Rob Brown Trio | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Alto saxophonist Rob Brown is a key figure on New York's bustling free-jazz scene but there's more to his game than just squawking. On his latest effort, Sounds (Clean Feed), recorded with cellist Daniel Levin and percussionist Satoshi Takeishi, he demonstrates impressive restraint even during the trio's most explosive moments. Like Cecil Taylor's longtime sideman Jimmy Lyons, Brown has a deep understanding and love of bebop, and his work is often imbued with the magical rhythmic buoyancy that was the trademark of Charlie Parker's sound. Notable for his melodic gifts, Brown meticulously structures his episodic compositions to provide plenty of opportunity for exploration. Never abandoning himself to glib patterns, he embroiders intricate, sometimes downright pretty motifs, playing each phrase with a tenderness that recalls Ornette Coleman. Brown's in town this weekend with two regular collaborators--the fluid drummer Gerald Cleaver and the titanic bassist William Parker, whose own quartet benefits greatly from the saxophonist's membership. See also Saturday. a 9 PM, Velvet Lounge, 67 E. Cermak, 312-791-9050, $15.

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