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Monday, September 14, 2009

Burnt Sugar Tonight at Uncommon Ground

Posted by on 09.14.09 at 05:21 PM

Burnt Sugar
  • Burnt Sugar
This evening a scaled-down version of polyglot New York groupBurnt Sugar plays at Uncommon Ground on Devon. Music critic Greg Tate, who almost single-handedly led the reappraisal of the early-70s electric work of Miles Davis, formed the multifarious ensemble a decade ago and still leads it, using a “conduction” style adapted from that of Lawrence “Butch” Morris. Burnt Sugar has counted a stunning assortment of talented players within its ever-shifting ranks—alumni include pianist Vijay Iyer, reedist Matana Roberts, cellist Okkyung Lee, and percussionist Shahzad Ismaily.

But even more than its lineup, what’s made Burnt Sugar so absorbing and stimulating has been the wide scope of its music—a dense amalgam that constantly shifts as elements of free jazz, funk, hard rock, hip-hop, R & B, electronica, and other genres flow in and out. Not every passage takes wing, but under Tate’s baton there’s usually an impressive sense of order and logical progression. Tate won’t be present tonight, but according to longtime bassist Jared Nickerson—who’ll also be absent—several other ensemble members have emerged to lead the conductions, and one or more of them will be taking over at Uncommon Ground.

For this show Burnt Sugar will be a sextet, with superb trumpeter Lewis “Flip” Barnes—who was just in town as part of William Parker’s Curtis Mayfield project at the Chicago Jazz Festival—reedist Micah Gaugh, singer Karma Mayet Johnson, violinist and singer Mazz Swift, bassist Jason DiMatteo, and drummer Swiss Chris. At a show earlier in the day at Northeastern Illinois University, guitarist Pete Cosey sat in.

Today’s playlist:

Various artists, Get Low Down! The Soul of New Orleans ’65-‘67 (Sundazed)
Joe Maneri Trio, The Trio Concerts (Leo)
Jana Winderen, Heated (Touch)
Paolo Fresu & Uri Caine, Think. (Blue Note, Italy)
Those Darlins, Those Darlins (Oh Wow Dang)

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