Tony Malaby's Tamarindo Recommended Soundboard

When: Sun., Oct. 16, 10 p.m. 2011

Saxophonist Tony Malaby writes especially portable compositions, and the new Novela (Clean Feed) proves it with an unusual horn-loaded lineup. (It's not a Tamarindo record, though—I'll get to that band in a sec.) For Novela, pianist Kris Davis wrote new arrangements of six Malaby tunes spanning two decades of the reedist's career, then conducted (and occasionally played with) Malaby and an excellent group of improvisers—trumpeter Ralph Alessi, reedists Michael Attias, Andrew Hadro, and Joachim Badenhorst, tuba player Dan Peck, trombonist Ben Gerstein, and percussionist John Hollenbeck. Through thick, thorny elaborations of Malaby's often skeletal tunes, they veer back and forth from precise masses of organized sound to freewheeling blowing, without ever losing the thread; you can occasionally hear explorations of sound for sound's sake similar to those that characterized the early AACM. Trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith, a key member of the AACM, exerts a strong influence as a guest on Malaby's most recent record with Tamarindo, a trio with bassist William Parker and drummer Nasheet Waits: on last year's Tamarindo Live (Clean Feed), his commanding presence seems to cause Malaby to hang back a bit, giving the tunes more breathing room, and at the same time Smith ratchets up their intensity with fiery brass blasts. Over the rhythm section's roiling, largely improvised grooves, the two horn men sketch out simple themes with loosey-goosey interplay and blow extended, corrosive solos. Tamarindo is Malaby's most wide-open ensemble, and he's bringing it back to Chicago as part of the ongoing tenth-anniversary celebration of the Sunday Transmission Series at the Hungry Brain. Waits can't make it, but the very able Tom Rainey is filling in. —Peter Margasak

Price: $15 suggested donation

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