another Boston outfit, which counts Kohlhase as a founding member.) Count on the hornmen for sturdy if not often spectacular solos; of considerably more importance is the way those solos extend and enrich the group's singular sound and style. And Kohlhase, no stranger to the multiphonic registers of his bari sax, produces a fluid sound and chiseled improvisations, building on the sure influence of the late Pepper Adams. Those of us who loved their first CD (titled Research & Development, on Accurate Records) hoped this band might hit town back then; their local debut has taken three years, but I think it will prove worth the wait. It coincides with the imminent release of the band's second album (as yet unheard by me). Saturday, 8 PM, Green Mill, 4802 N. Broadway; 878-5552.


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