Umbrella Music Festival with Hans Peter Pfammatter, Gerard Lebik, Franz Hautzinger, Sophia Domancich, Ab Baars, and others | Chicago Cultural Center | Jazz | Chicago Reader

Umbrella Music Festival with Hans Peter Pfammatter, Gerard Lebik, Franz Hautzinger, Sophia Domancich, Ab Baars, and others Early Warnings (Music) Recommended

When: Nov. 2-6 2011

Back in the late 90s, Austrian trumpeter Franz Hautzinger adapted a radical approach to improvisation: he began playing a quarter-tone horn and focused almost exclusively on the unpitched sounds of his inhaled and exhaled breaths moving through the instrument. Close miking gave them a rich harmonic presence, and Hautzinger's stunning precision and mouthpiece control produced a veritable symphony of beats, whispers, and abstract shapes. Still, there was a studied quality to that work, and in recent years Hautzinger has begun using more conventional trumpet sounds. Yet on his 2007 solo album Gomberg II—Profile (Loewenhertz) he remains a sonic investigator, using electronics and a wide array of extended techniques to create pulsing, coloristic explorations. He delivers a more visceral sound, combining those past and present interests on Close Up (Monotype), a terrific free-improv session with reedist Bertran Gauget and analog-synth wizard Thomas Lehn. Tonight Hautzinger is joined by two locals, Dave Rempis on reeds and Nick Butcher on electronics.

Early in her jazz career, starting in the mid-80s, French pianist Sophia Domancich worked with figures from England's progressive-rock scene, collaborating with the likes of Elton Dean, John Greaves, and Hugh Hopper of Henry Cow and Pip Pyle of Hatfield & the North. You can hear that legacy on last year's Snakes and Ladders (Cristal), a song-oriented outing with vocals by Greaves and Robert Wyatt, with Domancich playing lots of Fender Rhodes. She's also a superb improviser, whether stretching out with the rhythm section of Hamid Drake and William Parker on 2009's Washed Away (Marge) or playing pithy, harmonically ambiguous compositions on Free 4 (Cristal), an outing that pairs her limber trio DAG with American saxophonist Dave Liebman. Based on what I've heard so far, she carefully adapts her approach according to context and collaborators, so I'm curious to hear what will happen here—she'll perform with a Chicago rhythm section consisting of bassist Harrison Bankhead and drummer Avreaayl Ra.

Brilliant Dutch reedist Ab Baars has been a frequent visitor to Chicago, both with his own groups and as a member of the mighty ICP Orchestra. Tonight he leads a top-notch local band (drummer Mike Reed, vibist Jason Adasiewicz, and trombonist Jeb Bishop) through a program of his typically lean, rigorous originals. On last year's masterful solo effort, Time to Do My Lions (Wig), he sounds more focused and efficient than ever. Hautzinger, Domancich, and Baars all play multiple sets in different halls as part of European Jazz Meets Chicago, which kicks off this year's Umbrella Music Festival. —Peter Margasak Part of Umbrella Music Festival.

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