Arts & Culture » Theater Critic's Choice

Kali Z. Fasteau

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Kali Z. Fasteau first got noticed in the mid-70s while working with her husband, Chicago-born bassist Donald Rafael Garrett (who died in 1989), but she's since made a name for herself on her own. Though primarily a saxophonist, she plays piano, cello, percussion, and various Asian instruments too--and also runs Flying Note, the label that's just released her 12th album, People of the Ninth. That's "Ninth" as in Ninth Ward: recorded in September 2005, the disc memorializes the devastation of Hurricane Katrina and features Kidd Jordan, the patriarchal New Orleans free-jazz saxist. It's pretty crazy stuff, a throwback to the experimentation of the 60s and 70s--Fasteau inhabits a world of pure sound, in which traditional elements (melody, harmony, even form) exist abstrusely, to the extent they exist at all. Her approach is undeniably effective at conveying mood and texture, though if you can't let go of your preconceptions (and sometimes even if you can) it may come off as gibberish. But I'll give her the benefit of the doubt for these Chicago shows, especially since the quartet she's leading will include a grounded reedist in Mwata Bowden. Bassist Harrison Bankhead and drummer Dushun Mosley round out the group. See also Saturday. a 9 PM, Velvet Lounge, 67 E. Cermak, 312-791-9050, $15.

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