Listening to the Boston saxophonist George Garzone, one marvels again at the number of excellent musicians who for some reason or another have received relatively little attention outside their home regions (in Chicago, Von Freeman and Eddie Johnson come most immediately to mind). Garzone's gig as a professor at Boston's famous Berklee College of Music usually keeps him on the east coast; his inclinations take him to the realm of freely improvised music, which he has performed steadily with the Fringe--a cooperative pianoless trio--since 1972. In this setting, Garzone's impassioned soprano work recalls that of Dave Liebman with the trio Open Sky in the early 70s. On tenor, Garzone plays with a burry sound, a tonal flexibility, and a command of complex patterns much like that of his widely praised contemporary and college classmate Joe Lovano; small wonder that they work so well together on Garzone's 1995 album Four's and Two's (NYC Records). That recording, Garzone's latest, takes a relatively straight path; but in Chicago, Garzone will appear with a lineup more akin to the Fringe, with Chicago players Larry Kohut (bass) and Jerry Steinhilber (drums). Such a locally assembled band couldn't possibly attain the fervid depth of a quarter-century partnership, but given the capabilities of both local players--Kohut has an almost eerie ability to contain and propel freely structured music, while Steinhilber plays with a slightly oblique beat that can keep the rhythm wide open in music like this--you might well expect a few remarkable nuggets. This rare show coincides with the convention of the International Association of Jazz Educators, which brings not only Garzone to Chicago but also the quirky vocalist and songwriter Nancy King, who will perform before Garzone takes the stage. Friday, 10:30 PM, Bop Shop, 1807 W. Division; 773-235-3232. NEIL TESSER
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