Jacob Wick’s trumpet playing proposes some queer notions | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

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Jacob Wick’s trumpet playing proposes some queer notions


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Trumpeter Jacob Wick grew up in the Chicago area and now lives in Mexico City. Like his contemporaries Birgit Ulher, Peter Evans, Axel Dörner, and Nate Wooley, he employs extended techniques that enable him to produce sounds very different from conventional brass playing. His vocabulary encompasses coarse-grained ribbons of frayed wind, rhythmic puffs that resemble a steam engine in action, fluttering snatches of nascent melody, and the occasional brazen trad-jazz lick; with his command of circular breathing, he can keep a steady stream of sound going for upwards of 20 minutes. But he’s not interested in merely wowing people with musical prowess; particularly in solo performances, such as those captured on the 2019 LP Feel (Thin Wrist), he invites audiences to step into his shoes and experience things queerly. In the LP’s liner notes, he describes his ideal performance as a process: “queer sound—>queer time—>queer space.” By challenging received ideas (about how a trumpet sounds, about how long a phrase can last), he also invites listeners to develop an awareness that everything around them needs to be understood on its own terms, not according to assumptions about what’s expected. For his first Chicago appearance in almost two years, Wick will first play solo, then with drummer Phil Sudderberg. Their 2019 collaborative tape, Combinatory Pleasures (Astral Spirits), engages pithiness as rigorously as the trumpeter’s solos do duration. One prescription guides their otherwise wide-open improvisations: as soon as the music they’re playing approaches definition, they stop. This concert is part of the 2020 Frequency Festival, booked by former Reader music critic Peter Margasak as an extension of his year-round series.   v

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