Marc Cary | Beverly Arts Center | Jazz | Chicago Reader

Marc Cary All Ages Image

When: Fri., Aug. 8, 8 p.m. 2014

Postponed. Last year jazz pianist Marc Cary released two albums that displayed his impressive range: the somber, steely solo recital For the Love of Abbey (Motema), featuring songs written by singer Abbey Lincoln, his onetime employer; and the explosive small-group session Four Directions (also on Motema), cut with his fiery, cross-cutting Focus Trio. Cary prefers rhythmically focused improvisation over harmonic experimentation—he worked with bassist Tarus Mateen and drummer Nasheet Waits before they became Jason Moran’s Bandwagon—and that predilection binds together these disparate recordings. He paints a touching musical portrait with For the Love of Abbey, bringing an idiosyncratic grandiloquence to material that originally got its power from Lincoln’s distinctive vocal phrasing; Cary enlivens the songs in his own way, with dramatic motific elaboration, left-hand thunder, and crisp dynamics. He also includes two of his own pieces and delivers a tender reading of Duke Ellington’s “Melancholia,” but even with those he salutes his old boss: Lincoln sang the Ellington tune, and the two originals were written specifically for this project. Four Directions, by contrast, mixes postfusion explorations where Cary alternates between synthesizer and Fender Rhodes (the opening track, “Todi Blues”) and hard-hitting postbop where he treats his piano like a percussion instrument (the all-acoustic “Boom”). He moves between those poles, showing off a holistic embrace of jazz tradition that includes stuttering hip-hop grooves and Randy Weston’s Moroccan-fed experiments. This is a rare Chicago appearance by Cary and the Focus Trio, aka drummer Sameer Gupta and bassist Rashaan Carter. —Peter Margasak

Price: $25, $22 for members

Add a review


Select a star to rate.