Bay Area trio Invisible Guy expands its adventurous arsenal to include moody film music | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

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Bay Area trio Invisible Guy expands its adventurous arsenal to include moody film music

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Bay Area clarinetist Ben Goldberg always seems to be widening his creative portfolio, applying his restrained virtuosity to an ever-increasing number of pursuits and styles. I first took note of his work in the early 90s, when his New Klezmer Trio melded sometimes raucous, sometimes sorrowful Jewish music with the language of free jazz. Since then he’s turned up in tons of disparate contexts, some emphasizing his melodic gifts, others stressing his skills as a superb group improviser. One of his most fruitful projects in recent years has been Invisible Guy, his trio with drummer Hamir Atwal and keyboardist Michael Coleman, which deftly blends tuneful freebop with woolly electronic accents. The group’s 2016 album Knuckle Sandwich (BAG Production) is freewheeling and catchy, with an accessibility not impinged upon by its hurtling energy and improvised maelstroms. Earlier this year the trio displayed a different side of its personality by creating a film score for the forthcoming indie comedy A Sibling Mystery, where its music functions as brief motific cues that set scenes or suggest sudden shifts in tone. While the structure of the material limits improvisation, Goldberg ranges freely within each succinct vignette, whether contributing to the dark rhythmic ambience on “Night Creeper,” delving into the hard-driving bop of “Swing Song,” or using his rheumy contrabass clarinet to add some humorous post-Munsters-theme ebullience to the title track. I doubt much of this material will make the trio’s live set this weekend, but its charming sensibilities will surely be in evidence.   v

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