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Adam Lane Quartet with John Tchicai

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Young bicoastal bassist Adam Lane has been collaborating with his mentors since he first worked with the great Danish saxophonist John Tchicai in the latter's California-based quartet Infinitesimal Flash two years ago. With his new album, Fo(u)r Being(s) (CIMP), Lane can put two more notches in his fiddle--trumpeter Paul Smoker and drummer Barry Altschul join him and Tchicai. The bassist is a fine player and even better composer; his long-form postbop melodies suggest the contrapuntal gusto of Charles Mingus and provide space for extended improvisation. But let's not kid anyone--his band is the main attraction here. Tchicai played in some of the most important free-jazz groups of the 60s--the New York Art Quartet with Roswell Rudd and Milford Graves and the New York Contemporary Five with Archie Shepp and Don Cherry--and contributed to Coltrane's epic Ascension and Albert Ayler's New York Eye and Ear Control. He doesn't record often these days, and this setting captures him at his best. He was always cooler than his 60s counterparts: though he bled the blues, he focused on his improvisations with the thoroughness of a scientist. Few musicians can extract so many variations from a short string of notes. Smoker, an Iowan with a brash tone, is an excellent foil, countering Tchicai's pinched tenor saxophone with garrulous plunger-mute growls and smears. But the rediscovery of Altschul, who has rarely been heard over the last decade, might be the album's greatest gift. Starting in the late 60s he worked with Dave Holland, Sam Rivers, and pianist Paul Bley in Circle, the collective with Chick Corea and Anthony Braxton, but he's done very little recording since the mid-80s. His propulsive, historically informed approach to free jazz sounds as good as ever here. You'd be lucky to catch such a great group of rarely heard players on the festival circuit, much less at an intimate venue like this. Friday, October 18, 9:30 PM, Velvet Lounge, 21281/2 S. Indiana; 312-791-9050.

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