Aaron Siegel, Nate Wooley | Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Aaron Siegel, Nate Wooley

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Trumpeter Nate Wooley and percussionist Aaron Siegel are accomplished group improvisers with strong jazz backgrounds, but in a solo improv setting both tend to throw all idiomatic reference out the window and head for the frontiers of sound research. Wooley--who's previously played in Chicago with his excellent trio Blue Collar, featuring Steve Swell and Tatsuya Nakatani--is at his most radical on last year's Wrong Shape to Be a Story Teller (Creative Sources). As the title implies, there's not much narrative playing here: the disc's single track comprises a sequence of isolated, rigorous explorations, varied in intensity and stridency. In fact, it's hard to find anything that even sounds like a trumpet--Wooley starts with a tone reminiscent of a teakettle, which after a while morphs into a noise like an arctic wind coming through a drafty window. Siegel, a frequent collaborator with Anthony Braxton, takes a more formal approach on his new The Cabinet (Longbox): consisting of 21 two-minute tracks, it's a veritable catalog of extended technique in solo percussion. The arbitrarily imposed time limit sometimes makes the album seem like a series of exercises, particularly during the intense investigation of scratched and bowed objects. But Siegel's focus and energy lifts these pieces beyond the merely academic. Wooley plays first, Siegel second. Fri 7/21, 8 PM, Gescheidle, 118 N. Peoria, fourth floor, 312-226-3500, $7. All ages.

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