Fourth Landscape | Elastic | Jazz | Chicago Reader

Fourth Landscape Recommended Member Picks All Ages Soundboard Image

When: Thu., June 18, 9 p.m. 2015

This European collective features three of improvised music’s most skilled and distinctive figures, players who have painstakingly forged highly idiosyncratic voices but set aside egos in favor of an ensemble mind-set. That’s not to say trombonist Samuel Blaser, pianist Benoît Delbecq, and percussionist Gerry Hemingway tamp down their personalities on the group’s excellent eponymous debut on Nuscope. Each member brought in a handful of pieces for the others to explore, and they then scrambled their approaches together. On Delbecq’s compositions “Laak” and “Long,” for example, the trio scrabbles and scurries with fully improvised exchanges before they segue seamlessly into the written material. On Hemingway’s “Fourth Landscape,” the first of a three-piece movement, the percussionist sets up a hypnotic, stuttering 19/8 pattern that’s complicated by deft syncopations of muted piano notes from Delbecq—all this while Blaser blows terse melodic fragments in plush bursts that tiptoe across sonic lily pads within the treacherous groove. Blaser turns to serialist ideas for his “I Got Home Late Last Night,” as trombone and piano voice simultaneous tone rows before inverting them at the conclusion. Ultimately, though, the individual conceits are less important than the unified improvisational ethos—the compositions exist primarily to give the players ideas to build upon. Indeed, they construct some serious new worlds. —Peter Margasak

Price: $10

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