Marcin Januszkiewicz Chicago Coalition

Less than a week after Pulaski Day another valued Pole gets his day. Unfortunately Marcin Januszkiewicz Day also seems to come only once a year, even though the pianist’s bright and efficient septet deserves more exposure than that. (Marcin’s self-produced album, last year’s Old Dream, helped a little, capturing the band at its peak and proving to be among the year’s best local releases.) The emphasis belongs on the versatile repertoire into which Marcin channels his talents and on the solo space afforded his sidemen, all of whom qualify as noteworthy veterans of the local scene. Hornmen Jerry DiMuzio (saxes) and Ryan Schultz (bass trumpet) offer up measured, blithely swinging solos, and their tones blend into an archetypal hard-bop veneer. But Marcin sharpens the contrast of this sound by playing them off against the vibraphone of Jim Cooper–whose work on the CD stands as probably his best on disc. This tweaking also distinguishes the way in which percussionist Alejo Poveda affects the mix: his armament of little instruments (as well as congas) carries a tonal as well as rhythmic import. Bassist Nick Tountas and drummer Rusty Jones complete the rhythm section with Marcin, and you could hardly find a better balanced triad: only Jones could qualify as flamboyant, yet the three don’t lack for drive or spirit and read one another like longtime spouses. Taken together, the Chicago Coalition pilots the local mainstream about as well as you could want, drawing on familiar talents to extend this leader’s particular perspective–in much the way that jazz record labels of the 50s and 60s would draw upon their stables of musicians to realize the vision of one or another of them, in the process chronicling the larger context in which they all worked. Saturday, 8 PM, Green Mill, 4802 N. Broadway; 878-5552. NEIL TESSER

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