Okkyung Lee, Handmade Blade, Tomeka Reid Stringtet 18+ Recommended Soundboard Image

When: Fri., May 6, 8:30 p.m. 2016

Lots of musicians insist that they don’t pay much heed to style or genre, but there aren’t many improvisers and composers that embody openness like cellist Okkyung Lee—she embraces musical challenges like most folks draw breath. Last week she helped legendary pianist Cecil Taylor close out a two-week celebration at the Whitney in New York, and that was only a week after playing with longtime collaborator Vijay Iyer. In fact, the musicians she’s performed with this year all have one thing in common: a strong and original musical personality. Lee enhances such personalities with her playing, but that’s simply one characteristic of her aesthetic. She’s in town playing solo, where her dexterous technique and quicksilver imagination can go a myriad of ways—her sound might be rife with tension or gossamer delicate, or both in rapid succession. At a time when so much improvised music lacks the sense of surprise that’s supposed to define it, Lee embraces unpredictability. For the opening night of cellist Tomeka Reid’s Chicago Jazz String Summit Lee will perform first, followed by cellist Peggy Lee’s trio Handmade Blade and Reid’s own Stringtet.

Peter Margasak

Price: $15

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