"Neal Alger's guitar, in particular, is a thing of beauty, incorporating sinewy blues-rock textures a la John Scofield"
-- Clive Davis, The Times, London
Neal Alger – guitar
Curt Bley – bass
Darren Scorza - drums
Alger loves both straight-ahead jazz and the vast trove of Brazilian music that exists for jazz improvisers. These two national strains will comingle in this particular September 13th performance by Alger’s trio. You will hear Cole Porter alongside Ivan Lins, Duke Ellington next to Nelson Cavaquinho, and very possibly Stevie Wonder coupled with Milton Nascimento!
Alger has chosen two very versatile players to round out his trio: bassist Curt Bley and drummer Darren Scorza. Bley’s artistry has enabled him to perform with both shredder guitar wizard Dave Urich and Chicago jazz virtuosos pianist John Campbell and harmonica player Howard Levy, as well as honing his Brazilian music sensitivities back in the 90’s with the incendiary Chicago/Brazilian ensemble Som Brasil, headed by legendary pianist/vibraphonist Breno Sauer and vocalist Neusa Sauer. Scorza is one of the most musical and sensitive drummers on the Chicago scene, who has shared the stage over with Bobby Enriquez, Richie Cole, Kevin Cole, and Ted Hogarth. His formidable accompaniment skills have been utilized by many prominent vocalists including Michele Thomas, Elaine Dame, and Jeannie Tanner.
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Over the past 20 years, Neal Alger’s varied musical interests have led him to perform in such varied contexts as Neo-Soul/R&B, jazz-rock fusion, Afro-Cuban music, classic rock, movie soundtracks, and studio work for various formats. Amidst these various styles, however, Alger prefers above all straight-ahead jazz and Brazilian music. From 2009 to 2014, Alger led a quartet which explored classic and obscure compositions from the legendary Blue Note jazz record label, culminating in a performance at the Chicago Jazz Festival which paid tribute to recently-passed composers Horace Silver and Cedar Walton. For the past several years, Neal has presented colorful tunes from the enormous Brazilian music catalog, drawing from regional styles that are lesser-known to jazz lovers here as well as the iconic bossa nova and samba genres.
Alger also spends a great deal of time off stage by holding jazz teaching positions at Elmhurst College and Roosevelt University.