When: Thu., Nov. 5, 9 p.m. 2015
Swiss reedist Urs Leimgruber and pianist Jacques Demierre have been part of a heady improvising trio with veteran American expat bassist Barre Phillips for 15 years—and their partnership has gotten only knottier and bolder with time. The trio’s latest album, 1↦3⊨2:⇔1 (Jazzwerkstatt), is a bracing session of spontaneous composition built around monolithic structures created by Demierre. As an improviser the pianist can’t shake his investment in new music, dancing around keys with halting stabs that shatter like glass and carving out space like a bulldozer with thunderous left-hand figures. Long one of Europe’s most distinctive saxophonists, particularly on soprano, Leimgruber generates an astringent tone that cuts like a knife—occasionally a serrated one that features a biting vibrato—while Phillips, who just turned 80, excels as a binding agent, his ominous bowing, violent thwacks, and gnarled plucking providing propulsion for the trio’s extended abstractions. Sadly, health issues are preventing Phillips from making this U.S. tour, so Chicago cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm—who possesses the adventurousness required for such a role—will fill in. A video montage celebrating the bassist’s rich career will screen at Thursday’s concert, and Friday’s performance will feature the musicians improvising in mixed settings with Chicagoans Josh Berman (cornet) and Jim Baker (ARP synthesizer).
Price: $10 suggested donation