Sonny Fortune | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Sonny Fortune


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When the splendid and underappreciated saxist Sonny Fortune played at Jazz Showcase in 2003, he drew from his 2000 album In the Spirit of John Coltrane, throwing himself into a full-tilt reexamination of his relationship to his primary inspiration. For Continuum, recorded later that year for his Sound Reason label, Fortune paid homage to saxist Wayne Shorter and percussionist Mongo Santamaria, with whom Fortune played in the late 60s. Those were just two of the certifiable legends who've benefited from Fortune's contributions. He lifted McCoy Tyner's first full-fledged band to surprising heights in the early 70s, then brought an earthy credibility to Buddy Rich's sextet; from there he spearheaded what was arguably the best version of Miles Davis's electric band. Later he brought power and stability to the late bands of Elvin Jones and Nat Adderley. Throughout his career he's played with a splashy, billowing tone and an intensity born of jazz's second golden age, in the 50s and 60s. But however intense his improvisations can be, they always sound lit from within, uplifting at their most ferocious. He plays here with a spectacular trio led by pianist Ron Perrillo with bassist Bennis Carroll and drummer George Fludas, the city's best self-contained rhythm section. See also Saturday and Sunday. Fri 10/21, 9 and 11 PM, Jazz Showcase, 59 W. Grand, 312-670-2473, $25.

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