Peter Brotzmann, William Parker, Gregg Bendian | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Peter Brotzmann, William Parker, Gregg Bendian


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A true giant of free jazz returns to Chicago. Once described as "apocalyptic," German saxophonist and clarinetist Peter Brotzmann has used off-the-chart virtuosity and a restless search for new sounds to construct a richly detailed and even stunning style. At times he sails into an ocean of overtones with shrieks of passion and delight; he can also build a lattice of ten thousand rapid, interlocking notes, cutting through musical complacency like a tessellated scythe. (This is the stuff that transports the adventurous but infuriates the nonbelievers; pick a camp and respond accordingly.) In recent years Brotzmann has advantageously hooked up with bassist William Parker and drummer Gregg Bendian, who at one time constituted the rhythm section for Cecil Taylor and who share Brotzmann's heightened awareness of sonic texture and color; in fact the trio use those elements even more than melody or rhythm to shape their performances. If you've ever wondered about the lyrical potential of postmeloclic jazz, their just-released album Sacred Scrape (Rastascan Records) supplies a few answers. On it, and very likely in this weekend's appearance, Brotzmann and company perform what I can only call tone poems. Not prettily pastoral but starkly expressionistic, owing more to the visions of Ginsberg than Rimbaud, but tone poems nonetheless, wild and hairy and barely able to contain their electrifying outcries. Saturday and Sunday, 9 PM, HotHouse, 1565 N. Milwaukee; 235-2334. Preceding Sunday's performance will be a performance of percussion duets by Bendian, Paul Wertico, and Steve Hunt (7 PM).

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Andre Lutzen.

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