Sabertooth | Green Mill | Jazz | Chicago Reader

Sabertooth Soundboard Recommended Critics' Picks

When: Sat., Nov. 27, 12 a.m. 2010

Sabertooth have held down the Saturday-night graveyard shift at the Green Mill for 18 years, and it's been eight years since the quartet had a lineup change. But in this case familiarity hasn't bred contempt—it's created a steady supply of energy, which powers tunes that are easy to like and hard to sleep through, no matter how long ago your bedtime was. Organist Pete Benson is playfully droll on the "Odd Couple" theme, and his adroit pedal work locks right into the fleet, hard-swinging groove of drummer Ted Sirota on the original "It's Surely Gonna Flop If It Ain't Got That Bop"; both appear on the combo's most recent album, 2007's Dr. Midnight (Delmark). But saxophonists Cameron Pfiffner and Pat Mallinger—whose two horns inspired Sabertooth's name, suggesting as they do the eyeteeth of a big cat—are the ones who provide the band with its inexhaustible stream of ideas about how to meet the expectations of an after-hours jazz-party crowd without being slaves to convention. They can wail their way through the changes on a Horace Silver tune, then turn around and find the funk in a Grateful Dead song. —Bill Meyer

Price: $5 before 2 AM, free afterward

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