Nick Bisesi Quartet | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Nick Bisesi Quartet 

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Gemini (Blujazz), the new album from local saxophonist Nick Bisesi, is exactly what you'd expect given his background: eclectic, rhythmically intense, and sweating blues and funk. Bisesi studied in the 80s with early Chicago avant-gardist Joe Daley and later with Dave Liebman, a Coltrane adept, soprano-sax maven, and alumnus of Miles Davis's electric band. Since returning to Chicago from New York a couple years back, he's recorded with Angel Melendez & the 911 Mambo Orchestra and the newly reorganized Urban Knights with Ramsey Lewis and Bobby Broom. Even when playing something quiet and gentle, Bisesi can't help but infuse the music with throaty emotion. He pushes a hot, humid tone from the tenor sax, and like his most obvious local precedent, Steve Eisen, he uses that sound in a variety of contexts. For Gemini Bisesi assembled a versatile and resilient quartet around the chords and textures of guitarist Neal Alger, whose presence on a several other excellent recent discs--by Patricia Barber, Matt Geraghty, Jo Ann Daugherty, and his own duo with vocalist Typhanie Monique--attests to his growing stature. Bisesi's compositions also deserve a nod: they showcase the particular strengths of his style without narrowing the range of the album, which makes room for reggae-jazz and a sleek version of the standard "I Remember You." This show is a CD-release party, and Bisesi will be joined by the lineup from the disc: Alger, bassist Patrick Williams, and drummer Eric Montzka. Tue 8/23, 7 PM, HotHouse, 31 E. Balbo, 312-362-9707, $10.

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