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Tonight the second annual Umbrella Music Festival kicks off with a terrific triple bill at Elastic. Much of the festival is covered in this week’s Reader, but there wasn’t room to cover everything. New York trumpeter Peter Evans—who played here last month with the raucous Mostly Other People Do the Killing—plays solo, a context that finds him sounding more focused and minimal. On his debut last year, More Is More (Psi), he advanced a singular conception of solo trumpet, using extended technique in service to abstractions that nevertheless contained an irrefutable logic. His new quartet album falls somewhere in between the solo stuff and MOPDTK. He uses the raw material of jazz standards—the harmonies and chord progressions—to compose new pieces that are battered with noise and melody, but what comes through everything is his astonishing technique. As an acquaintance of mine noted, Evans sometimes seems like he’s trying to show off everything he can do when he plays with a group—and there's a lot to show off. Somehow I don’t mind that tack, but his solo stuff is wonderfully measured. Tonight’s program is rounded out by the duo of Cor Fuhler and Jim Baker and the superb quartet called Frequency.
Another rare treat happens Saturday night at the Hideout, when bassist Ingebrigt Haaker Flaten presents his killer quintet. He started the group a few years ago with Norwegian musicians, including guitarist Anders Hana (MoHa, Ultralyd), before he relocated to Chicago, and last year he revamped the combo with locals Dave Rempis (saxophone), Jeff Parker (guitar), and Frank Rosaly (drums), keeping Norwegian violinist Ola Kvernberg. The original lineup cut a terrific, self-titled album for Jazzland, but the forthcoming second album with the Chicago lineup raises the temperature and the ensemble feel. The Year of the Boar, which is due from Jazzland in February 2008, was recorded live in Oslo following several weeks of touring, so the group was playing the tunes—one remnant from the original lineup and six new Haaker Flaten compositions—at a very high level. The band will play locally for the first time in over a year, with Dave Miller sitting in for Parker, who will be out of the country with Tortoise.