A jazz sax quartet wedded to a pianoless rhythm section is hardly a new idea–the World Saxophone Quartet, for one, has fooled around with additional personnel over the years. But with Dead Cat Bounce twentysomething Boston saxophonist Matt Steckler livens up the mix: incorporating a sensibility weaned on rock and at least on speaking terms with jam bands, the music easily morphs from straight-ahead jazz rhythms into a cool backbeat, a tango lilt, or a punk-derived pulse. The lineup includes the excellent tenor and soprano player Jason Hunter and the veteran Charlie Kohlhase, who leads two bands of his own and whose baritone has long anchored the Either/Orchestra. Like most other jazz sax combos, DCB takes advantage of its members’ versatility: the four reedists play a total of ten instruments, and their sound can range from an etiolated balance of opposites (two baritones, soprano, and flute) to a thick-middled bundle of two tenors and two altos. In the five years since Steckler formed the band, it has become a darling of the Boston critics; the writing on their most recent disc, Legends of the Nar (Chonsky), offers enough variety to occasionally make you forget that all the music comes from these same six guys. Yeah, it’s a lousy name. This gig is their first in Chicago. Tuesday, February 18, 9 PM, Boulevard Cafe, 3137 W. Logan; 773-384-8600.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Charles Steckler.