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John Moulder

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Chicago these days finds itself in a literally fretful situation: the city is awash in lively and imaginative jazz guitarists. With Bobby Broom, Henry Johnson, and John McLean all appearing on recent CDs--and Fareed Haque and Dave Onderdonk both busy around town (and poised to release their own new discs)--perhaps the least visible of the bunch has been John Moulder. That changes this weekend, when he presides over a party celebrating the release of his new album, Awakening. In terms of timbre, Moulder gravitates toward the grittiest elements of the electric guitar, producing a ringing, at times even coarse sound that makes his bluesier lines all the more persuasive. Moulder attacks the guitar in a fashion similar to John Scofield's, and like Scofield he stirs up a thoroughly satisfying brew of jazz and blues spiced with rock. But Moulder has avoided imitation; his melodies have an airy, darting quality, with which he navigates the line between fusion and more traditional jazz idioms. Many guitarists sound as if they're pushing the notes out into the world; Moulder, on the other hand, just guides them as they whiz out and around the rest of us. His debut CD features such Chicago heavyweights as drummer Paul Wertico and saxist Steve Eisen, who will join him for the unveiling. Saturday, 8 PM, Green Mill, 4802 N. Broadway; 878-5552.

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