Carrillo, celebrating the release of his debut album "Opening Statement" (Origin), has built on the hard-bop foundations of modern jazz to construct a strong and supple style that's at home in several of the city's most exciting current bands.
At the Green Mill, Carrillo's band stars most of the heavy hitters from his album ? saxist Geof Bradfield, pianist Benjamin Lewis, and bassist Lorin Cohen ? along with drummer Max Plaskota replacing Dana Hall from the disc. The album slips easily into my Top Ten of Chicago Jazz for 2011, thanks to its dynaflow power and unshakeable musicianship.
Like fellow local trumpeter Pharez Whitted, Carrillo captures the essence of Freddie Hubbard in his prime ? the brash, pithy bite on trumpet and, on flugelhorn, the burnished majesty and hoppy sparkle that allows even a heartfelt ballad to preen and pirouette. What also stands out on Opening Statement is the tether between Carrillo's solo technique and his terrific writing; he composed all but two of the disc's ten tunes, and they dovetail precisely with his sound and style.
Conspicuously absent is any concerted focus on the Latin Jazz idiom at which Carrillo excels, in such bands as the Chicago Afro-Latin Jazz Ensemble, and with leaders like Paquito Rivera and a number of salsa giants. With this debut, Carrillo declares himself a versatile and straight-ahead trumpeter, adept at but not restricted to the Latin idiom.