Graphic artist Nick Butcher
—half of the superb art studio Sonnenzimmer
, with girlfriend and former Reader
employee Nadine Nakanishi—has spent 2011 working on an album due early next year called Free Jazz Bitmaps Vol. 1
(Hometapes). Every two months he's released a lathe-cut seven-inch single (in an edition of ten copies), and the six A sides of those singles will turn up on the album in slightly different forms. "I consider the music from the seven-inch series to be 'sketches' in some ways," Butcher explains in an e-mail. "The final tracks for the LP will differ slightly." As the year has progressed he's enlisted a number of the city's best improvisers to record their own "reinterpretations" of those six pieces, which will fill the other half of the album.
Those "reinterpretations" are abstract renderings that use nothing from Butcher's original works. Tonight Butcher performs at the Whistler to celebrate the final single and to formally announce the release of the album—anyone who preorders a copy will get a hand-screened poster (see below right).
Butcher's original works use his technologically archaic method—sourcing sounds from a lo-fi turntable, an old cassette player, and a cheap keyboard—to create hazy, low-key, sample-rich electronic collages that alternate between meditative abstraction and almost houselike grooves. Butcher plays in Mike Reed's trio My Silence
(with bass clarinetist Jason Stein), and he also performed this past summer in Reed's Myth/Science Assembly at the Chicago Jazz Festival
. Reed, Stein, Jason Roebke, Jason Adasiewicz, Keefe Jackson, and Tim Daisy are the six musicians creating new pieces from Butcher's original works.
Tonight's free performance will feature a collaborative set by Butcher, Daisy, and guitarist Jordan Martins. Daisy and keyboardist Paul Giallorenzo will also play a duo set. Below you can hear the A side from Butcher's final installment in the Free Jazz Bitmaps single series.
Nick Butcher, "Cozy Kitchen"
photo: Connor Bell
Thelonious Monk, Monk's Blues (Columbia/Legacy)
Jackie Edwards, I Feel So Bad (Castle Music)
Martinho da Vila, Tendinha (RCA/Sony Music, Brazil)
Gerry Mulligan, The Original Sextet: Complete Studio Master Takes (Lonehill Jazz)
Janus, I Am Not (New Amsterdam)