Rudy Royston Orion Trio | Constellation | Jazz | Chicago Reader
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click to enlarge Rudy Royston

Rudy Royston

Emra Islek

When: Thu., Dec. 15, 8:30 p.m. 2016
Price: $15, $10 in advance
Over the last decade or so Rudy Royston has established himself as one of jazz’s most tasteful and versatile drummers, a figure who doesn’t draw attention to himself but still brings a magnetic buoyancy to performances. Some of his best work has been in the telepathic trio led by tenor saxophonist JD Allen—though he won’t won’t be performing at Allen’s Constellation show tomorrow night. Instead Royston will lead his own superb trio, one which just dropped the strong new album Rise of Orion (Greenleaf), revealing a much different side of himself despite employing the same instrumental format. Flanked by bassist Yasushi Nakamura and saxophonist Jon Irabagon, Royston, who wrote all but two of the 13 tracks, covers a wide range of styles: composed for his mother, “Sister Mother Clara” is an airy ballad whose delicate soprano sax sets a tender atmosphere, while “Man O To” lays down a looping groove, and “Kolbe War” more explicitly shows off the drummer’s power and polyrhythmic fluency. Also included are a series of brisk, blues-based vignettes named for the stars of Orion. As only makes sense, Royston shows a bit more in this context than when he’s working behind others, but the ensemble sound still comes first.
— Peter Margasak



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