Marcus Adams

Close Up 2, Chicago, IL
February 12, 2011

Marcus Adams
Marcus Adams

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

It had been several months since this listener last visited this Contemporary Jazz Club in the Loop Area and was anxious to see a new group to the Chicago area. The Marcus Adams band from Milwaukee was making it's CU2 debut during Valentine's weekend and on Saturday, a standing room only crowd jammed early on this intimate club .

Saxophonist/vocalist Adams was joined by Terry Harris, Jr. on keyboard, Derrick Staples on bass, and Olen Franklin on the drums. Throughout the two sets, the band primarily displayed their mid tempo and mellow side to the approval of a crowd mainly consisting of couples celebrating Valentine's weekend (including yours truly with fiance Hattie).

Adams surely was the leader of this fine group but shared the spotlight with his youthful keyboardist, Terry Harris, Jr. They often engaged in friendly "call and response" when they weren't heating things up with rock solid solos. One such occasion occurred during the first set on Marvin Gaye's classic "What's Going On." These two also "rocked " the house on the late Aaliyah's "Rock the Boat." It was also on this number that Harris unleashed a tirade with his synthesizer. This young phenom was in a groove all night long but at his best on this selection.

The engaging Adams not only plays a "mean" sax, he also has a fine baritone voice that was demonstrated on Music Soul Child's "Beautiful" and Kem's "Back in My Life." He also solicited the assistance of the audience on both numbers.

Highlights for Adams also included the stratospheric notes he hit on Stevie Wonder's "Ribbon in the Sky," his improvising on Sade's "This Is No Ordinary Love," and his emotional out put on Luther's "For Always and Forever". This band leader does it all and made the best of his CU2 debut. He had the crowd longing for more at the end of each set and surely made a ton of friends during this "lovers weekend."

For additional information about CU2, (including news about the opening of their Atlanta club in April), refer to their website at www.closeup2jazz.com.

Terry Harris, Jr.

Olen Franklin

Derrrick Staples

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