Since he returned to the jazz life five years ago, pianist Don Bennett’s fan club has steadily expanded, and for all the right reasons. His playing reflects lots of tradition and personal energy; he manages to boost a bad rhythm section and sail above a good one; and his music most often melds serious improvisation with the pure communication that distinguished the-brainy-yet-soulful pianists who dominated the 50s and early 60s–his stuff is meat-and-potatoes, but the seasonings really add something extra. Still basking in the laser-light of his recently released CD Sleeping Giant (on the local Southport label), Bennett sounds fine in tried-and-true trios, but he’s also partial to a three-horn sextet; and his solos sound even better framed by the contributions of such eminent improvisers as trumpeter Art Hoyle and young reedman Art Porter, both of whom appear with Bennett this weekend. Saturday, 8 PM, Green Mill, 4802 N. Broadway; 878-5552.

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