Michael Moore Quartet | Constellation | Jazz | Chicago Reader

Michael Moore Quartet Member Picks Early Warnings (Music) Soundboard Recommended Image

When: Sat., Aug. 24, 9:30 p.m. 2013

I sometimes forget that Michael Moore has a career outside the madcap ICP Orchestra, where the American-bred, Amsterdam-based reedist is one of the most formidable improvisers in a crew of heavies. But with his own, less prankish projects, he’s established himself as one of the finest jazz musicians working anywhere, either in the mainstream or the avant-garde. On the 2011 album Amsterdam (Ramboy) he ranges across that whole spectrum from the home base of his elegant compositions, leaping from one end to the other as casually as you might step from the curb to the street. Drummer Michael Vatcher (who plays with Moore in many projects, including the sextet Available Jelly) adapts Han Bennink’s predisposition for stretching or toppling a steady pulse or an easy swing pattern, but no matter what surprises he springs, Moore remains unfazed—even amid chaos he stoically continues his compositionally sound improvisations. Moore demonstrates his mastery of ballads on the lovely "Hilletjesbrug," alongside plangent chords by pianist Harmen Fraanje and serene arco lines by bassist Clemens van der Feen; on the lurching "Not Yet" he blows tart upper-register squeals on bass clarinet as his compatriots alternate between a steeplechase lope and a careful saunter, exploring the parameters of the tune to their utmost. For this rare visit Moore is joined by a fine Chicago crew consisting of cornetist Josh Berman, bassist Jason Roebke, and drummer Frank Rosaly. Moore also plays in mixed small groups with trumpeter Darren Johnston, saxophonist Larry Ochs, and several locals on Thu 8/22 at Elastic. —Peter Margasak