Cylinder | Elastic | Jazz | Chicago Reader

Cylinder All Ages Critic's Choice Recommended Soundboard

When: Thu., Sept. 10, 10 p.m. 2009

Saxophonist and clarinetist Aram Shelton left Chicago for Oakland, California, four years ago, but he comes back so often to play with locally based groups like Rolldown, Arrive, and Fast Citizens that it sometimes feels like he never left. He rarely brings his Bay Area bandmates to town with him, though, and if even half the groups he plays with in California are as good as Cylinder, he’s been holding out on us. This quartet, which also includes bassist Lisa Mezzacappa, trumpeter Darren Johnston, and drummer Kjell Nordeson, hasn’t been together long, but on a recording of a recent gig at Oakland’s 21 Grand they improvise like they’re inside one another’s heads and play sensitively written tunes pitched at one another’s strengths. The catchy Ornette-ish unison theme that opens Johnston’s “The Ear That Was Sold to a Fish” sets up a series of thrillingly elaborate contrapuntal statements among all four players, and on Shelton’s “Four Thoughts” bowed bass, sighing reeds, gargling brass, and groaning cymbals seem to melt together into a single constantly morphing sound. Tonight the four members of Cylinder will improvise in mixed groups with three locals: drummer Frank Rosaly, trombonist Jeb Bishop, and reedist Keefe Jackson. See also Saturday and Sunday. —Bill Meyer

Price: donation requested

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