Jacques Demierre & Vincent Barras Critic's Choice Recommended Soundboard

When: Wed., April 20, 8 p.m. 2011

In the 90s Jim O'Rourke caught some flak for playing accordion instead of guitar on a Mats Gustafsson gig, but for him exploring new turf was part and parcel of his improvisational ethos. Something similar might be said of this performance by Swiss pianist Jacques Demierre, who's spent much of the past decade establishing himself as a player of great range and curiosity—tonight he won't even be touching a piano. Demierre is best known as an improviser—he played Chicago in 2003 in an excellent trio with bassist Barre Phillips and saxophonist Urs Leimgruber—and within that world he's covered a lot of territory. On the 2008 solo album One Is Land he creates billowing clouds of low-end rumbling on one piece with a heavy foot on the sustain pedal, and on the other he goes to town on the piano's innards; on last year's Brain & Balls BBQ (Creative Sources), a collaboration with percussion duo Buttercup Metal Polish, he rides the violent ebb and flow with post-Cecil Taylor clusters. Here's he joining a fellow Swiss, performer and historian Vincent Barras, to perform a sound-poetry work called Voicing Through Saussure—an entirely vocal piece that involves stretching, manipulating, and elaborating upon the sonorities of the Indo-European tongues that linguist Ferdinand de Saussure isolated in his studies. See also Saturday. —Peter Margasak

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