Sonore | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Most all-saxophone groups, from ROVA to the World Saxophone Quartet to New Winds, improvise from written material, using arrangements that approximate more-standard instrumentation--one musician articulates something like a bass line, while others play riffs and someone solos. Sonore, a new trio made up of three of improvised music's strongest voices--Germany's Peter Brotzmann, Sweden's Mats Gustafsson, and Chicago's Ken Vandermark--breaks the mold: all of the material is improvised, though it doesn't sound that way. The musicians have worked together extensively, particularly in Brotzmann's titanic Chicago Tentet, and it shows in their fleet telepathic communication. On their fine debut, No One Ever Works Alone (Okka Disk), the players masterfully anticipate each other's moves; one will fall into a fixed riff that gives the others a sturdy launchpad, or all three might suddenly coalesce around a shared lick. Sonore artfully avoids the cacophonous tangle that can result from three screaming saxophones: one or two players will drop out for a spell, allowing a new direction to be cast, or they'll all dial down the proceedings to just above a whisper. This show is the group's first in Chicago. $8. Wednesday, September 1, 9:30 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western; 773-276-3600 or 800-594-8499.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photos/Michael Jackson.

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