John Moulder Quartet | Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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John Moulder Quartet


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John Moulder took four years to give us his second album, Through the Open Door (on his own little Mo-Tonal Records)--and the new collection so outstrips its predecessor, in variety, nuance, insight, and authority, that it feels more like four light-years. Toiling in the shadow of the Lord by day, as a priest at an Oak Park church, the Chicago guitarist has beefed up his acoustic playing, refined the raw passion of his electric, and settled in with a rhythm section as sympathetic as it is stellar. The subtlest aspect of Moulder's development is the most impressive: his ability to incorporate the influence of such major stylists as John Abercrombie and Pat Metheny without sounding like any of them. Moulder subscribes to the romantic ethos these guitarists have shaped, but his sharp attack and imaginative phrasing give his lines a distinct definition; and on the 18-minute epic called "Harbor Way" he and his band meander down noirish paths that would be decidedly out of place in the gauzy watercolors of some of his contemporaries. Pianist Jim Trompeter is at his best on Through the Open Door--he supports Moulder like Atlas--and bassist Eric Hochberg and drummer Paul Wertico round out the group. That all these musicians have worked together often, in varying lineups with one or the other leading, is evident in virtually every note. Friday, 9 PM, and Saturday, 8 PM, Green Mill, 4802 N. Broadway; 773-878-5552. NEIL TESSER

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): uncredited photo.

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