Eric Schneider | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Eric Schneider 

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Eric Schneider might be labeled a traditionalist--except that he's got his ears open to newer sounds than those of the bebop masters who shaped his concept of the saxophone. But you can't just call him a bebopper and be done with it either, because his comprehension of the swing saxophone giants is sure and prevalent. He's that grand contradiction--a young veteran; he's also a no-argument bitch-of-a-player. His two gigs this week find him with different bands, and I imagine that two distinct aspects of Schneider's musical personality will emerge. On Saturday, Schneider the Young features the sparkling piano work of Mike Kocour as well as the vocalist JoBelle; both sail along the mainstream while evincing thoroughly modern sensibilities. On Wednesday, Schneider the Veteran shares the frontline with tenor man Eddie Johnson--whose sweet tone and hard drive make him the city's preeminent swing saxophonist--and John Young, whose witty cutaways and lithe energy belie his years. Schneider himself could be considered, in many ways, a throwback, reveling in sheer virtuosity, fierce tempi, and the inner workings of classic tunes; but he avoids revivalism by turning these strong and recognizable influences into something that's pretty much his own. Saturday, Moosehead Bar & Grill, 163 W. Harrison; 922-3640. Wednesday, 5 PM, Andy's, 11 E. Hubbard; 642-6805.

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