The agile duo of bassist Darin Gray and drummer Chris Corsano find a new sparring partner in Jeff Tweedy | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

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The agile duo of bassist Darin Gray and drummer Chris Corsano find a new sparring partner in Jeff Tweedy

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One of the less celebrated legacies of former Chicagoan Jim O’Rourke has been bringing together strong, idiosyncratic musicians who then forge lasting bonds. In 2001 he shepherded drummer Glenn Kotche, whom he had worked with extensively, into the Wilco fold. Four years later he lassoed the energy of drummer Chris Corsano and underground rock bassist Darin Gray (with whom he worked in Brise-Glace) as the rhythm section for his project with legendary Japanese saxophonist Akira Sakata. Since then Corsano and Gray have developed a remarkably strong connection that seems to have grown more telepathic and agile with time. As the duo Chikamorachi, much of their work is still confined to performances with Sakata (although they did play a galvanizing concert with Chicago reedist Mars Williams at the Hungry Brain in 2012). Next month the group will drop a fiery new album, Proton Pump (Family Vineyard). Along with Sakata, the album features another grey eminence of Japanese experimental music, pianist Masahiko Satoh, who locks into the flow of the trio’s sinewy yet visceral attack, laying down carpets of left-hand disruption, thunderous propulsion, and splintery melody. On “Bullet Apoptosis” Corsano and Gray ebb and flow like breath, achieving rumbling tumult that encourages Sakata’s acerbic alto to sail, pivot, and splay, while on “Chemiosmotic Coupling of Atom” they move between tiptoe scampers and martial fury as they accompany Sakata’s wild vocalizations, which range from whispers to screams. More recently Chikamorachi has been working with a new partner, Jeff Tweedy, a childhood pal of Gray’s. Together they performed a lacerating set at this year’s Big Ears Festival that was closer to noise than free jazz, and that’s the trio that will make its local debut tonight.   v

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