Metal Tongues Free Recommended Soundboard Image

When: Wed., Dec. 28, 9:30 p.m. 2016

Though he first made his name leading the Afrobeat-influenced instrumental band Nomo, saxophonist Elliot Bergman devotes most of his time and energy these days to Wild Belle, the Jamaican-flavored pop band he coleads with his sister Natalie. But his interest in more exploratory sounds has again been rearing its head in Metal Tongues, a low-key project he’s been leading for several years that features the kalimba, the instrument Bergman (along with Warn Defever of experimental-rock band His Name Is Alive) has a side gig custom building. I caught an early iteration of the group in New York a few years ago, with Chad Taylor on drums and Ben Vida on analog synthesizer, but since moving back to Chicago Bergman’s been working with percussionists (and Wild Belle collaborators) Quin Kirchner and Erik Hall (also of In Tall Buildings), who develop extended elastic grooves for him to improvise over. Bergman’s cascading lines are usually treated electronically, whether with effect pedals or looped, and here and there he adds saxophone solos over a sampled ostinato pattern. On occasion the trio is joined by a guest musician like alto saxophonist Nick Mazzarella—an arrangement that works well considering the open-ended structures—but even when it’s just the trio, Metal Tongues offer an appealingly chill yet probing side of the leader’s musical personality.

Peter Margasak

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