Chris Foreman Trio
Through all the trends, revampings and revolutions jazz has gone through since the great Jimmy Smith made the Hammond B-3 organ an essential component of hard bop and blues, the crowd-pleasing appeal of the instrument has remained the same. Whether commandeered by a Smith acolyte like Joey DeFrancesco or an innovator like Greg Lewis with his Organ Monk Trio, this monster in a box can’t be beat for its churning melodies and pumping rhythms – or, in quieter moments, its gentle oceanic surges.
Chris Foreman, a Green Mill regular who saw his national profile rise when Steely Dan chose his since-disbanded Deep Blue Organ Trio as its opening act, is very much in the Smith mold. But he boasts a highly personal sound with his pearly phrasing, soul-gospel roots and sense of ease. There’s never any danger of overstatement when he’s at the B-3. In what should be an uplifting opening set for the 2014 Chicago Jazz Festival, Foreman will lead his own trio, featuring wide-ranging guitarist Joel Patterson – whose own trio includes his mates here – and drummer Alex Mills.