Dawn of Midi | Elastic | Jazz | Chicago Reader

Dawn of Midi All Ages Soundboard Recommended Critics' Picks

When: Thu., Oct. 28, 10 p.m. 2010

Dawn of Midi didn't record their remarkable debut, First (Accretions), until three years after they started playing together, and it shows. Indian bassist Aakaash Israni, Pakistani percussionist Qasim Naqvi, and Moroccan pianist Amino Belyamani were all students at CalArts when they formed the group in 2007, and they would meet in a windowless practice room late at night and play in pitch darkness—a habit that sharpened their ears and fostered their collective approach. Lots of musicians freely improvise these days, but it's rare to find a group with such a strong ensemble identity—though protean in form and lacking a clear leader, Dawn of Midi is elegant, slithering, and melancholy in sound. Belyamani generally sticks to a tight range of notes in each piece, creating a dazzling variety of phrases from that limited vocabulary in a way that reminds me of Chris Abrahams of the Necks, except without Abrahams's clear forward movement; rather than morphing from one shape to another, his oblique melodies emerge and dissolve like waves lapping at the shore. Naqvi and Israni keep up an exquisitely exploratory scrabbling that never veers into mayhem, and each member displays tightrope-walk sensitivity—they apparently developed some high-level intuition in those lightless rehearsals. This is the trio's Chicago debut. See also Saturday. —Peter Margasak

Price: $10 suggested donation

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