David Schumacher | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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David Schumacher


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Those who yoke themselves to the deep power of the ponderous, once-thought-to-be-ungainly baritone saxophone--which David Schumacher handles as if it weighed no more than a pocket trumpet--fall into two camps. There's the Gerry Mulligan school, which emphasizes the feathery quality of the instrument's upper registers, and then there's the school that jumps right into the pure forcefulness of the bari's remarkable sound--a school that for many years has included just about everyone else. This includes Schumacher, who mines the bari's low strength and exploits the blatant, raspy blaaat that puts an edge on each note; when he gets into his groove, the instrument starts to swing with the inexorable force of an elephant going downhill. Schumacher, who lived in Chicago during the 1980s, has honed his craft by anchoring the reed section of several big bands. That helps explain his style, which harks back to the relatively uncluttered approach taken by the early modern baritone players, such as Cecil Payne and Serge Chaloff--even though you can hear the impact of such later players (and more complex stylists) as Pepper Adams and Nick Brignola. Schumacher returns to Chicago to host a CD-release party for his new album, Every Corner (Amosaya Music). He'll bring with him the excellent pianist Rob Bargad--whose musical inclinations, as documented on his own recordings, will prove invaluable on the many Latin-flavored tunes Schumacher calls--and will reunite with former Chicago running mates Robert Barry (drums) and Karl Leukaffe (vibes). Saturday, 8 PM, Green Mill, 4802 N. Broadway; 878-5552.

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