More and more, I keep hearing from people who just want to stay home and quietly wait out the New Year's hoopla. But if the calendar shift still shouts "party" to you, the pairing of trumpeter Clark Terry and the alto-tenor man Red Holloway--which has turned into something of a tradition at the Jazz Showcase--is probably just the ticket. An early idol of the young Miles Davis, a refreshing force in Duke Ellington's band of the 50s, and the mealymouthed scat "mumbler" of Tonight Show fame in the 60s, the septuagenarian Terry packs a lot of jazz history. That might be reason enough to hear him--aside from the fact that he still plays with so much vitality and imagination. Terry's trumpet, with its sweet bright tone and sunny melodic contours, always seems to wear a smile. Holloway, his annual Chicago partner, has experienced something of a revival in recent years, with his juicy-bluesy style earning him guest-soloist status on several prominent recordings. This year the young alto saxist Jesse Davis joins the fray, and his limber and at times voluptuous soloing should up the ante at least a bit. Davis hasn't yet outgrown his major influences: his sound and style still emulate Charlie Parker as filtered through Cannonball Adderley. But on his recently released Concord CD he plays with in-the-moment emotion as well as calculated technique, and his improvisations carry enough promise to warrant a little patience. His holiday-week sparring partners should provide the necessary incentive to step up a notch; and with the forceful modernist Willie Pickens on piano, the rhythm section will certainly keep the whole crew on its toes. Thursday, December 29, through next Sunday, January 1, Joe Segal's Jazz Showcase, Blackstone Hotel, 636 S. Michigan; 427-4846.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photos/David Lubarsky, Marc PoKempner.