Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Jason Stein Quartet, "The Story This Time"

This time out bass clarinetist Jason Stein puts together a program of jazz-ahead standards by Tristano, Monk, Konitz and Marsh and leavens them with five compositions of his own.

The quartet flows over with some of Chicagoland's best in a freebop mood-mode: Keefe Jackson on tenor and contrabass clarinet, an excellent counterpart on the front line; then there's the ace rhythm section of Joshua Abrams and Frank Rosaly. They can swing strongly or free it up as called for.

The band has established a definite synchronous central point to gather round and they spin in and out of its orbit as the spirit and tenor of a particular piece warrants. Jason and Keith's soloing embodies that tendency with a vengeance; nicely on display throughout are their own personal stylistic traits, which do stand out from the pack. Both can play with fire and originality, and they do most definitely here.

It's one of the best Chicago dates this season. It gives notice that Jason Stein has flowered. It's a goody you should not miss.

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