Greg Kelley | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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An uninformed listener to Greg Kelley's two-year-old solo CD Trumpet (Meniscus) is as likely to think he's hearing hail on a tin roof, an alarm buzzer, steam escaping a tea kettle, or the snorts of an elephant with sleep apnea as he is to think of the titular instrument. Using only his horn and the microphone (which he strikes with the bell to get bassy thumps), Kelley has reimagined the trumpet's possibilities as radically as Keith Rowe has the guitar's or Rhodri Davies the harp's; the only other trumpeter doing anything similar is Berliner Axel Dorner. Kelley finds another way to stretch boundaries on his excellent new album, Forlorn Green (Erstwhile). It's a collaboration with sound manipulator Jason Lescalleet, who uses tape loops and a computer to distort and layer Kelley's sibilant squelches, puckered gargles, and even his conventionally pitched notes into a ghost world of subsonic rumbles and raptor cries. Kelley's two concerts here bookend a trip to Milwaukee, where he'll work with guitarist Scott Fields. For the first gig he'll play with Kevin Drumm (guitar, electronics), Kyle Bruckmann (double reeds, accordion, electronics), and Weasel Walter (drums). When he returns he'll be joined by Bruckmann, keyboardist Jim Baker, and electric bassist Kurt Johnson; they'll open for Blue Note recording artist Eric Truffaz. Thursday, April 18, 9 PM, Candlestick Maker, 4432 N. Kedzie; 773-463-0158. Wednesday, April 24, 10 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western; 773-276-3600.

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