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RON FRIEDMAN

Trumpeter and flugelhornist Ron Friedman has come full circle. In the mid-70s he played with an obscure but fondly remembered fusion quintet called New York Mary, which broke up before Chuck Mangione, Shadowfax, and half the old Arista roster turned "fusion" into a dirty word. He then spent most of the next quarter century immersed in straight-ahead jazz, touring with Woody Herman's band and as a soloist with Frank Sinatra before settling in his native Chicago, where he kept busy in the studios and on jobbing dates. But over the last few years Friedman has used a regular spot at Andy's to develop an eclectic series of projects, and the most recent--the quintet heard on his new self-released CD, Flattering Secret--revisits the fusion of his youth. His timing couldn't be better: Flattering Secret benefits from a renewed interest in Miles Davis's electric music, which became a focus of study and emulation in the 90s. Friedman's version isn't merely nostalgic--he's updated the basic fusion matrix with electronics and layers of world-beat and Latin rhythms. And although the inspiration for this music comes from Miles, especially in terms of the synth manipulation of Friedman's horn, his tone owes more to the brassy extroversion of Maynard Ferguson--an unusual combination. He's partnered up with the two Chicagoans perhaps best suited to this project: keyboardist Robert Irving III, who spent eight years as Miles's musical director and composed, arranged, and produced all the album's tracks, and guitarist John McLean, a spectacular soloist whose bold strokes makes him ideal for revivifying fusion. Saturday, 8 PM, Green Mill, 4802 N. Broadway; 773-878-5552. Friedman and McLean also play at 9 PM every Thursday at Andy's (11 E. Hubbard; 312-642-6805), rotating among several different groups from week to week; these include a Latin jazz outfit, a mainstream band with saxist Jim Gailloreto, and the lineup on Flattering Secret.

NEIL TESSER

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