Chris Abrahams | Univ. of Chicago Logan Center for the Arts | Jazz | Chicago Reader

Chris Abrahams All Ages Free Recommended Soundboard Image

When: Sat., May 21, 8 p.m. 2016

Often articulated in tremolo-saturated chords or unfaltering repeated phrases, the gently struck piano notes on Chris Abrahams’s new solo album Fluid to the Influence (Room40) possess the trademark hypnotic sparkle of his work with veteran Australian improvising trio the Necks, but to get there the listener has to wade through an array of disparate sounds. On opener “1 Liter Cold Laptop” the pianist patches together electronic gurgling, fluttering organ, harsh guitar scraping, and white noise to create a five-minute excursion that bears no relationship to his primary group. But then on its successor, “Scale Upon the Land,” shimmering, tinkling piano permutations are caressed by subtle electronic sound bursts to cast a spell of hovering, ethereal beauty. As the recording proceeds Abrahams more or less switches between rough-edged, largely electronic sketches of texture and color and mesmerizing piano-based soliloquies, imbuing the formula with plenty of variety and dynamic range. On the heels of a typically powerful, transfixing Necks gig in March, Abrahams is back to make his solo debut.

Peter Margasak

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