Though he works in the relatively small and isolated jazz community of Madison, Wisconsin, reedist Anders Svanoe has nonetheless managed to find several like-minded musicians--such as the quartet Tomato Box, which originally included Svanoe--with whom to develop his mainstream-to-jet-stream approach to improvisation. He's even found a bona fide mentor--none other than Roscoe Mitchell, a cofounder of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians, who now lives in the Madison area and regularly works out with Svanoe on everything from Bach etudes to postfreedom duets. (In the liner notes to Svanoe's debut disc, Lines and Spaces--released by the Chicago label Solitaire--Mitchell says, "This is the kind of people I want to be associated with...people who can find their own source, within themselves, and create from there....He's an original, definitely.") Svanoe shares the combination of expertise and experimentation that marked the AACM's first wave in the mid-60s; like AACM reedist Douglas Ewart, a past student of Mitchell's, he's even turned to inventing his own instruments. His plungerhoseaphone--built from garden hoses and the rubber cups of bathroom plungers, as well as other found objects--looks like what might have happened had Rube Goldberg designed horns for Selmer. It takes up a lot of space on the bandstand, but its kinky charm doesn't overshadow the more traditional virtues of Svanoe's playing: In this engaging quintet, which I heard in its Chicago debut just two months ago, he refuses to hog the spotlight, preferring solos that propel and enhance the steadily evolving compositions. His lines have an elastic, swingy interplay with the busy patterns of new-music guitarist Phil Mosberg, and his alto and baritone both shine in tandem with the ballsy blare of Phil Zell's trumpet; drummer Randy Kuehn and bassist Henry Boehm, who has worked with Svanoe in at least two other bands, round out the lineup. This performance celebrates the release of Lines and Spaces, for which this writer supplied the liner essay. Wednesday, July 31, 8 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western; 773-276-3600.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Wendy Nelson.