Three restless musicians—Ken Vandermark, Nate Wooley, and Paul Lytton—push one another to new horizons | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

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Three restless musicians—Ken Vandermark, Nate Wooley, and Paul Lytton—push one another to new horizons

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Update: The Nate Wooley/Ken Vandermark/Paul Lytton trio have canceled their tour. This show will proceed with Kuzu and a duo of Vandermark and Lytton.

Local clarinet and saxophone player Ken Vandermark, Brooklyn-based trumpeter Nate Wooley, and English percussionist Paul Lytton played their only handful of gigs as a trio in 2011, but their collective history stretches back more than 20 years. In 1999 Vandermark and Lytton initiated a partnership through which they’ve explored musical extremes—density and silence, propulsion and stasis—in intimate, totally improvised duos as well as in the larger, more mapped-out environment of Vandermark’s nine-piece Territory Band. Wooley and Lytton first recorded as a duo in 2007, and have purposefully kept their collaboration on unsteady ground: they add guest musicians in concert, and on disc they’ve shifted between whipping up dust devils of purely acoustic sound on The Nows (Clean Feed, 2012) and exploring alien electroacoustic atmospheres on the splendid studio recording Known/Unknown (Fundacja Słuchaj, 2020). And while Vandermark and Wooley are fearless free improvisers, they’ve used compositions (their own and those of underappreciated jazz duo Bobby Bradford and John Carter) to develop a duo language that stands well apart from what either man does in other contexts. The three duos are reconvening as a trio for a short tour of the midwest; whatever they do together, you can be sure that they’ll try their best not to repeat what they’ve already done. Also on the bill are Kuzu, the splendid trio of saxophonist Dave Rempis, guitarist Tashi Dorji, and drummer Tyler Damon, who are in the middle of a tour of their own to celebrate the release of Purple Dark Opal (Aerophonic, 2020).   v

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