Lucian Ban & John Hebert | Mayne Stage | Classical | Chicago Reader

Lucian Ban & John Hebert All Ages Recommended Soundboard

When: Wed., Oct. 19, 8 p.m. 2011

Romanian jazz pianist Lucian Ban left his homeland in 1999 to study music at the New School in New York, and a few years in, several conductors and musicians told him that a few of his compositions reminded them of the great Romanian classical composer and violinist George Enescu. Ban, who'd never heard of Enescu, was intrigued. After acquiring some music, he got a surprise: "I discovered lines, phrases and motives in my pieces that seemed lifted from Enescu's scores, scores that I've never seen or even heard," he wrote on the blog for New York classical station WQXR. The experience inspired Ban to explore the composer's music from a jazz perspective, despite his misgivings about previous attempts to fuse jazz and classical. His gorgeous renderings, realized with the help of superb bassist John Hebert, turned up last year on Enesco Re-Imagined (Sunnyside)—an album that falls into the cracks between genres and steers clear of effete third-stream business. An excellent cast of players (including trumpeter Ralph Alessi, saxophonist Tony Malaby, and violist Mat Maneri) traces the melodies languidly, in lines strewn with improvised accents or flat-out, sanguine digressions; drummer Gerald Cleaver and tabla player Badal Roy (a onetime collaborator of Miles Davis) stoke the rhythms expertly. For this rare local performance, Ban and Hebert are joined by Alessi, Maneri, Cleaver, Roy, tenor saxophonist Andrew Bishop, and violinist Joyce Hammann. —Peter Margasak

Price: $17-$27

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