Melissa Aldana & Crash Trio | Jazz Showcase | Jazz | Chicago Reader
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Melissa Aldana & Crash Trio 

When: Thu., May 14, 8 & 10 p.m., Fri., May 15, 8 & 10 p.m., Sat., May 16, 8 & 10 p.m. and Sun., May 17, 4, 8 & 10 p.m. 2015
Price: $20-$25
Since winning the prestigious Thelonious Monk jazz competition in 2013 (the first woman to do so), Chilean saxophonist Melissa Aldana has been turning heads not only in her current home of New York but nationally. And with last year’s impressive Melissa Aldana & Crash Trio (Concord), she really made a statement, channeling the spirit and sound of the classic 50s-era trio led by Sonny Rollins to craft some of the most measured and rewarding postbop of 2014. One key to this is her agile rhythm section—bassist and fellow Chilean Pablo Menares and Cuban drummer Francisco Mela—which carves out grooves that snake around as much as they swing; it’s their kinetic activity that allows Aldana to use space as a key ingredient for her richly melodic improvisations. The sense of calm this imparts to the group is impressive, though as New York Times critic Nate Chinen has observed, their dynamic owes a debt to the music of Fly, the elastic trio led by saxophonist Mark Turner that’s been an influence for an emerging class of young jazz musicians. Aldana’s output is high-grade stuff rife with potential, and in her first high-profile visit to Chicago, listeners have the chance to hear her grow over the course of four nights. Drummer Jochen Rueckert recently replaced Menares behind the kit and will be performing with Aldana from here on out. —Peter Margasak

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