Chicago hasn’t gained much fanfare for its trumpeters in quite some time–certainly not since Lester Bowie left town, and maybe not even since the 1950s, when Ira Sullivan threw flames from one end of the lake to the other. But the situation is on the verge of a turnaround, thanks to young veterans like Art Davis and Michael McLaughlin, and comparative newcomers like Rex Richardson and Rob Mazurek. Mazurek may have had to visit Scotland to record his first album–last year’s Man Facing East (on Edinburgh’s Hep Jazz)–but his music needs no passport to get through to listeners. He has a spry tone and an unaffected feel for the hard-bop tradition: he brings a hearty sense of serious fun to the fast numbers, and on a muted ballad he sounds as if he actually belongs to the lineage, rather than just having studied it. His partner in time, saxist John Brumbach, cut his teeth with big-name R & B bands on the west coast before turning to jazz when he returned to Chicago; he uses a smooth, understated sound and a straightforward solo style, marking a tried-and-true contrast to Mazurek’s more complex improvisations. The trumpet-tenor connection has a loosey-goosey unity, as well it should: Mazurek and Brumbach double as the horn section in the blues band led by guitarist Dave Specter, and their jazz designs benefit from just that hint of juke-joint modern. Anchoring the rhythm section, drummer George Fludas offers his usual tastefully energetic drive. Friday, 9 PM, Green Mill, 4802 N. Broadway; 878-5552. Thursdays, 5 PM, Andy’s, 11 E. Hubbard; 642-6845.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Photos/Jim Alexander Newberry.