Trumpet virtuoso Peter Evans debuts a new band and a new book of music | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

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Trumpet virtuoso Peter Evans debuts a new band and a new book of music

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Trumpeter Peter Evans packs a ton of music into just about everything he does, and the quintet that recorded last year’s mind-­boggling Genesis (More Is More) lets him sound the full diapason of his freakish talent. Here he folds his prodigious extended techniques into his relatively straightforward playing, employing them mostly in service of protean improvisation rather than as a focal point (as he often does in his solo practice). He’s been manipulating bop structures for years, beginning with his agile Zebulon trio in the early 2010s, but this band pushes that approach to a fractured extreme. Evans, drummer Jim Black, bassist Tom Blancarte, and pianist Ron Stabinsky hurtle through tricky changes at a sprint while Sam Pluta digitally reshapes, distorts, and chops up their output in real time. Pluta’s acts of creative sabotage and accretion force everyone to be on their toes to an even greater degree than the airlessly dense music on Genesis would on its own—this group pushes the technical bravado of postbop to the breaking point. The bulk of the album consists of multipart suites such as “Patient Zero (15 Scenes),” which styles itself as a series of scores for imaginary dramas; each begins with a tongue-in-cheek bass-drum hit and a tell-tale quote from the Twilight Zone theme, though two of them are fragile chorales for trumpet and piano. Dedicated to Alice Coltrane, “3 for Alice” contains a few passages of spacey contemplation, but most of the movements combine furious rhythmic intricacy and rigorous compositional complexity—and when Stabinsky moves to synthesizer for dizzying unison passages with the bandleader, it can get a bit exhausting. Since recording Genesis, Evans has developed a new repertoire for this group, which he describes as “more open.” He’s also expanded its lineup, adding Levy Lorenzo on percussion and electronics and Mazz Swift on violin (though she won’t make this gig).   v

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