Vinny Golia Trio | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Vinny Golia Trio

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On instruments from baritone sax to flute, Los Angeleno Vinny Golia makes music with power, precision, and poetry: demanding, challenging, and worth everything you put into it as a listener. (If Marlon Brando had played jazz, I fancy it would've sounded like this.) His technique bristles with the integrity typical of those who've tamed the "free jazz" idiom, and he underscores his improvising with a keen sense of structure; his solos aren't necessarily linear, but they spin out with a discernible and delectable logic that allows him to tell a story almost every time. And Golia isn't afraid to settle down into a solid groove when the situation warrants, proving himself a worthy compeer of his better-known midwestern contemporaries (such as Hal Russell and various members of the A.A.C.M.). When Golia first played in Chicago, some of us expected a young firebrand who had started a label (the Beverly Hills-based Nine Winds) to promulgate his unexpected brand of "west-coast jazz." What we found was a guy who'd spent well over a quarter century keeping alive the creative legacy of another (onetime) Los Angeleno, Ornette Coleman--in what would seem the least hospitable of climates. It's a tough job, but somebody's gotta do it; and Golia wears the struggle well. Tonight and Saturday, 8 PM, Southend Musicworks, 1313 S. Wabash; 939-2848.

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