Terumasa Hino | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Terumasa Hino 

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TERUMASA HINO

Although he has a lower profile in the States than his countrymen Sadao Watanabe or Yosuke Yamashita, trumpeter Terumasa Hino has proved himself their equal with his restless search to reinvent his music. He's a sort of Japanese Miles Davis: He first caught American ears with the 1973 club recording Taro's Mood (Enja)--just three tunes, all long, slow, haunted ballads, one of which, "Alone, Alone, and Alone," proudly bore the stamp of Miles's rueful 1964 epic "My Funny Valentine." In 1977, for the quartet date May Dance (East Wind), he hooked up with Ron Carter and Tony Williams, the bassist and drummer who'd driven the great Davis quintet of the 60s, and guitarist John Scofield, who would join Davis's electric band in the early 80s; the result was one of the standout mainstream recordings of the decade. A few years later, when he made his American-label debut with Double Rainbow (Columbia), he ventured closer to Miles's 1969 fusion prototype, In a Silent Way, this time enlisting former Davis pianist Herbie Hancock and former Davis arranger Gil Evans. And the percussion-and-synth-heavy dectet on his mid-90s album Spark (released here on Blue Note) creates a thick soup of sound analogous to, but not imitative of, Miles's later albums like Decoy and Tutu. Though Hino's full-frontal tone and crisp technique differ markedly from Davis's hooded vulnerability, he does share one specific trait with Miles: he's never really changed his note choices or phrasing, instead varying the settings in which he places his horn; his playing has remained constant even as his music has evolved radically. Hino spent the 90s alternating between albums like Spark and more conventional jazz settings, and in Chicago he'll return to the acoustic quartet format, backed by John Campbell on piano, Dennis Carroll on bass, and George Fludas on drums. Friday and Saturday, 9:30 PM, and Sunday, 8:30 PM, Lush Life, 226 E. Ontario; 312-649-5874.

NEIL TESSER

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