Gerrit Hatcher updates Chicago’s tenor sax tradition | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

Gerrit Hatcher updates Chicago’s tenor sax tradition 

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click to enlarge Gerrit Hatcher Group

Gerrit Hatcher Group

Ben Billington

Chicago has a rich tenor sax tradition—Gene Ammons, Johnny Griffin, Von Freeman, Fred Anderson, and so on. With tradition comes prescription; Chicago tenors, to fit the mold, need to be able to summon a broad tone, a bluesy vibe, and a steady stream of improvisational ideas. Local saxophonist Gerrit Hatcher has no trouble living up to those demands. The naked sound of his horn, documented on three solo albums, ranges from ear-drilling high notes to door-blocking low end. On last year’s Burnt Pan Rolling Boil (Kettle Hole), Hatcher builds up motifs incrementally, getting plenty of mileage from one notion before moving to the next. But on the brand-new The Good Instinct of the Morning (also on Kettle Hole), his first effort as a bandleader, Hatcher also shows an affinity for those second-wave free jazz saxophonists who recorded for ESP-Disk; the album includes “Man Alone,” which originally appeared on Charles Tyler’s 1967 LP for the storied avant-garde label. On that track, the horn-heavy lineup of Hatcher’s band—which includes cornetist Ben LaMar Gay, tenor saxophonist Keefe Jackson, bassist Katie Ernst, and drummer Julian Kirshner—and the rippling, high-energy improvisations they spin out of the tune’s gospel-tinged theme and Hatcher’s own melodies recall Tyler’s associate Albert Ayler.   v

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