David Torn | Constellation | Jazz | Chicago Reader

David Torn 18+ Early Warnings (Music) Soundboard Recommended Image

When: Fri., May 29, 8:30 p.m. 2015

Throughout a career more than three decades long, guitarist David Torn has swung between progressive jazz and progressive rock, and he’s written prolifically for film—in fact his visceral yet atmospheric new solo album, Only Sky (ECM), sounds like it could be a cinematic score. He’s worked with Norwegian saxophonist Jan Garbarek, played in early-80s fusion group Everyman Band, and led an ensemble featuring King Crimson drummer Bill Bruford; he’s also appeared on records by artists as varied as David Bowie, K.D. Lang, and Tori Amos. Lately, however, he’s moved away from his early work’s commercial sheen and whiff of prog fussiness, embracing a dirtier, noisier sound thanks in part to a fruitful association with saxophonist Tim Berne. (Berne contributed to Torn’s powerful 2007 album Prezens, and in return Torn played in and produced records for a few of Berne’s groups.) On Only Sky, Torn acts as a stylistic bridge connecting the pastoral, washy Americana of Bill Frisell to the pedal-hopping noise and textural assaults of Nels Cline and Stian Westerhus. He uses his guitar and a huge array of effects like an impressionist painter: sometimes you can make out gritty riffs, single-­string flurries, and resonant arpeggios that cumulatively evoke the blues, Arabic music, country, and metal, but more often than not the pedals that he uses turn his output into a sweeping soundscape with no audible connection to a specific instrument, at various times volatile, serene, spooky, and violent. —Peter Margasak

Price: $15, $12 in advance

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