Akira Sakata, Jeff Parker, Nate McBride, and John Herndon; Mike Reed's Loose Assembly with Roscoe Mitchell; Vox Arcana; DJs John Corbett & Joshua Abrams | Hideout | Jazz | Chicago Reader
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Akira Sakata, Jeff Parker, Nate McBride, and John Herndon; Mike Reed's Loose Assembly with Roscoe Mitchell; Vox Arcana; DJs John Corbett & Joshua Abrams 

When: Sat., Nov. 7, 9 p.m. 2009
Price: $15
When Japanese reedist Akira Sakata came to the world's attention in the early 70s as a member of the explosive free-jazz trio led by pianist Yosuke Yamashita, his driving, manic energy and exploratory upper-register squalls were hallmarks of his searing improvisational style. By the early 80s, though, after striking out on his own, he'd either lost his way or was hell-bent on trying something radically different—singing Japanese folk songs, making pop-leaning records, getting mixed up with electric bassist and producer Bill Laswell. But happily, in the past half-decade or so Sakata has rediscovered his focus and killer sound. I don't know if former Chicagoan Jim O'Rourke is responsible for this shift, but he's been playing with and producing records for Sakata, enlisting two American colleagues—drummer Chris Corsano and bassist Darin Gray—as his working band, Chikamorachi. On Friendly Pants (Family Vineyard), the first Sakata recording released stateside in decades, the reedist unleashes plenty of sinus-clearing torrents, but his playing also reveals a refreshing compositional logic and lyrical tenderness. O'Rourke stays behind the board, spotlighting what an effective, empathetic trio Chikamorachi has become. Tonight, in his first-ever Chicago performance (part of the Umbrella Music Festival), Sakata is joined by bassist Nate McBride, guitarist Jeff Parker, and drummer John Herndon—essentially Ken Vandermark's Powerhouse Sound without Vandermark. Mike Reed's Loose Assembly (with guest Roscoe Mitchell) and Vox Arcana open. On Sunday (also as part of Umbrella) Sakata performs with Chikamorachi at the Hungry Brain. —Peter Margasak

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