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Frigg

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FRIGG

See what Charles Ives hath wrought: fallout from the eclecticist tradition can be found in post-60s Dutch jazz, the downtown New York scene, Italian intergeneric free music, French Canadian musique actuell, and now Berlin's Frigg. On its 1995 debut, Doenerfressing Woman (99 Records), the German quintet revels in improbable stylistic leaps, a la John Zorn--grunge guitar chords cut to sweet chamber music cut to marching band cut to swinging jazz like images cranked through a View-Master. Sometimes, in fact, Frigg seems a little too indebted to Zorn's flagship postmodernist ensemble, Naked City: Boris Bell even down-tunes his bass drum like Joey Baron. And I wish leader Bert Wrede would feature deft, deep-toned clarinetist JŸrgen Kupke more and his own rather dopey guitar heroics less--his attempts to introduce Carlos Santana to Davey Williams fall more than a little short. But Wrede is a capable, often compelling composer whose take on genre intersection includes integrative as well as juxtapositional strategies, and Frigg's forays into classical territory are well supported by the versatile team of Sebastian Hilken on cello and Horst Nonnenmacher on double bass. On this tour, the group will be playing new settings Wrede has written for the lyrics of Bertolt Brecht--a gutsy move for a Berliner, inviting comparison to Kurt Weill. The lineup will be augmented by trumpeter Michael Gross and the great British vocal chameleon Phil Minton. Minton's at the top of his game these days, as evidenced by his latest solo disc, A Doughnut in One Hand (FMP), and while I wonder whether the improviser enjoys singing rockier material--I suspect he didn't really dig singing the Jimi Hendrix songbook with guitarist Christy Doran back in '96--the fact is he'll twist the words into something new and enlightening regardless. Saturday, 9 PM, HotHouse, 31 E. Balbo; 312-362-9707. JOHN CORBETT

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): uncredited photo.

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