Arts & Culture » Theater Critic's Choice

Diedre Murray, Jason Hwang, Tyrone Henderson

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It's difficult to think of a better jazz cellist than Deidre Murray. In fact, it's difficult to think of many other jazz cellists; but that shouldn't detract from the commitment and capability she brings to the instrument. Murray has a classicist's technique but a jazz player's sass. She plays with a large but not fulsome tone, which she manipulates via unorthodox use of traditional techniques; these techniques allow her to fully exploit the expressive range of her instrument (which bears a timbral resemblance to the tenor sax). And her improvisations, which tend to leap into the stratosphere, nicely balance the instrument's idiosyncrasies with new music's optimistic freedom. Murray has played Chicago several times in the past, most notably as part of Henry Threadgill's Sextett and more recently at the Women of the New Jazz Festival in 1992; violinist Jason Hwang has played here rarely, making his appearance that much more anticipated. Hwang comes with a good resume--since he has participated in several of Butch Morris's "conductions" (conducted improvisations), one knows he can operate without much net--and his relatively limited recording career reveals a trained fiddler with an ability to strongly focus his explorations. I can't tell you much about poet Tyrone Henderson, the remaining member of this troika, except the obvious: that his presence raises the whole gamut of possibilities--from hoped-for synergy to much-feared embarrassment--that come from mixing poetry and jazz. My fingers are crossed. Friday, 9:30 PM, HotHouse, 1565 N. Milwaukee; 235-2334.

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