I’d never heard of New York bassist Shayna Dulberger
before I noticed this gig and got in touch with her, intrigued by the lineup of her band: drummer Carlos Costa
, guitarist Chris Welcome
, and saxophonist Yoni Kretzmer
, all bandleaders themselves. Now that I’ve listened to her superb new album, Ache & Flutter
(on her own Empty Room label), she’s definitely got my attention. Dulberger exerts a gentle touch over her collaborators, demonstrating creative savvy and letting them roam at will over direct postbop themes that give them plenty to work with. Kretzmer, an impressive young Israeli expat, has played with astringent ferocity on some of his own records (including last year’s Weight
, with his two-bass quartet), but here he’s a bit more restrained. It certainly helps that Costa, an Italian expat, deftly balances free-jazz ranginess with an impressively light touch that’s often missing in such volatile settings—he makes even the most explosive moments feel a bit more lithe. Welcome’s gnarled but clean-toned single-note lines recall the work of Joe Morris, while Dulberger provides the music’s muscular backbone: she drops assertive accents, judiciously prods her cohorts without getting in anyone’s way, and contributes seething solo work that hints at the playing of one of her mentors, William Parker. This is the quartet’s Chicago debut. —Peter Margasak The Damon Short Quartet headlines.