Peter Brotzmann With Hamid Drake | Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Peter Brotzmann With Hamid Drake

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Peter Brotzmann is not only one of the very best saxophonists alive--he may also be the most dramatic. Though little known in America, he's been a crucial figure in Europe's homegrown jazz renaissance since the late 60s, when he exploded onto the scene with his own incendiary version of Albert Ayler's already inflammable music. Over time a remarkable instinct for structure asserted itself in his music; I suspect that the styles of expatriate Chicagoans such as Roscoe Mitchell may have encouraged him. (By the way, Mitchell returns to HotHouse on Saturday night in this big weekend for jazz modernists.) Nowadays Brotzmann will play one solo very softly, in long tones and a few carefully chosen notes; he'll storm through another in split-tone screams; and from song to song he'll switch from any of four saxophones to one of two clarinets. Most of all, he'll create musical lines, sentence by sentence--try to imagine what William Carlos Williams would sound like as a German saxophonist--with a rare sensitivity to dynamics, vividly contrasting rhythms and harmonies, and the tension of sounds in space. This weekend he'll play duets with the particularly intriguing percussionist Hamid Drake, who at his best joins a world of sound colors with a most infectious and inspirational sense of interplay. Tonight and Saturday, 8 PM, Southend Musicworks, 1313 S. Wabash; 939-2848.

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