Wolter Wierbos | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Last year Data Records reissued Wierbos, the 1982 solo debut from Dutch trombonist Wolter Wierbos, and the album sounds as radical as it ever did: it's still a brain-melting display of extended technique, a brash, funny catalog of the wild sounds and effects he can coax from his instrument. There are horse whinnies and snorts on "I Can't Dance," lyrical mute wah-wahs on "Mutey," wild slide multiphonics on "Teuge," and gut-rumbling grunts on "Oink-Oink"--not to mention some straight-up, fat-toned melodies. And even on the shortest, most playful pieces, he manages to create drama and develop a theme. It took Wierbos until the mid-90s to release a second solo disc, but on X Caliber (ICP) he places this seemingly limitless arsenal of techniques in the service of longer improvisations, which unfold according to their own light-footed logic. (As he tells Kevin Whitehead in the book New Dutch Swing, "When I improvise, I have an idea about form, about where it's going.") Given his dearth of solo material, Wierbos is naturally best known for his work with others: he contributes stately melodies to Aan & Uit, the new album by the ICP Orchestra, and scrappy, confrontational blowing to an entry in Konkurrent's "In the Fishtank" series that combines personnel from ICP, the Ex, and Sonic Youth. For this visit Wierbos will appear in a number of improvisational contexts: Solo and with percussionist Michael Zerang on Sunday, June 20, 8 PM, Candlestick Maker, 4432 N. Kedzie; 773-463-0158 ($10 suggested donation). Solo and with the Fred Lonberg-Holm Trio on Tuesday, June 22, 9:30 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western; 773-276-3600 or 800-594-8499 ($8). Solo, on a double bill with Tatsuya Nakatani's MAP Trio, on Wednesday, June 23, 8 PM, HotHouse, 31 E. Balbo; 312-362-9707 ($8).

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Michael Jackson.

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