Put on James Brown's "It's a Man's, Man's, Man's World" and ask yourself, Who's that supertight drummer stitching the sexist anthem to my heart? That's Bernard "Pretty" Purdie, long known to devoted soul-jazz fans as one of the most unflaggingly supportive percussionists on the scene. Purdie's got solid credentials on both sides of the hyphen, having backed soul stars like Brown and Aretha Franklin and jazz legends from Louis Armstrong to Rahsaan Roland Kirk. But he's really made his mark in the hazy turf in between, and his economical kit work is best appreciated on sides by guitarist Boogaloo Joe Jones, saxophonists Lou Donaldson and Gene Ammons, and organists Jimmy Smith and Charles Kynard. For the first half of the 70s he was the house drummer at funky- jazz outlet CTI Records; he also made a handful of recordings as a leader during the same period, but they were uneven. (Only the twofer Purdie Good and Shaft!, on the British BGP/Ace, and an installment of Prestige's Legends of Acid Jazz series are currently available.) Judging from his performances on a series of records by alto saxophonist Hank Crawford in the 80s, however, he's still got what caught the ear of the godfather of soul all those decades ago. For this date Purdie will play with Chris Foreman, a gritty Chicago organist that some enterprising funky-jazz label should sign to a multialbum contract toot sweet. And with soul-jazz guitar hero George Freeman in the mix, greasy goodness is all but guaranteed. The Crown Royals open. Saturday, 10 PM, Elbo Room, 2871 N. Lincoln; 312-409-0099, 773-549-5549, or 312-559-1212. JOHN CORBETT
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo by Luiz Foigtander-ACT.