Judy Roberts Trio | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Judy Roberts Trio 

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When Judy Roberts sings "I Got It Bad," she starts in the middle of the tune--at the bridge--and so by the time she hits the more familiar main melody, it's in a different context, and it sounds slightly out of place and altogether fresh. At her best, Roberts offers up subtle touches like that in addition to her broader keyboard strokes; at less than her best, you'll have to settle for a lively, witty pianist having a ball on material ranging from obscure jazz classics to realigned standards. With the simpatico backing of bassist Jim Cox and drummer Mark Wolfley, Roberts sounds awfully good: she still has an unteachable sense of what works on a synthesizer, and her singing has lost most of the "hip" angles that used to get in the way. Some credit is due the environment, too: when you provide a great piano for an excellent pianist, you shouldn't be surprised when the music's this good. Tuesdays through Sundays, George's, 230 W. Kinzie; 644-2290.

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