Critic's Choice

Nicholas Tremulis, with Sonia Dada, Wednesday, December 29, through Friday, December 31, at the Fox Theatre, entered the sometimes seedy world of Chicago jazz and R&B clubs as a performer at the age of thirteen, and he's been recording music since he turned a wizened seventeen. Tremulis released two rock and R&B-flavored albums on Island Recordings, and his affiliation with the label led to pairings with Ivan Neville, Maceo Parker and Bonnie Raitt, among others. But Tremulis struck out in a different direction with the release of Bloody Show on the Zion, Illinois-based Black Vinyl Records, a departure which led to his most unlikely and compelling partnership to date: In a thick New Yawk accent, famed Beat Generation poet Gregory Corso reads selections from his massive oeuvre against Tremulis's eclectic guitar styles and a sometimes-bluesin' backing band. And while such attempts to fuse spoken-word poetry with modern music sometimes suffer from their own pretensions, Bloody Show is a compelling performance, indeed. Tremulis's soon-to-be-released album, Woodfoot, features a collaboration with Rick Danko, the former member of the Band who died in early December. A witty, cross-genre performer who still frequents the Chicago club circle, Tremulis is proof that not all singer/songwriters are limited to making music for the coffeehouse set. -- Laura Bond


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