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Local jazz fans pack the house for last Monday jazz night at Le Petit Chicago

Curiosity Killed the Quartet (l-r: Joe Hincke, Steve Bilodeau, Zakari Frantz) played its final (for now) performance at Le Petit Chicago on January 14 ©Brett Delmage, 2013View photos of the evening

The first anniversary of Curiosity Killed the Quartet's weekly shows at Le Petit Chicago attracted a packed house Monday night.

Unfortunately, it was also the end of that Monday late-night run – for now. But, as quartet leader Zakari Frantz told the crowd, "We are coming back." The club has said that it hopes to bring the band back in a few months.

Well over 50 people were present for the first set, and it was a listening crowd, attentive to the music. The quartet opened at 10:30 p.m. with a series of four standards. They started with "Body and Soul" and stretched each piece out into an extended 15-minute improvisation.

Most of the audience were local amateur and professional jazz musicians, ranging in age from the mid 20s to over 60. During the second set, many were invited up to jam, with musicians rotating on and off the stage one by one, allowing the line-up to morph while the music continued uninterrupted for 90 minutes. Particular highlights were trombonist Steve Berndt in a bluesy duo with Frantz, and trumpeters Kelly Craig and Ed Lister alternating lines.

That set started with the quartet (Frantz on alto sax, Mike Essoudry on drums, Steve Bilodeau on guitar, and Joe Hincke on double bass) and ended with them, with many changes in between. Essoudry took over the throne so smoothly from Matt Aston that the beat was never lost in the switchover: someone was always playing drums or cymbals.

The set finally ended with strong applause for those who lasted until 1:25 a.m. After thanking the band, Frantz said, "The last round of applause is for all of you!"

    – Alayne McGregor

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All photos ©Brett Delmage, 2013
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