He’s young, he’s gifted, he’s British–which cannot be ignored. In fact, if only for the attention he has drawn to a long-moribund, suddenly burgeoning jazz scene, saxist Courtney Pine may well be the most important British jazzman of the last 25 years. Fortunately, there’s some steak behind the sizzle. Although he’s still in his early 20s, and despite having few local gurus with whom to apprentice, Pine has used a searing tone and rhythmically forceful improvisations to build a credible and exciting style. The two albums under his own name, as well as the one by his intriguing big band (the Jazz Warriors), have left no doubt that jazz’s “neoclassic” movement stretches across the Atlantic. The main American exponents of jazz revivalism–Wynton Marsalis, Branford Marsalis, Terence Blanchard and Donald Harrison–have looked to the mid-60s bands of Miles Davis and Wayne Shorter for inspiration; Pine, the youthful veteran of British funk and reggae groups, has locked onto John Coltrane, and at his best he approaches the driving, spiritual fervor that Coltrane embodied. Saturday, Fedoras, 1531 N. Wells; 664-1199.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Nick White.