Doug Carn | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Doug Carn 

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DOUG CARN

Doug Carn's music scratches just the right spot between soul and jazz, the one that gives "acid jazz" fans a special tingly feeling. Though he's an accomplished pianist and lyricist, it's his deeply groovy, roots-conscious organ playing that's earned him a capital-city star on the big map of blues-based music--and it's as an organist that he's coming to Chicago. A native Floridian, Carn began his professional career in the late 60s, right out of college, gigging with soul-jazz saxophonists Stanley Turrentine and Lou Donaldson and backing singer Irene Reid; in '69 he released an LP on Savoy, Doug Carn Trio, that's now extremely sought after on the international rare-groove market. He grew into his own sound in the 70s with a series of popular outings for the Black Jazz label that included Infant Eyes (1971), Spirit of the New Land (1972), and Revelation (1973). Some of his most beloved music from that period he made with his wife, Jean, who sang in the great tradition of Afrocentric cosmic-love balladeers; their work together, much of it featuring his lyrics, was collected in 1976 on Higher Ground (Ovation). After the couple separated Jean changed her professional name to "Carne," and since then she's been singing pop soul--she's appeared on two Earth, Wind & Fire records and performed with Ramsey Lewis. In the 90s, a collection of Doug's work appeared courtesy of a revived Black Jazz imprint; he's also turned up unexpectedly as guest pianist on a rock record by J.D. & the Ravens (Rimshot, 1997) and rounded out a flock of four Hammond B-3s--alongside Joey DeFrancesco, Reuben Wilson, and Dr. Lonnie Smith--for one incarnation of the Essence All Stars, on their 1997 Bongobop (Hip Bop). Carn will be joined for this gig by two locals, guitarist Jeff Parker and drummer Chad Taylor. Saturday, 11 PM, Elbo Room, 2871 N. Lincoln; 773-549-5549.

JOHN CORBETT

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