When: Sat., May 21, 7 p.m. 2016
For his first visit to Chicago in a couple of years German reedist Peter Brötzmann reconvenes one of his strongest bands as well as one of his most mystifying partnerships. He’d separately forged strong bonds with Chicago vibraphonist Jason Adasiewicz, and the British rhythm section of drummer Steve Noble and bassist John Edwards before bringing them all together a few years ago—but as the 2014 album Mental Shake (Otoroku) makes clear, when they join forces they elevate the power of their music exponentially. Noble plays less frenetically, though no less propulsively, than some of the veteran reedist’s favored drummers of late (Paal Nilssen-Love, Hamid Drake), favoring a more direct sense of movement. He masterfully works his cymbals to create a forceful clang that fits well with Adasiewicz’s extroverted maneuvers—rich bowing, bar-damped clatter—while Edwards provides a center, plucking high-velocity lines that prod and propel as much as anything Noble does. But reflecting the full range of the leader’s capabilities, the group also delivers moments of tenderness and gorgeous introspection. This concert is the quartet’s first performance in Chicago. The evening will begin with another local debut: Brötzmann’s duo with former Charalambides member Heather Leigh, whose primitive pedal steel guitar playing on their album Ears Are Filled With Wonder (Not Two/Trost) has the interactional power of amp buzz. Her wobbly, droning arpeggios and pained, quasi-psychedelic single-note runs make little use of the instrument’s liquid capabilities, instead providing the reedist with the ultimate challenge—finding something to work against amid the lifeless, unimaginative din.
Price: $20, $15 members and students