Renaud Garcia-Fons | Maurer Hall, Old Town School of Folk Music | Jazz | Chicago Reader

Renaud Garcia-Fons Recommended Free All Ages Soundboard Image

When: Wed., Jan. 7, 8:30 p.m. 2015

The bass is rarely thought of as an agile instrument capable of great melodic dexterity, but the French musician Renaud Garcia-Fons has spent much of his career proving otherwise. Though he’s usually considered a jazz artist thanks to his prowess as an improviser—he worked in the Orchestre National de Jazz and has played with genre-defying folks like oudist Dhafer Youssef, guitarist Nguyên Lê, and clarinetist Louis Sclavis—his reach extends all over the Mediterranean as he incorporates flamenco, Italian folk, and Greek traditions, among others. And while Garcia-Fons frequently works with others, his 2012 album Solo: The Marcevol Concert (Enja) proves that the absence of other musicians doesn’t act as a limitation—something the audience will quickly learn when he performs solo for his Chicago debut. Thanks to looping pedals and his own impressive ability to get his custom-built five-string bass to sound like the full range of stringed instruments, Garcia-Fons makes lovely, tonally rich music marked by piquant counterpoint and rhythmic drive. While his music can veer toward the sentimental at times, his technique is never less than astonishing. —Peter Margasak

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