Music » Critic's Choice

Albert Mangelsdorff

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In the 70s, Albert Mangelsdorff recorded an album called Tromboneliness, and the concept contained in that title applies to his appearance in Chicago: an evening of unaccompanied improvisation. No matter that the trombone would seem to be an instrument particularly ill-suited to the purpose; in Mangelsdorff's hands, it might as well be anything from a panpipe to a cello. His technical achievements include extraordinary extensions of the trombone's range, as well as the creation of chords (a result of vocalization and some alchemy of the trombone's overtones) on what should be a single-line instrument. Mangelsdorff's discoveries provide him the freedom to pursue his shattered-mirror postmodern expressionism with the Globe Unity Orchestra--with whom he last appeared in Chicago--in addition to the resources that make him an especially stupefying one-man band. The history of the jazz trombone has only a few major innovators who have taken it from Kid Ory's tailgate slurs to the present, and Mangelsdorff remains near the top: a vital link between Jimmy Knepper's leap into the future in the 1950s and the unforeseeable virtuosity of the 80s' Ray Anderson. Tonight, 9 PM, Ferguson Theatre, Columbia College, 600 S. Michigan; 283-0531.

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