When: Wed., Nov. 5, 6:30 p.m. 2014
German alto saxophonist Silke Eberhard takes a holistic view of jazz history: she’s worked with and learned from her elders, including pianists Dave Burrell, Ulrich Gumpert, and Aki Takase, and she’s formed the horn quartet Potsa Lotsa to survey the oeuvre of Eric Dolphy. Over the past decade she’s emerged as one of Europe’s most talented and engaging reedists, buttressing her rhythmically buoyant, envelope-pushing attack with respect for and knowledge of tradition; her own agile trio (with drummer Kay Lübke and Die Enttäuschung bassist Jan Roder) interprets her pithy, jagged themes with swinging precision and exciting malleability. Eberhard has also made a series of duo recordings with the aforementioned pianists—including a great all-Ornette Coleman program with Takase—but she’s at her best with the trio. On its 2011 album What a Beauty (Jazzwerkstatt) she plays her darting, tart-toned lines with a Colemanesque lilt; helped aloft by the energy of her rhythm section, she zigzags across the changes through her terse, catchy themes. For her overdue Chicago debut, she performs with an excellent local band: vibist Jason Adasiewiecz, bassist Jason Roebke, and drummer Mike Reed.
Polish clarinetist Waclaw Zimpel has visited Chicago in groups led by locals such as Ken Vandermark and Keefe Jackson, but this time he brings his own working quartet from Europe. He’s one of the most contemplative and lyrical players in improvised music, and on last year’s Stone Fog (Fortune) his tenderness shines through most magnificently on the three pieces he composed. The other tracks are group improvisations, and on those five pieces his resourceful, nuanced band (pianist Krzysztof Dys, bassist Christian Ramond, and drummer Klaus Kugel) conjures a similarly dramatic, moody atmosphere, transplanting into a free-jazz setting some of the brooding intensity and pin-drop dynamics of the classic Miles Davis Quintet with Wayne Shorter. —Peter Margasak