Diane Delin | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Diane Delin 

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The violin remains a relatively odd bird in jazz, despite the fact that its popularity as a soloing instrument predates such standbys as the alto saxophone and the vibraphone. But Chicago can count itself blessed in the matter of jazz fiddlers. Not only do we have the opportunity to hear a bona fide master of the jazz violin in the person of Johnny Frigo, who performs each Monday at Toulouse and who really is among the the world's best; we also get the occasional glimpse of Diane Delin, who seems securely on her way to one day inheriting Frigo's mantle. Delin, as you'd expect from a musician still in her 20s, is conversant with some of the music's more recent developments; what you might not expect is the mature sensitivity with which she approaches older songs and styles, in the process making them quite her own. A serious but lively improviser, she also boasts superb control of the violin's intonation--a skill difficult for violinists in general and especially precarious among jazz players. And one more thing: the lady's not afraid of a challenge. This weekend finds her not at the helm of her own band but rather guest-soloing with the Green Mill All-Stars. Fitting an unusual instrument into a preexisting combo is no guarantee of success; in this case, though, I don't think you have to worry. Tonight, 9 PM, Green Mill, 4802 N. Broadway; 878-5552.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Sue Martens.

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