When: Sun., Jan. 15, 9 p.m. 2017
Bass clarinetist Jason Stein is one of the strongest figures in Chicago’s improvised music scene, a musician who’s masterfully tamed his unwieldy instrument in both hard-swinging contexts and raucous free-improvisation settings. Last year he dropped a superb self-titled album with Hearts and Minds—his wiggy trio that includes keyboardist Paul Giallorenzo and drummer Frank Rosaly—drawing inspiration from the astral explorations of vintage Sun Ra but relocating them here in gritty Chicago. By and large, however, Stein’s been absent from local stages—most of his performances take place in arenas and amphitheaters around the world, as his long-running group Locksmith Isidore opens for his sister, comedian Amy Schumer. I’m hoping the debut of this new improvised trio with bassist Anton Hatwich and drummer Avreeayl Ra indicates he’ll be a more frequent presence in town, but even if that’s not the case, I’m intrigued by the lineup—Ra is one of Chicago’s most explosive drummers, and I’m eager to hear how he coalesces with Stein and Hatwich.