If you've ever lived or studied in Boston, you know about the Fringe. The power trio of saxophonist George Garzone, bassist John Lockwood and drummer Bob Gulotti, who have been first calls for musicians from Buddy Rich to Luciana Souza to Phish, have had a weekly residence in a Boston club for more than twenty-five years, from the Somerville dive the Willow to several less memorable dives, now in the Lily Pad in Cambridge. But tomorrow night they go upscale to NEC's Jordan Hall. (Globe preview here)
The Fringe have become an institution here for musicians, and a trip to see the Fringe is as mandatory as a walk on the Freedom Trail. The music is often described as post-Coltrane free, but that sells it short. It's wild- one album cover has them in caveman outfits- and unusual. George has an unusual and fascinating intervallic approach to harmony that I still don't quite get, and the trio as a whole has that empathy that only comes with an longtime, intense farmiliarity. And it's free, in all senses of the word.