New Winds | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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They bill themselves as a "multiple woodwind trio" which gives you some idea of the program; but fundamentally New Winds ask the musical question, "How wild and woolly can three like-minded virtuosi get without bass, without drums, and without losing their intrinsic musicality?" The answer is pretty far; to show your work, though, you have to factor in the 15 or 16 instruments these three employ, including five different clarinets and some rarely heard outcasts of the flute family. Robert Dick, J.D. Parran, and Ned Rothenberg may not be household names, but stalwart followers of new music know them to be daringly experimental and rigorously demanding performers. What's more, each has gone beyond the hurdle of improvisation to achieve innovation on his chosen instruments, either inventing or perfecting new performance techniques that expand those instruments' abilities. Their range of sounds and textures is frankly astonishing, and not just in their own pieces: their one recording finds them expanding on a tune by Ornette Coleman and reinventing Ellington. Saturday, 8 PM, Southend Musicworks, 1313 S. Wabash; 939-2848.

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