Jane Ira Bloom | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Jane Ira Bloom

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With a rounded, assertive tone and sturdy yet sensitive improvisations, soprano saxophonist Jane Ira Bloom brings a complicated feminism to her music. She doesn't "play like a girl"; she plays like a woman, and one who has plenty of impressive music on her mind. When Bloom began listing "live electronics" in her album-note resumes in the mid-80s, she raised a few eyebrows; the purists associate any mention of electricity with "fusion," and the rest of us simply didn't know what the phrase meant. For Bloom it actually denotes the imaginative inclusion of electronic sound effects and tonal manipulation in "real time," meaning they're live as you hear them and not added in postproduction overdubs--guaranteeing that anything heard on her albums will translate directly to concert settings. The use of electronics enhances the leaping, angular idiom that Bloom has adapted for both her compositions and improvisations; an almost mechanistic modernism with flashes of flowing romance infuses her music, as heard to best advantage on her remarkable 1992 album Art & Aviation (Arabesque). Two of the musicians who helped make that album such a success--trumpeter Ron Horton and bassist Michael Formanek--will perform with Bloom here; filling the quartet is the redoubtable Billy Hart, who remains among the most distinctively ingenious drummers on the planet. Bloom's set kicks off the final night of the Women of the New Jazz Festival, which will also feature the multikulti Chicago septet Samana and a quartet led by the often spellbinding keyboardist and vocalist Amino Claudine Myers. Saturday, 8:30 PM, HotHouse, 1565 N. Milwaukee; 235-2334.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Tom Lou.

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