Abrams/Barry/Dewar Trio | Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Abrams/Barry/Dewar Trio


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The legendary set of 1957 recordings of Sonny Rollins at the Village Vanguard remains one of the genuine high-water marks in jazz history. Backed by Elvin Jones and Wilbur Ware, Rollins ripped bop conventions wide open, and the recordings inspired countless pianoless, freedom-seeking trios for decades to come. The Abrams/Barry/Dewar Trio is one of those, though it doesn't swing nearly as hard and makes more deliberate use of wide open spaces. Tenor saxist Ron Dewar can play just about anything--he's a semiregular hard bopper at Andy's and he's also played trad with the Memphis Nighthawks--but in this setting his freer tendencies flourish. His thick tone is flecked with the rich harmonic gilt of Joe Lovano, and no matter how far he may seem to drift from a given tune's mooring, his playing displays a keen melodic logic. Drummer Robert Barry, who played with Sun Ra decades back--he appears throughout the recent Ra collection The Singles--is another hard-bop vet, but his minimal, snare-and-tom-heavy patter is deceptive. What at first appears simple and moderately repetitive is actually brilliantly subtle; his minute rhythmic shifts and sudden accents consistently spur the music on. Bassist Josh Abrams, the trio's leader, has only been on the scene for a little over a year, but his knowledge and surprisingly mature, elegant, and assured writing counter his lack of experience. Isotope opens. Friday, 10 PM, Lunar Cabaret and Full Moon Cafe, 2827 N. Lincoln; 773-327-6666. PETER MARGASAK

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo by James Crump-RSP.

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