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Steve Bomar Trio at the Fulton Street Collective

Steve Bomar Trio at the Fulton Street Collective

Courtesy Hrayr Attarian


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Steve Bomar Trio
Fulton Street Collective
Chicago, IL
March 19, 2024

Chicago's Fulton Street Collective is a community of artists with studio space, exhibition areas and a performance venue. It is housed in a beautiful brick industrial building on the Near West Side of the city. On this night it hosted a double bill of drummer-led bands. The first set was drummer Steve Bomar's trio. The group masterfully interpreted several standards and an original composition by its bassist Jesse Lear.

Lear's "Lilting Leaf" was a lyrical and mellifluous piece tinged with wistfulness. The composer's own solo on it was impressively agile and eloquent while pianist Leon Lewis-Nicol and Bomar each took center stage with equally elegant improvisations. The individual embellishments to the melody remained within the purview of the theme and did not meander far.

This held true for some of the better known tunes as well. On saxophonist Ornette Coleman's "Turnaround," however, Lewis-Nicol took off on a thrilling extemporization filled with breathtakingly lithe chords. Similarly he excelled in his solo on pianist Chick Corea's "Humpty Dumpty." He explored the entire range of the keyboard with masterful sophistication and exciting spontaneity.

Lews-Nicol, a doctoral student at the University of Illinois, excelled with his performances but this is not to say that the other two were "slouches" by any stretch of the imagination. Bomar deftly maintained the ensemble's inner camaraderie while peppering the music with bursts of polyrhythmic flourishes. Lear seamlessly switched between acoustic contrabass and electric bass guitar playing the hell out of each instrument with the same level of panache and nimble grace.

For Chicago audiences and jazz lovers as well as those in the rest of the USA, and the world, these three young men are definite talents to watch. If this concert was any indication Bomar, Lewis-Nicol, and Lear should deliver more brilliant music, either together or individually, pretty soon.



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