In the 90s bass clarinetist Gene Coleman, director of the new-music group Ensemble Noamnesia, helped connect Chicago's avant-classical community to like-minded European musicians and to the city's post-rock scene. He's in Pennsylvania now, but his interest in musical cross-pollination hasn't waned a bit. His latest venture is the Tabadol Project, which unites improvisers from Beirut with American and European players in five U.S. cities this month. The Lebanese musicians have built a scene from scratch in a country that's still recovering from years of civil war and foreign occupation, and they're developing a vocabulary that owes little to either jazz or traditional Middle Eastern music. Mazen Kerbaj, for example, stands alongside Greg Kelley, Franz Hautzinger, and Axel Dorner as one of the most radical trumpeters on the planet. On BRT VRT ZRT KRT, a solo album on his own Al Maslakh label, he modifies the instrument with metal tubes and a saxophone mouthpiece and mutes it with metal plates, creating sounds that evoke a stove crowded with boiling kettles. And Rouba3i5 (Al Maslakh), recorded with a Lebanese-Norwegian quartet that includes fellow Tabadol participant Christine Sehnaoui on sax, proves he also has a refined sense of give-and-take. Tonight's performance, the first of three here, features four Lebanese musicians (Kerbaj, Sehnaoui, multi-instrumentalist Raed Yassin, and oud player Ziad El Ahmadie), two Americans (Coleman and cellist Marina Peterson), and Swiss violist Charlotte Hug (see Wednesday) accompanying local dancers Asimina Chremos and Nicole Legette. See also Wednesday and Thursday. Tue 7/18, 9 PM, Link's Hall, 3435 N. Sheffield, second floor, 773-281-0824, $10 suggested donation. All ages.
Wednesday, the Mouhktabar Ensemble, which includes bass clarinetist Gene Coleman, cellist Marina Peterson, local electronicist Michael Hartman, and four Lebanese musicians, will perform a work in progress by Coleman that uses the spatial and sonic qualities of the Arab Institute building in Paris as a "metaphoric score." A discussion about the impact of globalization on music and architecture is at 7 PM. Wed 7/19, 8 PM, Experimental Station, 6100 S. Blackstone, 773-241-5458. Free. All ages.
Thursday, the evening features two sets. The first is an acoustic improvisation with Lebanese musicians Mazen Kerbaj (trumpet), Christine Sehnaoui (alto sax), and Raed Yassin (double bass), joined by local percussionist Michael Zerang, who's already played with the others here and in Beirut. The ensemble for the second consists of Swiss violist Charlotte Hug (see Wednesday), Lebanese oud player Ziad El Ahmadie, and several locals--ARP fiend Jim Baker and electronic musicians Todd Carter, Michael Hartman, Jason Soliday, Brian Labycz, and Robb Drinkwater. Thu 7/20, 9 PM, Enemy, 1550 N. Milwaukee, third floor, 312-493-3657, $5. All ages.