Jenny Scheinman's Mischief & Mayhem, Nora O'Connor & Liam Davis | SPACE | Jazz, Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader

Jenny Scheinman's Mischief & Mayhem, Nora O'Connor & Liam Davis All Ages Soundboard Recommended Critics' Picks

When: Wed., Dec. 1, 8 p.m. 2010

New York violinist and singer Jenny Scheinman has turned up in Chicago a lot this year—two weeks ago she played at SPACE in Evanston with guitarist Bill Frisell, and she's joined Robbie Fulks for several of his regular Monday-night Hideout shows. If you've seen her with Fulks, you'd probably peg her as an Americana artist, but her roots are in jazz—and no matter what she plays, her sound is broad-minded and cosmopolitan. Her new jazz quartet, Mischief & Mayhem, makes music laced with rock, pop, and twang, and Scheinman's partners in the group are just as comfortable straddling genres as she is: guitarist Nels Cline plays with Wilco, bassist Todd Sickafoose is in Ani DiFranco's band, and drummer Jim Black powers the bracing postrock of Tyft. Black and Sickafoose are capable of subtle, springy rhythms, but on the four tracks I've heard from Mischief & Mayhem's forthcoming debut they more often drive the ensemble with a backbeat (albeit a heady and sophisticated one). Scheinman and Cline create rich harmonies and detailed counterpoint, and Cline's mastery of effects pedals gives his playing an impressive depth of character and color—he can leap from spectral to piercing or from glassy to jagged. Both are fiery improvisers, balancing the concision and catchiness of rock with the virtuosity and harmonic daring of jazz. Scheinman's compositions for the group collide those elements with a daredevil's confidence, and the pull each genre exerts on the music produces an irresistible tension. Nora O'Connor & Liam Davis open. —Peter Margasak

Price: $30, $25 in advance

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