Usually, we use this space to extol the demonstrable virtues of a musician or group; every so often, though, we just cross our fingers and hope that a previously unheard venture delivers on its promise. With the exception of the one audience that witnessed an accidental teaming of these musicians two years ago, nobody knows exactly what to expect from this trio, whose members hail from three distinct regions of the Chicago jazz landscape. Fareed Haque has strong ties to the contemporary-jazz scene: a guitar polymath, he has proved equally adept recording with Sting, touring with the Cuban-born jazzman Paquito D’Rivera, or performing solo works from the classical repertoire. Marlene Rosenberg, a representative of the mainstream, has quietly established herself among the very best jazz bassists in a city famous for them, commanding a deep-suede tone with unflappable dexterity. And percussionist Kahil El’Zabar, the most widely recorded of the three, remains a much-acclaimed leader of the city’s jazz avant-garde. Besides the rich legacy of post-60s jazz, though, these musicians can explore some other common ground. One would be world music: Haque has incorporated Spanish and South American influences in his own groups, while El’Zabar’s percussion praxis and compositional conception owe much to Africa; and some years ago, Rosenberg traveled to Argentina to work in a bicultural band there. Rock music may provide another bond. Haque has often skirted the line between jazz fusion and rock improv on his albums; El’Zabar has always boasted a keen interest in modern dance rhythms and is credited in British circles as a prime mover in the creation of house music; and on Rosenberg’s recent debut CD, she stepped away from the bop tradition to craft a set of moody, modernistic songs more in league with the music associated with ECM Records. This could be great. Friday, 9 and 11 PM, Belmont Hotel, 3170 N. Sheridan; 409-2606 or 642-9366.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Francisco Caceres.