Engines, Jeff Albert Quartet | Hungry Brain | Jazz | Chicago Reader

Engines, Jeff Albert Quartet Critic's Choice Member Picks Recommended Soundboard

When: Sun., June 14, 10 p.m. 2009

New Orleans trombonist Jeff Albert has been a frequent visitor ever since he landed in Chicago after Hurricane Katrina. He soon returned home, but two other Crescent City musicians who’d made the trip, drummer Quin Kirchner and bassist Matthew Golombisky, stayed here; in early 2006 the three of them (and four Chicagoans) formed the Lucky 7s, who have a new album, Pluto Junkyard, out on Clean Feed. Even before Katrina, Albert was working to absorb the influence of free jazz—a genre that rarely takes root in his hometown, with its tradition of celebratory street-parade and dance-band jazz—and the prevalence of those more abstract strains in the Chicago scene has had an unmistakable influence on the excellent new album by his New Orleans quartet. The tunes on Similar in the Opposite Way (Fora Sound), all Albert originals, burst with energy and ideas: the players embrace their New Orleans heritage with wonderful multi­linear improvisation that’s reminiscent of Dixieland-style simultaneous soloing, even as they explore the sort of less structured postbop that’s popular with Chicago’s Umbrella Music community. Albert has a wonderfully fat, buttery tone and a highly melodic style; drummer Dave Cappello and bassist Tommy Sciple make for a limber, funky rhythm section; and saxophonist Ray Moore is not only an excellent foil for Albert but also a forceful, inventive soloist in his own right. The Engines headline. —Peter Margasak

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