Assif Tsahar & Cooper-Moore | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Assif Tsahar & Cooper-Moore 

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As a pianist Cooper-Moore has played with Susie Ibarra, William Parker, and David S. Ware, among others. But the 59-year-old New Yorker doesn't just play piano. On a pair of duet recordings with Israeli-born reedist Assif Tsahar, he plays flute, drums, and myriad instruments he designed and built himself. Those include a three-string banjo; an ashimba (an 11-bar xylophone); a horizontal-hoe-handle harp; a bass diddley bow; and a mouth bow, a bowed instrument he plays using his mouth as a resonator, like a jaw harp. Those homemade instruments aren't part of some Harry Partch-like pursuit of an avant-garde agenda but a reflection of his upbringing in rural Virginia, where if you needed something you made it yourself. On America, the duo's 2003 album on Tsahar's Hopscotch label, twangy country-blues excursions sit alongside tumultuous free-jazz steeplechases, and this year's Tells Untold (Hopscotch) is even more diverse. On "The Hunt," Tsahar issues defiant bass clarinet cries from deep within a jungle of overdubbed percussion; Cooper-Moore amplifies his flute's finger pads to create an unstable electroacoustic environment on "Another World Another Time"; and despite its title, the plaited strands of flute, tenor sax, and harp on "Forlorn" sound as comforting as a friend's hand on your shoulder. Fri 10/28, 7:30 PM, HotHouse, 31 E. Balbo, 312-362-9707, $12 in advance, $15 at the door.

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