Bone Structure | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Bone Structure 

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I've never heard Bone Structure: it's not a regular working band and hasn't yet released an album. But the quartet's principals, guitarist and electronics whiz G.E. Stinson and drummer Gregg Bendian, have track records so strong I can recommend this show anyway--it's less a leap of faith than a short hop. Stinson, now a fixture on the LA progressive scene, cofounded Shadowfax in Chicago in the early 70s, and in hindsight his influence seems to have kept the group on point: a fusion band inflected with chamber jazz and folk, it veered off into windblown New Age inanity shortly after he left. His newest record, Vapor (Ecstatic Peace), compiles his efforts with half a dozen groups, and one press release promises "razor blade guitar noise" and a "metal melting" solo, among other things. Stinson layers processed and prepared guitar and repetitive rhythms into wide-screen soundscapes; half the tracks go nowhere to speak of, but if you're a fan of this kind of amplified minimalism you probably won't mind. Bendian imparts marvelous detail to his wildest improvising, a benefit of his early classical training; in 1989 he began a short stint in Cecil Taylor's group, making good use of his quick-witted responsiveness and mastery of compositional form. He also contributed to the 1997 three-CD set The Sign of 4 (Knitting Factory Works), a quartet performance with Paul Wertico, Derek Bailey, and Pat Metheny--one of the most surprising, challenging recordings of the decade. Bendian's white-hot intensity and perfectionism should help structure Stinson's effects-heavy meanderings; in turn, Stinson's broad range of textures ought to tickle Bendian's own penchant for exotic tone colors. Violinist Jeff Gauthier--who's done strong, even inspired work for the Nine Winds label, both under his own name and with the band Quartet Music--and bassist Steuart Liebig round out the ensemble. Saturday, 10 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western; 773-276-3600. NEIL TESSER

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Peter Gravina/Lipstick Graphics.


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