Hank Crawford & Jimmy McGriff | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Hank Crawford & Jimmy McGriff

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Like peanut butter and jelly, stocks and bonds, or spandex and Cher, Hank Crawford and Jimmy McGriff would seem to belong together by dint of natural law. But it wasn't until 1986, when Milestone Records invented the pairing for a funkified winner called Soul Survivors, that alto saxist Crawford and organist McGriff fell into each other's arms. (It's OK; spandex and Cher took years.) Even while fighting his way through the forest of violins that popped up on his mid-70s dates for the CTI label, Crawford showed one of the most committed (and at the same time, sophisticated) styles of saxophonic signifying since Cannonball Adderley; McGriff has avoided the usual organist's dilemma--i.e., comparisons with Jimmy Smith--by developing a rather oblique (but no less forceful) style. None of which matters much when the blues moves in and the instruments start to melt. It's the cleanest grease in town. Tonight through Sunday, New Apartment Lounge, 504 E. 75th St.; 483-7728.

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