IRVING KLAW TRIO
For the Irving Klaw Trio rock 'n' roll is neither the means nor the end--it's just a good place to start. The four-piece (named for the photographer who became Bettie Page's Svengali) from Portland, Oregon, adds funk, jazz, and ethnic styles to a foundation of heavily caffeinated guitar rock. The players' skills keep their stylistic combinations from feeling forced: Guitarist Andrew Price, who sings in Spanish, crunches through riffs that lend cohesion to the high-flying excursions of multi-instrumentalist (and anglophone vocalist) Jeff Fuccillo, who's released several records of solo guitar improvisations under the legally unfortunate name Wham-O. Drummer Jason Funk and horn and keyboard player Ryan Poulos first met in a high school marching band where they were well schooled in the martial rhythms that underpin many IK3 numbers. But while they lack similar firsthand experience with the traditional Indian patterns of "Dr. S. Balachander" or the basement funk of ESG's "Earn It," two key tracks from the combo's new album Utek Pahtoo Mogoi (Road Cone), they certainly play them with similar unfeigned enthusiasm. Reliance on other people's tunes (the album also includes a version of the Art Ensemble of Chicago's "Theme de Yo-yo") sometimes forebodes a dearth of good originals, but that's not true here: the celebratory street dance "Choice Rejoice" and the sinuous klezmer tune "Jizzo the Clown" are just as good as the covers. The IK3 plays between Two Dollar Guitar (see Spot Check) and Cat Power. Friday, 10 PM, Lounge Ax, 2438 N. Lincoln; 773-525-6620. BILL MEYER
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Uncredited photo of Irving Klaw Trio.