Tito Carrillo Quintet Recommended Soundboard

When: Fri., Jan. 6, 9 p.m. and Sat., Jan. 7, 8 p.m. 2012

For at least a decade Tito Carrillo has been among the most ubiquitous, reliable, and flexible trumpeters on the Chicago scene. His brash attack and sophisticated lyricism have made him a first-call horn man in concert and in the studio, and he's worked with lots of locals—Geof Bradfield, Willie Pickens, Ryan Cohan, John Moulder—as well as national figures such as Louis Hayes, Rudresh Mahanthappa, Paquito D'Rivera, and Orlando "Maraca" Valle. Though Carrillo moved here from his native Austin, Texas, in 1996, he's only just released his debut as a leader, the quartet album Opening Statement (Origin). Perhaps because he's already so seasoned, Carrillo bypasses the common traps of first records—there's no gratuitous technical flash or eclecticism for its own sake, just elegant, fluent postbop, ranging from high-velocity modal burners ("Truth Seeker") to limpid ballads ("Song for Elisa"). Carrillo grew up listening to salsa and has played in the Chicago Afro-Latin Jazz Ensemble, but here he heats up the music's rhythms with clave patterns only occasionally—on "Shades of Morpheus," for example, pianist Benjamin Lewis breaks into a driving son montuno pattern in the final section, underlining the subtle clave funk at the track's heart. Carrillo wrote eight of the album's ten tunes, and on most he's the lone horn player—Bradfield and up-and-comer Phillip Doyle add sax on two pieces each. This weekend Carrillo is joined by Lewis and the album's sturdy bassist, Lorin Cohen; Matt Plaskota will sit in for drummer Dana Hall, and Bradfield and percussionist Victor Gonzalez will make the group a sextet. —Peter Margasak

Price: $12

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