This is a past event.
When: Sat., May 3, 9:30 p.m. 2014
Price: $12
In the trio led by pianist Vijay Iyer, bassist Stephan Crump is a sturdy, delicately poised anchor to the group’s most outward-bound excursions. Crump also has a band of his own, where his role is significantly more ambitious—for nearly a decade he’s led the Rosetta Trio, whose lack of a drummer leaves him with more rhythmic responsibilities, even as he provides the music’s harmonic foundation and engages as one of three equal voices in an intimate melodic conversation with acoustic guitarist Liberty Ellman and electric guitarist Jamie Fox. On the trio’s third and strongest album, last summer’s Thwirl (Sunnyside), each musician carves out his own space—not simply with instrumental timbre but also with approach. Ellman, who’s well-known for adding his snaking lines to the contrapuntal constellations of Henry Threadgill’s Zooid, brings a similar serpentine quality to Rosetta, while Fox’s playing is entirely liquid, both in its tone and in his tuneful, easygoing improvisations. Crump has a deep, woody timbre that’s as malleable as it is muscular, and he adapts it easily to the needs of any given piece. On “Whiteout” Ellman bows long, ascending tones treated with a bit of reverb, while Fox and Crump simulate a heavy snowfall with steady, ambient pulsing; on the title track all three players open the piece with pointillistic rhythms that border on funk. The album ends with the tender, concise “Steel Skin and Sky,” where Crump makes his leadership position clear, shepherding his compatriots home. This is the trio’s Chicago debut. —Peter Margasak

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