The Green Mill Quartet has had a revolving membership over the years and can be heard on Saturday early mornings, beginning at midnight, at the Chicago club of the same name. The current long-term incumbents are baritone saxophonist Barry Winograd, pianist Bob Long, electric bassist Steve Hashimoto and drummer Rick Shandling.
This recording reflects a tightness that can only be achieved by playing together over time. Featured are five compositions by composer/drummer Rick Shandling, two songbook standards (Out of This World and Chick Corea's arrangement of This Is New) and two jazz standards (Bobby Hutcherson's Little B's Poem and Pepper Adams' Julian)—a fine mix of the new and the old.
Along with Winograd's bari saxophone, Shandling's compositions define the quartet and give it an original personality. Transcendence covers all ground with its uptempo power fused with the jazz waltz extended form and different moods for each soloist. Skyland Park is a bight Brazilian number with more batucada than samba with its ascending chromatic line in 5ths. The Spirit Within engages Winograd with a musical conversation with himself, playing in the tenor-like upper register of the bari and answering with the bottom of the horn. This leads to a fine bass solo from Hashimoto, who gets a very acoustic sound from an electric instrument. Throughout there is great playing and sensitivity in the interplay between pianist Long and Shandling.
Lead the jazz life, go uptown to the Green Mill, enjoy the late-night sets and bring home a copy of this CD. It's the original groups like this that distinguish the jazz scene in Chicago; you cannot find music like this everywhere. The GMQ is our kind of band in our kind of town.-MV
Available on the bandstand and through the musicians.