Lin Halliday | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Craggy, slightly bowed, mostly mended: with his tenor saxophone in hand and a cigarette peering out between his bony fingers, Lin Halliday looks like an advertisement for what used to be considered "the jazz life." Fortunately, the experiences that led to this image are regularly transmuted through his horn; in the process they become vibrant, sometimes even electrifying examples of what bebop has to offer. Halliday carves out a tough, three-dimensional sound on the tenor. His ear is especially attuned to the rich harmonic lode that the beboppers so assiduously mined, and when he's in full swing the chords readily cough up their secrets and spill them across his solos. One other thing: Halliday never makes it look easier than it is, and his music seems to revel in the satisfaction of hard work done well. Halliday came of age when Chicago boasted even more tough tenors--Johnny Griffin, Eddie Harris, Nicky Hill, Ira Sullivan--than it does now, and that energy remains more than an echo in his music today. Saturday, Bop Shop, 1807 W. Division; 235-3232.

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