String Trio of New York | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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String Trio of New York

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Southend Musicworks is back with a new season, a new location, and an old favorite in the String Trio of New York. The String Trio bristles with musical integrity; among the most unusual and yet accessible new-music ensembles, its members have carved out a unique body of works, many of which resemble some finely balanced, artfully complex machinery. Founding members John Lindberg (bass) and James Emery (acoustic guitar), along with violinist Charles Burnham, eschew traditional jazz instrumentation in creating music that is intimate, forceful, and versatile. It might seem odd to use that last description about such a drumless, hornless, catgut-ridden group. But when faced with this threesome--which can wryly update the Joe Venuti/Eddie Lang duets of the 20s, then juggle a fractured rhythm over a modern ostinato before launching into a controlled whirlwind of group improvisation--what can you do? An underlying thread is found in the instrumentation itself, which lends all of the trio's music the pure, elemental sound of folk cultures the world over. The String Trio last performed in Chicago nearly two years ago, right after violinist Burnham had joined up; this appearance offers the chance to hear how the group has grown to absorb his contributions. Tonight, Elbo Room, 2871 N. Lincoln; 667-1469 or 549-5549.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Linda Harris.

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