Tim Hagans & Rick Margitza

While these two relatively young journeymen are less well-known than many of their contemporaries, that fact says more about the music business than it does about their capabilities: their previous Chicago appearance, about a year ago, provided plenty of intelligent and exciting jazz modernism. Tim Hagans, the trumpeter, has appeared in bands led by Woody Herman, Mel Lewis, and current media darling Maria Schneider, but his name still rings a bell only with the cognoscenti. Nonetheless, his trumpet work chimes and peals, revealing his grasp of both the instrument and its traditional leadership role in jazz, and he presents his ideas with unusual clarity. Similarly, tenor saxist Rick Margitza–despite a stint with Miles Davis in the 80s–commands less attention than many saxists now working in a similar style, which features a busy, potent technique and slightly metallic tone derived from Wayne Shorter via Mike Brecker. Yet Margitza proves more successful than most in building his solos with increasingly complex phrases (although he occasionally succumbs to the pitfalls of the process, constructing an elegant edifice that turns up empty). Having worked together on several albums and a number of club dates, Hagans and Margitza have achieved an easy interplay based on their mutual respect for the music of the late 60s, when such artists as Davis and Weather Report had begun expanding jazz to include not only the electronics but also the less rigid harmonic structures of rock. But Hagans and Margitza are neither archivists nor atavists–while they can summon up the melodic energy and improvisational contours of the best fusion, that idiom provides only one of several colors in their impressive musical spectrum. Pianist Jim Trompeter leads the Chicago rhythm section. Friday, 9 PM, and Saturday, 8 PM, Green Mill, 4802 N. Broadway; 773-878-5552.


Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photos/Jeffrey Scales/Judi Schiller.