Jazz's version of the power trio--the tenor/bass/drums alliance that Sonny Rollins essentially invented in the late 1950s--finds a sturdy but flexible exemplar in Chicago's Ritual Trio. As you'd expect, this is a format that provides extraordinary freedom for each of its members; as you might have guessed (since this is a recommendation), the Ritual Trio's individual members can more than meet the challenge. Best known is bassist Malachi Favors, a founding member of the Art Ensemble of Chicago, whose deep hardwood sound seems to stem directly from beneath his feet; completing the base of the triad is drummer Kahil El-Zabar, who combines spirituality and sensuality in a single rhythmic context. Above the rhythm sails saxophonist Ari Brown, solidly rooted in Gene Ammons and yet intimately involved in the varied directions of the A.A.C.M. The result is an inexorable, almost mystic balance between earth and space. Wednesdays, At the Tracks, 325 N. Jefferson; 332-1124.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Bruce Powell.