Quinsin Nachoff Flux | Constellation | Jazz | Chicago Reader

Quinsin Nachoff Flux 18+ Recommended Soundboard Image

When: Wed., Nov. 16, 8:30 p.m. 2016

Tenor saxophonist Quinsin Nachoff, a Toronto-native based in New York, has used different assemblages to explore varying compositional and conceptual precepts in his music—colliding a sax trio with a string quartet or leading his Pyramid Project, which front-loads music with a heavy-duty brass section. He’s also written extensively for new-music ensembles, and with the new album Flux (Mythology) he’s inventively adapted those sorts of commissions into a rugged, bass-free improvising quartet. Alto saxophonist Dave Binney joins Nachoff to play zigzagging unison lines that pull apart to create tart counterpoint, but the heaviest lifting is done by polymath keyboardist Matt Mitchell, who fills out the bottom with drummer Kenny Wollesen and gives the front line plenty to chew on. The careening rock energy of “Tightrope” belies the balletic suggestion of its title, though the broken-glass chords of Mitchell maintain control throughout. And on “Complimentary Opposites” he toggles between mathematic complexity, with both hands forming dizzying braids on the Fender Rhodes, and more direct acoustic playing, throwing a surprising reggae interlude in for good measure. Nachoff wrote “Astral Echo Poem” with Brazilian composer Hermeto Pascoal in mind (the title is an anagram of his name), and the piece summons his freewheeling spirit without aping his language. The quartet is touring behind the record, and I can only assume that the band will stretch this repertoire in thrilling ways.

Peter Margasak

Price: $10

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