Isa Wiss, James Falzone, Jason Stein, and Jason Adasiewicz; Isa Wiss, Guillermo Gregorio, Paul Giallorenzo, and Jason Roebke | Elastic | Jazz | Chicago Reader

Isa Wiss, James Falzone, Jason Stein, and Jason Adasiewicz; Isa Wiss, Guillermo Gregorio, Paul Giallorenzo, and Jason Roebke All Ages Recommended Soundboard

When: Fri., May 22, 9 p.m. 2009

Swiss vocalist Isa Wiss, who’s been in town since February as part of a sister-city program Chicago maintains with Lucerne, has an extraordinary range: she’s sung electro-pop and straight jazz equally convincingly, and when she improvises freely her repertoire of nonverbal sounds is as deep as the vocabulary of any instrumentalist. On an unreleased recording with Swiss tubaist Marc Unternahrer (of the Chicago Luzern Exchange) she sounds like Phil Minton or Diamanda Galas, though she has a greater affinity for conventional opera than either—her gasps, cries, and glottal eruptions are some of the most abrasive and inhuman I’ve ever heard, and she delivers them with meticulous control. She’s been working with many local improvisers during her stay, and for her final performances in town she’ll play with several of them. Headlining is a trio of Wiss and clarinetists Jason Stein and James Falzone (vibist Jason Adasiewicz will sit in for a few pieces), which I’ve already heard via some gorgeous unreleased studio recordings; on the written-out tunes, the horn players caress her sweet, abstract melodies with their own astringent yet lyrical lines, and on the improvised pieces she masterfully complements Stein and Falzone with gorgeous floating tones and jagged, consonant flurries. The opening group—Wiss, pianist Paul Giallorenzo, bassist Jason Roebke, and reedist Guillermo Gregorio—will focus on improvisation and possibly play some of Gregorio’s wide-open graphic scores. —Peter Margasak

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