Skerik's Syncopated Taint Septet | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Skerik's Syncopated Taint Septet 

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Take a mix of funk and hip-hop rhythms laced with New Orleans street beat, slather it in tried-and-true harmonies for five horns, and keep it airy enough to incorporate Basie-style riffs and Balkan counterpoint. Voila, Skerik's Syncopated Taint Septet--a hearty hybrid of latter-day rhythms grafted to jazz melodies and chords. Anchored by Hammond organ and heavy on both baritone sax and flute, the ensemble has a cosmopolitan sound that encompasses the earthiness of hard bop and the neon tones of a jam band; its second disc, this year's Husky (Hyena), quivers with smarts and energy. Skerik, a Seattle tenor saxist best known for his work with Charlie Hunter in Garage a Trois, is an unprepossessing front man, handing off most of the solos and almost all the writing. Much of his job as bandleader entailed coming up with the group's concept (reminiscent of the 80s band the Microscopic Septet) and its wry sensibility--illustrated by the name, taken from a statement by a 1930s drug czar about the supposed dangers posed to upright Americans by the "syncopated taint" of jazz. Chris Berry & Panjea opens. a 10 PM, Subterranean, 2011 W. North, 773-278-6600 or 800-594-8499, $12 in advance, $15 at the door.

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