Tarbaby with Oliver Lake | Green Mill | Jazz | Chicago Reader

Tarbaby with Oliver Lake Recommended Soundboard Critics' Picks

When: Fri., Oct. 15, 9 p.m. and Sat., Oct. 16, 8 p.m. 2010

Anchored by the trio of pianist Orrin Evans, bassist Eric Revis, and drummer Nasheet Waits—a coterie of topflight horn players have helped out over the years—this jazz collective thrives on challenging listeners' assumptions. On "E-Math," the vamping polyrhythmic shuffle that opens Tarbaby's knockout new album, The End of Fear (Posi-Tone), a spoken-word collage mixes mathematical equations and terse criticisms of the soullessness of contemporary jazz—lines like "Where's the melody?" or "Swing is over." The 11 complex and metrically daring pieces that follow don't always swing or have hummable melodies, but the group makes its mastery of jazz's building blocks—and the emotion at the heart of its music—perfectly clear. The three core members contribute pithy original tunes like "Brews," a blues by Revis that pushes and pulls the busy groove with fizzy deconstructionist glee, and "Hesitation," a tense, brooding ballad by Waits. Just as revealing of the band's broad aesthetic are the covers it plays, which include pieces by Fats Waller, Bad Brains, Sam Rivers, and Andrew Hill; the latter is an especially powerful influence. For these shows, Tarbaby's Chicago debut, veteran alto saxophonist Oliver Lake—who appears on The End of Fear alongside guests Nicholas Payton and J.D. Allen—will join Evans, Revis, and Waits. —Peter Margasak

Price: $12

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