Greg Kelley | Graham Foundation | Experimental | Chicago Reader

Greg Kelley Member Picks Free All Ages Soundboard Recommended

When: Sat., Dec. 3, 8 p.m. 2011

Over the past ten years or so, Boston trumpeter Greg Kelley has developed a huge abstract vocabulary for his instrument, rarely using it to make any of the sounds that traditionally come out of it. Both in Nmperign (his long-running duo with saxophonist Bhob Rainey) and in solo settings he's grafted varying combinations of abrasive electroacoustic experimentation, pure noise, and rigorous, gesture- and texture-oriented free improvisation onto loose compositional structures. But his new album with Chicago sound artist Olivia Block, Resolution (Erstwhile), takes a different approach: Block has carefully mated his playing to her music via extensive postproduction work. She swathes and cushions Kelley's mix of breath sounds, sibilance, and brittle smears with ingeniously manipulated collages drawn from a variety of sources: room ambience, the sound of a cassette tape being played, field recordings made at a garbage-processing and recycling facility, even layers of unidentifiable noises she produces from the innards of a piano. The album takes a form that's something like a suite, with a disorienting series of movements that close around and recede from Kelley's utterances, and the overall effect is that of a wordless narrative that's carrying you toward a destination you can't figure out—the best thing to do is enjoy the richness of detail along the way. Tonight Kelley will premiere a new work called "Soft Delete/Purgative Dryness," which is sort of a duet with himself: he's organized a recording of his own playing into what he calls a "basic compositional framework," and he'll accompany it by improvising on unprocessed trumpet. Kelley and Block will also record a live set on WNUR 89.3 FM on Friday evening, which will be broadcast Sat 12/3 at 4 PM. —Peter Margasak

Price: free with RSVP at


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