CLAUDIO RODITI-ARI BROWN QUINTET
Though raised in Rio, trumpeter and flugelhornist Claudio Roditi has relatively few followers in Brazil, largely because in his music, sambas and forros take a backseat to his impeccable jazz solos. But North American listeners don't always know what to make of him either. Even though he's lived in the U.S. since the 70s, performing with elan in a number of mainstream jazz contexts, his repertoire still shows the strong influence of Brazil's sunny rhythms and melodies. But on both continents, those less hung up on boundaries can simply appreciate that Roditi has a New Yorker's grasp of swing, the Brazilian gift for graceful and pungent lyricism, and an innate sense of how best to combine them in any given piece. He gets to town at least once a year and never disappoints, but this visit offers the extra enticement of two complementary soloists, both knockouts. The muscular freebop of tenor saxist Ari Brown will most likely stoke Roditi's fire; the big-picture perspective of big-band leader and trombonist Slide Hampton should appeal to his natural sense of musical balance. Hampton has gained the most notice for his talents as an arranger, and those may come into play this weekend: three horns are enough to benefit from at least rudimentary chart work. But he also plays in a big, fluid style, with technique that sounds bred in the bone. And since he and Roditi have worked together before, most notably on a 1993 tribute to Dizzy Gillespie, compatibility is all but guaranteed. Friday and Saturday, 9 and 11 PM, and Sunday, 4, 8, and 10 PM, Jazz Showcase, 59 W. Grand; 312-670-2473. NEIL TESSER
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo by Pablo Leonardo.