Jon Irabagon & Mike Pride, Frankenstein | Elastic | Jazz | Chicago Reader

Jon Irabagon & Mike Pride, Frankenstein Recommended All Ages Soundboard Critics' Picks

When: Thu., July 16, 10 p.m. 2009

A lot of great artists have won the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition since it started in 1987, but not till last year, when New York saxophonist Jon Irabagon took top honors, did the prize go to a musician bent on pushing past the traditional mainstream sound. In the wild quartet Mostly Other People Do the Killing he works within the bebop continuum even as he merrily subverts it, and though his Monk winnings include a contract with the relatively conservative Concord label—the album is due this fall—he just released a disc with iconoclastic New York drummer Mike Pride, I Don’t Hear Nothin’ but the Blues (Loyal Label), that makes it clear he’s got a maverick streak a mile wide. It consists of a single 47-minute improvisation that storms like the locomotive on the album cover through a series of riffs and lines, many of which recur repeatedly in mutated forms to create a nonstop flurry of shifting settings—free jazz, rock, blues, speed metal—but never come off the rails. And each section of this epic, though spontaneously created, retains the focus and concision of a pop song. For a Q&A with Irabagon, see my blog Post No Bills.Peter Margasak

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