Fairfield Four | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Fairfield Four 

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Nashville's Fairfield Four, currently one of the most esteemed close-harmony a cappella gospel groups in the country, was also one of the top gospel draws throughout the south in the 40s and 50s. They disbanded in 1960, but reunited in 1980 and have been together ever since. (Ther are five in the Fairfield Four these days, and in the past there've been as many as six, but never mind the niggling.) Isaac "Dickie" Freeman remains one of the most astounding bass singers in all of creation: sounding sometimes like a string bass, sometimes like a tuba, he adds a powerful, resonant bottom to the group's soul-soothing harmonies. The Four are masters at long, sustained phrases of impeccable control and an almost ethereal richness, but on an up-tempo number they prove themselves as adept at stirring the spirit as they are at bringing it peace. This type of elegant passion, infused with dignity and faith but devoid of self-righteousness or forced sanctity, is virtually a lost art; all the Fairfielders are at least in their 70s, so catch them while you can. They open for Lyle Lovett in this rare Chicago appearance. Sunday, 7:30 PM, Chicago Theatre, 175 N. State; 443-1130 or 559-1212.

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

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