DKV Trio, DJ John Corbett | Hideout | Jazz | Chicago Reader

DKV Trio, DJ John Corbett Soundboard Recommended Critics' Picks

When: Wed., Dec. 29, 9:30 p.m. 2010

For many years the DKV Trio was the most soulful and fiery improvising band in Chicago. When this powerhouse formed in 1994, Ken Vandermark wasn't yet an elder to the local scene—he's the youngest player in DKV by almost a decade—so though he fronted the group with his scalding, bar-walking saxophone, the complex, propulsive drumming of Hamid Drake and the woody, roiling bass of Kent Kessler gave the music much of its gravitas. As the band's members developed new interests and grew busier with other projects, it became increasingly difficult to coordinate their schedules to convene DKV, and about seven years ago it ceased to be a regular group. But Drake, Kessler, and Vandermark know they had something special going, and every so often they get together to do it again. Their three most recent gigs have all been around Christmas or New Year's, and I'm sure the legions of local free-jazz fans who loved the band back in the day won't complain if such reunions blossom into a proper holiday tradition. On the 2002 album Trigonometry (Okka Disk), still DKV's most recent release, the trio interprets durable themes by Don Cherry, Sonny Rollins, Albert Ayler, Duke Ellington, and Joe McPhee, spinning the tunes' pithy melodic kernels into wide-ranging improvisations—and even when playing freely, the band spontaneously creates patterns and licks that serve the same seedlike function. It's no knock on the amazing music these guys have made since DKV that there's still something irresistible about the trio's rare performances—they're both time capsules of the city's free-jazz scene at the turn of the century and ageless demonstrations of high-level musical intuition. John Corbett spins. —Peter Margasak

Price: $10

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