Karayorgis/Dijkstra Quintet, Trevor Watts & Veryan Weston | Heaven Gallery | Jazz | Chicago Reader

Karayorgis/Dijkstra Quintet, Trevor Watts & Veryan Weston All Ages Soundboard

When: Fri., July 1, 10 p.m. 2011

Over the past five years or so, Boston-based Dutch reedist Jorrit Dijkstra has led a few bands that feature some of our city's best players. For his Flatlands Collective he recruited exclusively Chicago talent, and the octet on his recent Pillow Circles (Clean Feed) includes three locals: drummer Frank Rosaly, bassist Jason Roebke, and trombonist Jeb Bishop. The album was commissioned by the prestigious North Sea Jazz Festival, and the Chicago musicians play a crucial role in shaping Dijkstra's beautifully lyrical tunes, which balance postswing arrangements, terse rock grooves, and electronic noise (at one point the ensemble includes three crackle boxes) with thrilling exactitude. Those same three locals are also part of Dijkstra's new group with Pandelis Karayorgis, which makes its Chicago debut this weekend. The Boston-based pianist will contribute compositions to the Karayorgis / Dijkstra Quintet, which is excellent news judging by the quality of his writing on the new System of 5 (Hatology). He has a profound grasp of the complexities of post-Monk piano—jagged rhythmic patterns, tart harmonies, steeplechase melodic figures—and his restrained solos evoke not only Monk but also early Cecil Taylor. The rhythm section of drummer Luther Gray and bassist Jef Charland lays down a foundation of elegant, imperturbable swing, while reedist Matt Langley and trombonist Jeff Galindo sketch out muted counterpoint to Karayorgis's written parts and play crackerjack solos. It's easily one of the best jazz records I've heard this year. Roebke, Rosaly, Bishop, Dijkstra, and Karayorgis will all be present tonight, but for Sunday's concert bassist Nate McBride and drummer Tim Daisy will fill in for Roebke and Rosaly.

Veteran British improvisers Trevor Watts and Veryan Weston, both restlessly curious players, make their Chicago debut as a duo to open this show. Saxophonist Trevor Watts was a key early figure in England's 60s free-jazz scene, notably as a regular partner of drummer John Stevens, with whom he cofounded the Spontaneous Music Ensemble. Over the years he's explored fusion and folk in groups like Amalgam (whose various lineups included Barry Guy, Harry Miller, and Keith Rowe) as well as Moire Music and the Celebration Band (which wedded searing improvisations to heavy grooves borrowed from funk and African music). Pianist Veryan Weston, who's played in many Watts-led projects over the decades, has developed his own mix of lyrical exploration and turbulent chaos in long-term partnerships, including a duo with radical singer Phil Minton and various bands with bassist Luc Klaasen (formerly of the Ex), among them 4 Walls and Sol 6. The bracing improvised duets on Watts and Weston's 2001 album 6 Dialogues (Emanem) show them at their most spontaneous, veering from brooding melodies over caustic harmonies to fleeting passages of austere calm. —Peter Margasak See also Sunday for the Karayorgis/Dijkstra Quintet.

Price: Donation requested

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