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  • Sam Yahel

If you’re checking out any of the four Steely Dan shows that begin tonight, I’d advise you to get there in time to catch the opening act, Sam Yahel. Over the past decade or so Yahel has emerged as one jazz’s most exciting and original organists, eschewing the greasy blues-based sound of Jimmy Smith, Jimmy McGriff, and Jack McDuff in favor of more pianistic, single-note lines a la Larry Young. He’s fronting a quartet this week, with Michael Leonhart on trumpet, Walt Weiskopf on saxophone, and Joe Strasser on drums (though Chicagoan George Fludas will be behind the kit Monday night).