With extended tenures in bands led by pianist McCoy Tyner and drummer Art Blakey–powerhouse percussionists both–bassist Charles Fambrough has learned more than a thing or two about holding the time together. He’s also apprenticed himself to the rhythms and song forms of Brazil, courtesy of Airto Moreira–whose band he anchored in the mid-70s–and gotten a chance to observe the emerging-leader phenomenon, joining Grover Washington’s first touring band and later appearing on Wynton Marsalis’s first album. So is Charles Fambrough ready to lead a hard-grooving, occasionally Brazilian-influenced band of his own? His debut album, last year’s The Proper Angle (CTI), suggests the answer is yes; on it, Fambrough tends to shun the spotlight, preferring to lead from the rear, where his richly grained, almost blowsy tone supports the music like a big, wide hand. (And the occasional nature of his compact, unassuming solos makes them all the more welcome) For his initial Chicago date, Fambrough brings a quartet that stars the delightful and versatile pianist Bill O’Connell and the young tenor saxist Willie Williams. Tonight and Saturday, Bop Shop, 1807 W. Division; 235-3232.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Rueven Kopitchinksi.