LARRY GRAY TRIO | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Someday genetic engineering will create the perfect jazz bassist; until then, Larry Gray will have to do. As a soloist he blows most of his peers away: originally a guitarist, he has a strong tone but a feathery technique, which allows him to construct statements that would sound natural coming from a tenor sax or trumpet. His arco work is especially remarkable--Gray got a master's in classical cello after he'd already made his name as a top-flight jazzman. Another bassist with this kind of virtuosity might never let you forget it, but Gray has the good taste to tamp it down when he's not the main attraction. Over the past three decades that's made him a first-call sideman, and he's supported dozens of local bands and countless visiting luminaries. Even when he backs a star, though, he's often the best musician onstage. Gray leads his own gigs less frequently; this one, featuring kinetic pianist Jim Trompeter and drum dynamo Dana Hall, celebrates the release of the trio's excellent new CD, One Look (on the bassist's own Graywater label). a 8 PM, Green Mill, 4802 N. Broadway, 773-878-5552, $10. --Neil Tesser

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