Perhaps it really is Cleveland’s year: the Indians have reached the series, and Ernie Krivda has a record deal with an international company. To extend the analogy, Krivda fits into the small Cleveland jazz scene in much the way Albert Belle serves the city’s baseball team: he’s not only its most valuable player but also a strong motivating influence on his confreres, both on and off the stage. By extension you can probably include Krivda–even more than his Cleveland-born contemporary Joe Lovano–in a midwestern school of idiosyncratic tenor saxophonists, exemplified by Von Freeman. Like Freeman, Krivda takes a hyperexpressive approach to his instrument that leaves little to your imagination while it fully exclaims his own. You can count on him to offer a swaggering combination of authoritative speed and snappy articulation, carried along on a big and variable tone: meaty-chunky on this tune, sweetly yearning on the next, and broadly humorous on those of his own delightfully offbeat compositions that plug directly into his eastern European roots. It’s intriguing to hear these qualities redirected into the series of chamber-jazz ballads that forms the framework for Krivda’s new duo album, The Art of the Ballad (Koch)–it suggests capturing a whirlwind in a Coke bottle–but in Chicago Krivda will give vent to the more explosive dynamics of the standard quintet format. He’ll appear as a special addition to the quartet led by trumpeter Brad Goode (himself the author of a solid new CD). With any luck the group will also include local sitters-in; Krivda thrives on new friends and opportune challenges. Friday, 9 PM, Deja Vu Bar Room, 2624 N. Lincoln; 871-0205. Saturday, 8 PM, Green Mill, 4802 N. Broadway; 878-5552.

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