Guy Fricano Sextet | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Guy Fricano Sextet

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Jazz has always exhibited a serious machismo: consider how often such attributes as speed, endurance, and propulsion shape the music and our discussions of it. No instrument has embodied these elements more than the trumpet, and few Chicago trumpeters have funneled them into music as splendidly as Guy Fricano. Fricano has an expansive, almost blowsy tone, and he throws it around with no little swagger: you can hear that he loves meeting the challenge of a tricky theme; driving through a tune at high speed, as the rhythm section bears down hard, he looks to be having the time of his life. He'd have to love it; otherwise he could never relax enough to craft the joyous and often inventive melodic turns that highlight his solos. Like Freddie Hubbard, Fricano can wrap that big sound around a ballad and do it justice, but such interludes serve as exactly that--interludes--in Fricano's sets, and you can almost hear the engines revving up in the background. In recent months Fricano's club gigs have found him playing in a drummerless trio, a far too intimate setting for his force-of-nature dynamism. But this weekend he appears in his chosen milieu, with the powerful drummer Robert Shy anchoring a three-horn sextet. Hang on to your hat. Saturday, 8 PM, Green Mill, 4802 N. Broadway; 878-5552.

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