Pin It

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The flexible sounds of David Stackenas

Posted By on 11.14.07 at 02:45 PM

click to enlarge 2317.jpg

Chicagoans have had numerous chances to hear Swedish guitarist David Stackenäs over the last decade or so. He was part of the important Pipeline Project that truly opened up the creative exchange between Chicago and Stockholm, and he’s performed here as a member of Tri-Dim (with Håkon Kornstad and Ingar Zach), Ken Vandermark’s Territory Band, and on his own. Tonight he plays solo and in a trio with Fred Lonberg-Holm (cello) and Michael Colligan (dry ice) at the Hideout.

Stackenäs has consistently impressed me with both his range and inventiveness, adapting his skills and sound to each given context while retaining a signature sound—an approach that emphasizes color and texture, limning the work of others with ear-opening harmonies and noisy shadows. On Agape (Creative Sources), his duet album with saxophonist Martin Küchen (a member of the energetic free jazz quartet Exploding Customer), he demonstrates his expertise with gestural, abstract tendencies. While his partner concentrates on unpitched breathing sounds, Stackenäs masterfully alternates carefully selected bits of high frequency feedback and string scraping, striking his axe with various unnamed devices (I’m not sure, but on some passages he appears to be using handheld electronic devices that nick the strings in rapid succession). The pair engages in a lovely, richly nuanced dialogue.

His contributions are more maximal on the excellent debut album by the quartet Boots Brown—reedist Mats Gustafsson, bassist Johan Berthling, and trumpeter Magnus Broo—released on the recently formed Slottet Records. The music starts out as if it were an off-kilter homage to west-coast verities, with Broo (of Atomic fame) and Gustafsson dancing around one another like Chet Baker and Gerry Mulligan and Stackenäs laying down Jim Hall-worthy chords. But things change quickly. The combo covers a lot of ground, and though a mixture of unusual restraint and chilled sonorities is at work throughout, this is ultimately free improvisation of the highest caliber. Although Boots Brown don’t hesitate to draw upon idiomatic antecedents like that west coast chamber sound, the real focus is on spontaneous give-and-take. Stackenäs finds an easy reconciliation of Hall, Derek Bailey, and Keith Rowe, and sounds exactly like himself all the while.

Tags: , ,

Find out how you can help

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Peter Margasak

  • Chicago Jazz Festival 2016: Sunday

    Chicago Jazz Festival 2016: Sunday

    The bill on September 4 features the Charles Rumback Sextet, Erwin Helfer, Michael Zerang & the Blue Lights, the John Scofield/Joe Lovano Quartet, and much more.
    • Aug 31, 2016
  • The fest around Jazz Fest

    The fest around Jazz Fest

    This year’s preshows and aftershows include Tony Malaby, Kidd Jordan, Ira Sullivan, Alvin Fielder, and Edward Wilkerson Jr.
    • Aug 31, 2016
  • The <i>Reader</i>’s comprehensive guide to the Chicago Jazz Festival

    The Reader’s comprehensive guide to the Chicago Jazz Festival

    This year’s lineup captures the music’s proliferating diversity, with the Bad Plus, Anat Cohen, Erwin Helfer, Tarbaby, JD Allen, the Liberation Music Orchestra, and much more.
    • Aug 31, 2016
  • More »

Tabbed Event Search

The Bleader Archive

Popular Stories

We May Have To Add A Fifth Fundamental Force Of Nature