The Three Tenors
Ari Brown, Eric Schneider & Hank Ford

Room 43, Chicago, IL
March 13, 2011

Eric Schneider, Ari Brown & Hank Ford

Story and Photos by James Walker, Jr., Copyright 2011

There have been quite a few "tributes" performed by Chicago Jazz artists in recent months and the Hyde Park Jazz Society's homage to the legendary south side saxophonist Gene Ammons was highly anticipated. Over time, Chicago has been noted for "boss" tenors and "Jug" Ammons was at the top of that list in the ' 50s and '60s.

On this occasion it took three of the City's finest, Eric Schneider, Hank Ford, and Ari Brown to fill the shoes of Ammons. In addition a trio of sidemen consisting of bassist Dennis Carroll, drummer George Fludas and keyboardist Dan Trudell supplemented the tenors. That trio alone was worth the price of admission.

They began the set with a Sonny Stitt composition entitled "Blues Walk." "Jug" and Stitt formed a group together in 1950 and created some of the most frantic and hard driving moments in all of jazz. They recorded several albums together including Boss Tenors that was recorded in Chicago in 1961. Ford took first lead on this BeBop number followed by Brown and Schneider. Bassist Carroll and Trudell also "stretched" their fingers on this initial tune.

It was pretty much free form from that point with each tenor taking liberty with standards. "Here's That Rainy Day" was led by Schneider followed by Brown's improvisation on "How High the Moon, and was concluded by Ford with "There's No Greater Love." Carroll's bass was discernible during this selection as the capacity Hyde Park crowd responded with a rousing ovation.

Hank Ford took center stage without his colleagues and rendered a sterling rendition of "Over The Rainbow." Trudell was also featured on this beautiful ballad as the audience again demonstrated its appreciation of their virtuosic display.

This wonderful 75-minute set was concluded with Bobby Timmon's "Moanin", which again featured Trudell with Carroll working overtime on his upright. What a set!!!!! The fastest 75 minutes that this listener had heard in quite a while. Although they didn't strictly stick to Ammon's selections, the sound surely reminded this Southside crowd of years past listening to the hard swinging bebop sounds of tenor man Gene "Jug" Ammons. Although all tenors performed fast, bright horn flourishes, as is usual at this venue, Ari Brown repeatedly received the loudest ovations.

Be sure to check out www.hydeparkjazzsociety.com for details about their future events.

Ari Brown

Hank Ford

Dan Trudell

Dennis Carroll

George Fludas

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