Pachora | Maurer Hall, Old Town School of Folk Music | International | Chicago Reader

Pachora All Ages Recommended Soundboard

When: Wed., Oct. 5, 8:30 p.m. 2011

The combination of jazz improvisation and international music styles—particularly those of Romany origin—was fashionable in the New York scene until about a decade ago, and in the years since it's fallen out of vogue most former practitioners of the fusion have either gone all in (percussionist Matt Moran now has a neo-Balkan brass band called Slavic Soul Party!) or all out (trumpeter Dave Douglas dropped the eastern European traditions that colored the Tiny Bell Trio for his group Brass Ecstasy). Pachora exemplify this musical marriage as well as anyone, and while they've barely been active lately, their most recent album, 2003's Astereotypical (Winter & Winter), still sounds fresh and full of ideas. The quartet, led by drummer Jim Black, plays brisk original melodies derived from Greek, Serbian, Bulgarian, and Turkish folk, usually rendered in zigzagging unison lines by clarinetist Chris Speed and guitarist and electric saz player Brad Shepik. Bassist Skuli Sverrisson holds down the harmonic center and helps maintain the frenetic pulse, giving the songs a danceable feel despite often unusual time signatures. All four members are excellent improvisers—there are plenty of solos in Pachora's tunes—and their startling accents and displacements give the group's rigorous ensemble sound a dazzling rhythmic flexibility despite its strict adherence to meter. —Peter Margasak Pachora also plays a free all-ages show Fri 10/7 at noon in the Chicago Cultural Center's Preston Bradley Hall.

Price: $5 suggested donation.

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