In his work with a number of free-improvisation giants, spectrum-spanning drummer Gregg Bendian has demonstrated that he can both float like a butterfly--as while accompanying the abstractionist guitar player Derek Bailey on last year's Banter (O.O. Records)--and sting like a swarm of bees, as in his work with the ferocious pianist Cecil Taylor. His new and excellent Counterparts (CIMP) gives full vent to Bendian's chattering postfreedom swing: his drumming simultaneously keeps the pulse while placing imaginative patterns up in the quartet's front line. Bendian also plays vibraphone with a well-honed abandon; but for all his skill as a percussionist, he may well end up better known as a composer. Friday he performs a program of his own new solo percussion music; his admirably clearheaded approach to exploratory form and, yes, even melody enables him to hold an audience's interest a lot longer than you'd anticipate for one guy, onstage by himself, hitting things. Saturday, Bendian joins Chicago drummer (and longtime member of the Pat Metheny Group) Paul Wertico for an afternoon concert of improvised percussion duets. They've done this before, and the results once again will confound your expectations: feeding off each other's rhythms and dynamics, they create a series of battered bijous, each with its own distinct shape and texture. Friday, 11 PM, Lunar Cabaret and Full Moon Cafe, 2827 N. Lincoln; 327-6666. Saturday, 1 PM, Jazz Record Mart, 444 N. Wabash; 222-1467.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Gregg Bendian photo.