Arts & Culture » Theater Critic's Choice

Michel Doneda, Jack Wright & Tatsuya Nakatani

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Fifty-year-old French saxophonist Michel Doneda has been a presence in European improv circles for decades, but he's relatively unknown in the U.S. He favors heavy abstraction and precise extended technique, not the fireworks better-known European free-jazz reedists like, but recently he's found a natural niche within the bustling electroacoustic improv scene. On Strom (Potlatch), a collaborative album released last year, Doneda's soprano and sopranino saxophones contribute to a sibilant conversation of hisses, high-frequency tones, and what sound like stomach rumblings; the sputtering of the radiators in my apartment fit right in. For this show, his Chicago debut, he performs with reedist Jack Wright, whose fierce devotion to pure improvisation has kept him on the margins of free jazz, and percussionist Tatsuya Nakatani, whose playing sometimes suggests some weird kind of pulse but often simply adds another texture to the din. Together they recorded From Between (SoSEditions) last year, and Doneda and Wright's dialed-down interactions are sublime: producing breathy flutters, gasps, and cries, they engage in a strange dance of give-and-takes, caresses, and restrained taunts as Nakatani gently encourages and corrals them. Thu 1/20, 9:30 PM, 3030, 3030 W. Cortland, 773-862-3616, $5-$10 suggested donation.

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