Max Johnson | Elastic | Jazz | Chicago Reader

Max Johnson Recommended All Ages Soundboard Image

When: Thu., Nov. 3, 9 p.m. 2016

New York bassist Max Johnson has established himself as one of the more versatile figures in jazz and improvised music, a leader with a strong, woody tone who shows himself capable whether playing tunes with a swinging drive or exploring abstract terrain with a texture-oriented approach (he’s also an in-demand bluegrass musician). His superb trio with cornetist Kirk Knuffke and drummer Ziv Ravitz has released a couple of terrific albums, including last year’s Something Familiar (Fresh Sound New Talent), a collection of brisk, tuneful pieces that shows off his sense of time and ease with changes as he and Ravitz allow the horn player generous space while creating a springy energy. But Johnson’s 2014 quartet album The Prisoner (No Business) captures a much different side of his personality. He wrote all seven of its pieces, and the simultaneously quicksilver and slow-moving execution by tenor saxophonist Ingrid Laubrock, violist Mat Maneri, and drummer Tomas Fujiwara brings out a totally different complexion in his music, patient arco lines forming a viscous ooze with the bowing of Maneri while fast, itchy pizzicato adds a controlled yet driving vigor to the proceedings. Tonight Johnson debuts a new midwestern trio with drummer Tim Daisy and trumpeter Russ Johnson—a player who’s as lyric as Knuffke, but who also likes to take things into less structured settings—playing all-improvised music. For the second set saxophonist Dave Rempis will join the group.

Peter Margasak

Price: $10 suggested donation

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