Jim Trompeter Quintet with Scott Wendhold & George Garzone | Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Jim Trompeter Quintet with Scott Wendhold & George Garzone 

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Chicago pianist Jim Trompeter can't be accused of going easy on himself. A few times a year he gets to lead his own group at the Green Mill, which gives him the chance to showcase his buzz-saw technique, overflowing melodies, and stretched harmonies. So what does he do but go out and hire spectacular east-coast hornmen to join the band--despite the distinct possibility they'll overshadow him. This time the focus shifts to infrequent visitors George Garzone (saxophone) and Scott Wendholt (trumpet). Based in Boston, Garzone teaches at Berklee. He's lent his burry tone and densely patterned solos to albums by George Russell and Bob Moses, and he made a good match for his college classmate Joe Lovano on his own Four's and Two's (NYC Records); nonetheless, devotees know him best through the Fringe, a cooperatively led pianoless trio founded in 1972. Saxists a generation younger often microwave their solos, using cliches to impart a measure of heat; Garzone stokes each fire with care, and his solos can burn right through his accompaniment. Wendholt continues to build his reputation as the best thirtysomething trumpeter you've never heard of. He's one of those guys who make it sound almost too easy: he has a tone like melted butter, crisply convoluted ideas, and technique that can startle when he decides to really air it out. Wendholt has recorded four albums, each better than its predecessor, but since they were all for the Dutch Criss Cross label he has achieved less popular acclaim that most of his peers. Still, no less a trumpeter than Jon Faddis--who on a good day can outplay the world--speaks highly of Wendholt, featuring him regularly in the Carnegie Hall Jazz Band. Trompeter, too, knows how to pick 'em, but he also knows a lot about blending his talents with his guests', which makes these "weekend bands" consistently better than one has any right to hope. Friday, 9 PM, and Saturday, 8 PM, Green Mill, 4802 N. Broadway; 773-878-5552. Garzone will also run a clinic on Saturday at 3 PM at the Bloom School of Jazz, 218 S. Wabash; 312-957-9300. NEIL TESSER

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Jim Trompeter; Scott Wendholt photos uncredited.


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