Angelica Sanchez Quintet | Chicago Cultural Center, Claudia Cassidy Theater | Jazz | Chicago Reader

Angelica Sanchez Quintet All Ages Critic's Choice Free Recommended Soundboard

When: Wed., June 3, 7 p.m. 2009

For her most recent album, last year’s Life Between (Clean Feed), New Jersey pianist Angelica Sanchez assembled a quintet that includes three regular cohorts of saxophonist Tim Berne, and her compositions make it clear why—like many of Berne’s pieces, they seem loose and almost unstructured but actually depend on considered craftsmanship. Though intensely focused, her bittersweet tunes imply rather than proclaim, evoking dark, turbulent moods with simple chordal movements and humid harmonies; to navigate their churning polyrhythms and mutating textures, the players have to be totally plugged into one another. Drummer Tom Rainey, bassist Drew Gress, and electric guitarist Marc Ducret—the Berne vets—lay down a deep, ever-shifting foundation for the improvisations of Sanchez and tenor saxophonist Tony Malaby, spontaneously shaping the flow from episode to episode with such refined intuition they seem like a single organism. And the soloists are never set apart from the rest of the action with a virtual spotlight, though their lines are often rivetingly beautiful; every note is woven into the general web of sound. —Peter Margasak

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