This year's Umbrella Music Festival officially gets under way tomorrow evening at the Chicago Cultural Center, with five sets led by European musicians. I wrote about three of them in the current issue of the Reader, and I'll preview six more of the festival's concerts in the paper that comes out on Thursday. But there a couple of exciting events today too, warm-ups of a sort for what's to come. Screening for free tonight in the Cultural Center's Claudia Cassidy Theater is Bernard Josse's Soldier of the Road, an acclaimed documentary about powerhouse German reedist Peter Brötzmann, a regular visitor to Chicago and key collaborator with many local players. The film starts at 6:30 PM, and this is its local premiere. Later in the evening, over at the Whistler, a trio of saxophonist Dave Rempis, drummer Mike Reed, and bassist Devin Hoff will play two sets. This group made a splash with a couple of performances earlier this year, but its future has become iffy because Hoff moved to Los Angeles over the summer. Hoff plays in a trio with saxophonist Tim Berne and drummer Ches Smith on Friday night at Elastic, but he's arrived early to reconvene with this promising group.
You can check out a clip from the Brötzmann documentary, which includes an interview with Evan Parker, after the jump.