Louis Hayes Quintet | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Louis Hayes Quintet 

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Louis Hayes joined Horace Silver's quintet while still a teenager (1956, age 19), and he remains a lively, forceful drummer of the hard-bop school, with more than enough sass and flash to satisfy those looking for fireworks. But in the last 20 years, Hayes has proved to be at least as adept a bandleader, anchoring combos that have starred Junior Cook, Joe Henderson, Freddie Hubbard, and Woody Shaw. That role is the one in the spotlight this weekend: his current quintet is a mind-boggling collection of terrific players that haven't been heard in Chicago in too many years. Most intriguing is the inclusion of Charles Tolliver, a hard-blowing and inventive trumpeter who seemingly dropped off the scene entirely in the 80s; what he's playing now is anyone's guess, but the chance to find out is worth the price of admission. On tenor saxophone is Billy Harper, whose soulburst intensity makes his music something akin to a force of nature; his brief (almost secretive) appearance here last year was his first in nearly a decade, and it was as mesmerizing as one could have hoped. Pianist George Cables brings melodic grace and tightly cropped harmonies to the mix, which is balanced by bassist Clint Houston--another attractive and well-traveled player. If these names are new to you, don't worry: name recognition be damned, this is an all-star lineup that promises plenty. Tonight and Saturday, 9 and 11 PM, and Sunday, 4, 8, and 10 PM, Joe Segal's Jazz Showcase, Blackstone Hotel, 636 S. Michigan; 427-4300.


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