Chris Madsen Quartet | Jazz Showcase | Jazz | Chicago Reader

Chris Madsen Quartet Soundboard Recommended

When: Mon., June 25, 8 & 10 p.m. 2012

Last year saxophonist Chris Madsen, a member of the jazz faculty at Northwestern, put a unique spin on early jazz with Plays Bix Beiderbecke (JeruJazz), a terrific homage to the legendary trumpet player that subtly transforms the source material. Supported only by guitarist Dan Effland and bassist Joe Policastro, Madsen bypassed any attempt at historic fidelity, playing in a cool swing style a la Lester Young—who was greatly influenced by longtime Beiderbecke cohort Frankie Trumbauer. Now Madsen has self-released a very different album: Pop Art is a solid mainstream collection of warmly melodic postbop originals, its cheeky faux-Roy Lichtenstein cover notwithstanding. That's not to say the album title has nothing at all to do with the music: the execution is precise, and the crisp song forms follow a pop template, with verses, choruses, and bridges. Madsen's playing here is very similar to his work on the Beiderbecke disc, despite the hugely different context—he unfurls patient, elegantly constructed, and consistently tuneful lines in the same silky, plush tone, with a touch of Stan Getz in his Prez-like sound. On the album the band Madsen leads consists of guitarist Scott Hesse, pianist Josh Moshier, bassist Charlie Kirchen, and drummers Eric Montzka and Michael Raynor on alternate cuts; Montzka will be the drummer at this release party. —Peter Margasak .

Price: $5-$10

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