Nate Wooley | Graham Foundation | Experimental | Chicago Reader

Nate Wooley All Ages Free Recommended Soundboard Image

When: Sat., May 17, 8 p.m. 2014

Nate Wooley never fails to astonish me with his curiosity and range. Though ostensibly a jazz trumpeter—he showed off his adroitness as a composer, improviser, and arranger on (Sit In) The Throne of Friendship (Clean Feed), my favorite jazz album of 2013—he’s also developed a rigorous practice as a sound artist. Last year’s fantastic Seven Storey Mountain III and IV (Pleasure of the Text) documents the latest iterations of a long-running project, which began with intimate explorations of drone via modest live instrumentation and ambient recordings from Wooley’s home and has grown to produce profoundly moving large-group constellations of lovely counterpoint, harrowing textures, and ghostly long tones. Wooley has also demonstrated dazzling extended technique as a nonjazz soloist, blowing sibilant noise over the elegant postmodern strings of the Mivos Quartet on Bojan Vuletic’s 2011 composition Atemwende. For this rare solo performance, he’ll perform two of his physically demanding “Syllables” pieces, which require him to use circular breathing and other extended techniques to construct uninterrupted drones, repeating patterns, and turbulent, razor-edged phrases. Wooley will also manipulate his mouth, throat, and nasal passages as he plays to shape phonemes derived from a text—part of an interview with composer Kenneth Gaburo, to whom the piece pays homage. The music also has a tape component; in Wooley’s words, it “uses electronic sound that maps onto the phonemes used in the piece over a series of drones and beating patterns.” He’ll perform the first “Syllables” work (he intends to eventually have six) and premiere the second, then round out the concert with solo improvisations, alternately acoustic and amplified. —Peter Margasak


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