Black Host, Nude Model | Constellation | Jazz | Chicago Reader

Black Host, Nude Model 18+ Soundboard Recommended Image

When: Fri., April 24, 8:30 p.m. 2015

Detroit native Gerald Cleaver has long been one of the most resourceful and creative drummers in the New York jazz scene, shifting between playing straight-ahead sounds as part of trumpeter Jeremy Pelt’s quintet and executing mercurial improvisations with pianist Craig Taborn and bassist William Parker in the protean trio Farmers by Nature. But the group that’s made it most difficult to pin down his aesthetic has been his Black Host quintet—a fantastic postfusion combo that plays with piquant lyricism, rhythmic elasticity, ferocious power, and a rich timbre. Joined by a group of top-tier collaborators in saxophonist Darius Jones, pianist Cooper-Moore, electric guitarist Brandon Seabrook, and bassist Pascal Niggenkemper, Cleaver directs his own high-octane compositions, a trademark of which is their blend of elegant grace and seething fury. Most of the pieces on the group’s 2013 debut, Life in the Sugar Candle Mines (Northern Spy), include his routine layering of slow-moving melody lines over frenetic rhythms—but they can also be impatient, with constant shifts in tempo, energy, and feel. “Ayler Children” opens with a brisk swing: Cooper-Moore plays splashy free-jazz lines and creates a context for the delicate unison between Jones and Seabrook, both of whom eventually dissect the flow, first via Seabrook’s nimble picking of the guitar—his sound sits somewhere between instrumental surf and prog metal—and later with a fiery, gut-punching saxophone solo from Jones. The following piece, “Citizen Rose,” is a moody, viscous ballad that channels serious turbulence even at lower volume and a slower pace. I can’t wait to hear how the music and the band’s rapport have developed since the record was made. —Peter Margasak

Price: $10

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