Chicago saxophonist Gerrit Hatcher steps into the spotlight with an impressive solo practice | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

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Chicago saxophonist Gerrit Hatcher steps into the spotlight with an impressive solo practice

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Improvised solo saxophone performance isn’t the kind of thing you’d expect a 26-year-old newcomer to the scene to jump into with both feet. But Gerrit Hatcher makes a convincing case that he’s ready on his new cassette, Good Weight (Amalgam), a succinct offering that keeps the focus on basic ideas. The album begins with a pair of dedications to two often overlooked heavies of the free-jazz era—fellow tenor saxophonists Frank Lowe and Frank Wright—on which Hatcher reveals a flair for motific improvisation, uncorking a richly marbled tone spiked with leaps into his instrument’s extreme upper register. The pieces reflect the way their dedicatees bridged the gap between postbop propulsion and outward-bound exploration. The elliptical array of themes on the final piece, “Libido Farce (9 Brief Movements),” may raise questions about Hatcher’s ability to sustain more weighty explorations over the long haul, but it sure doesn’t come off as jumpy or erratic. Each little melodic, rhythmic, or coloristic scheme flows naturally into the next, with the saxophonist moving into more tender passages as easily as he blows down walls.   v

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