Zach Brock at Green Mill | Concert preview
The jazz violinist spreads his wings at a weekend engagement.
Zach Brock’s hardly the first violinist to buck tradition, but he’s certainly doing more than most to advance the instrument’s applications. Not only is the Kentucky native thriving in the jazz world, he’s making inroads into indie as well, gigging at a rapid clip compared to his salad days as an undergrad at Northwestern in the mid-’90s.
He’s since set off for New York, naturally, but continues to maintain local ties, as seen at last year’s Chicago Jazz Festival, where he held his own in Orbert Davis’s Chicago Jazz Philharmonic as well as bassist Matt Ulery’s Loom, whose textured chamber-jazz blend is closer to what Brock explores as a leader. There are ample traces of that on The Magic Number, a nimble trio exercise that works wordless vocals into the mix in addition to ambitious (if occasionally superfluous) stylistic detours. An abstract meditation on the standard “You Don’t Know What Love Is” sets up a steamrolling rendition of “Sno’ Peas.”
The author of that tune, pianist Phil Markowitz, shares co-billing for this weekend engagement, with Loom bandmates Ulery and drummer Jon Deitemyer rounding out the cast. Brock recently wrapped up his next recording, a quartet endeavor titled Almost Never Was, and though it’s reportedly a straight-ahead jazz album, it’s hard to imagine his eclectic appetite being tamed anytime soon.