Jack DeJohnette & the Chicago All-Stars | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Jack DeJohnette & the Chicago All-Stars

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Powerhouse drummer Jack DeJohnette grew up in Chicago, and this homecoming finds him in charge of an extraordinary band that telescopes more than 30 years of local history. Von Freeman forged his unique tenor style during the swing-to-bop transition of the 40s; the hard-bop years tempered pianist Jodie Christian and trumpeter/saxist Ira Sullivan, and led to the early-60s experimentation in which DeJohnette himself took part; and Rufus Reid helped establish a new level of accomplishment among Chicago bassists during the 70s, when these various strains had only begun to meld. The makeup of this quintet has more to do with affection and history than with the modern musical territory staked out by DeJohnette--who, after all, didn't even play the drums until 1960. But as a teenage pianist emulating Ahmad Jamal in mid-50s Chicago, he had ample opportunity to hear Freeman, as well as young lions Sullivan and Christian. Drummer DeJohnette launched his career as part of Charles Lloyd's popular mid-60s quartet; he sent it into orbit by joining Miles Davis's band just in time to record Bitches Brew. From there, he has led and contributed to a panorama of projects, most of them informed--though not dominated--by the fruits of fusion. He injects unexpected backbeats into the rhythmic underpinning, along with off-center accents and tiny, breathtaking apneas; these, along with his composer's sense of melody and color, insure that he sounds like nobody else. Friday through Sunday, Joe Segal's Jazz Showcase, Blackstone Hotel, 636 S. Michigan; 427-4846.

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