Ed Thigpen Trio | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Ed Thigpen Trio 

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The title of drummer Ed Thigpen's new CD proclaims him to be "Mr. Taste," and there exists no stronger evidence for that appellation than his association with Oscar Peterson. Before Thigpen joined him in 1959, Peterson's trio used no drummer, relying instead on Herb Ellis's guitar to supply percussion; that Thigpen could replace a guitarist and maintain the essential balance of the trio says much about his taste, not to mention percussion skill. Thigpen epitomizes the pure mechanics of jazz drumming, to which he brings a far-ranging musical curiosity; the result is a style filled with crisp denotations and flurrying side comments, occasional undercurrents of Africa and the Indies, subtly melodic insertions, and a kit bag of intrinsic shadings and vital colors. Thigpen's musicality goes far beyond just drumming, but both concerns will be fully exposed in the transparent trio he leads next week. It features the lively guitarist Tony Purrone, whose solos push against the music's boundaries just enough to define them, and Chicago bassist Marlene Rosenberg, a woman fully capable of the vast tone, sterling time, and virtuosic counter lines that this format calls for. Tuesday through next Sunday, September 20, Joe Segal's Jazz Showcase, Blackstone Hotel, 636 S. Michigan; 427-4846.

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