David Young | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

David Young 

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Trumpeter David Young is on a pretty impressive streak. His debut album, last spring's Appassionata (Big Chicago)--an excellently crafted if preciously conceived suite, with four "acts" that address the varied colors of love--earned a warm reception from jazz radio and the midwestern music press. He got the nod to play the Chicago Jazz Festival in September, and later that fall at the Chicago Humanities Festival he premiered a commissioned piece celebrating the musical legacy of Bronzeville; earlier this month, the Tribune's Howard Reich gave the Young bandwagon its biggest push by naming the 23-year-old one of 16 "Chicagoans of the Year" in the arts. Getting anointed by the World's Greatest's jazz critic might've gone to Young's head, but instead he capped his big run by returning to Northwestern to finish his degree--suggesting that he has a bit of humility to go along with his bravura, and might actually grow into his accolades. He has a cheery, buoyant trumpet style strongly marked by the influence of Terence Blanchard--even Young's darker ballad work has an innate optimism--and by welcome touches of early Freddie Hubbard. His writing artfully reflects a hodgepodge of models both classic (Duke Ellington, Wayne Shorter) and modernist (Blanchard, Wynton Marsalis). On Appassionata his carefully chiseled solos have heft as well as mobility, and when he drops the "artiste" trappings he adopted for the album and just shouts to the rafters, he can challenge any trumpeter in town for sheer power. Precociously poised and in obvious command of his craft, he has the tools to become a standout--and to do it quickly, once he separates his own voice from the chorus of those whose work he's studied. Young will perform at the Jazz Institute of Chicago's annual Jazz Fair, where he and his band the New Republic will be one of seven acts on the bill. Friday, January 25, 9:20 PM, Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington; 312-427-1676.

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