Joanne Brackeen Quartet | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Joanne Brackeen Quartet

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The German jazz authority Joachim Berendt has called pianist Joanne Brackeen "the first representative of a new type of female jazz musician, who does not merely talk about emancipation but is emancipated"; I suppose the proof of that statement lies in the fact that the issue of her being a woman in a man's world never really comes up in discussions of her music. Brackeen has bolstered rhythm sections for Stan Getz and Joe Henderson, and she put in her time with Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers (the only woman, it turns out, to have ever matriculated at that all-male bastion of jazz prep); along the way, she has built upon the work of such contemporaries as McCoy Tyner and Keith Jarrett in forging a rhythmically charged, forceful music that allows for bebop sentiments but is not unmindful of Cecil Taylor. Always a respected player, Brackeen has garnered extra attention with her last few albums--but she really turned some heads with the gigantic quartet she led at last summer's Jazz Festival. It's almost the same group she brings to town next week, with Cecil McBee on bass and Billy Hart on drums--one of the most extraordinary rhythm teams in the music's history--and the revivified saxist Gary Bartz (who brought down the house last year). This is one hot band. Tuesday through next Sunday, July 31, Joe Segal's Jazz Showcase, Blackstone Hotel, 636 S. Michigan; 427-4300.

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