Chris Dahlgren Quartet | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Chris Dahlgren Quartet 

Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe

CHRIS DAHLGREN QUARTET

Whenever a working band with a strong aesthetic makes its Chicago debut, it deserves mention--even if you've never heard of anyone in it. Chris Dahlgren, the bassist, leader, and composer for this quartet, gives a clear picture of what he wants from his music: a lean, sharply angled, at times noisy aesthetic. Dahlgren has constructed a surging, hard-edged front line featuring newcomer Peter Epstein on tenor sax and the rock-honed guitar of Ben Monder, who--on the yet-to-be-released album Slow Commotion--takes especially good advantage of Dahlgren's carefully constructed compositions. He uses a soaring, reverberating, occasionally distortion-squawking tone that falls into a "postromantic" category, pushing past the stylizations of John Abercrombie into the territory that David Torn staked out a few years ago--a tone that fits hand in glove with the aptly titled tune "Velociraptor." Monder enables the band to occupy the heavily electrified, industrial-influenced realm of a song like "Harmonic Cloud # 3," and he brings a prickly, burning edge to his unison lines with tenor. These guys keep the music fairly rough--clearly an artistic choice, given their obvious polished command of their instruments. Bands like this offer a neo-classic take on the jazz fusion of the 70s, similar to the wanna-be-boppers' recasting of the hard-bop of the 50s and 60s. Dahlgren does it better than many: he reminds us that some full-fledged jazz musicians remain committed to the synergies of electric improvisation first tapped by fusion a quarter century ago. Friday, 10 PM, Bop Shop, 1807 W. Division; 235-3232. NEIL TESSER

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): uncredited photo.

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Neil Tesser

Agenda Teaser

Performing Arts
His Shadow 16th Street Theater, Berwyn Cultural Center
September 05
Performing Arts
Oslo Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place
September 10

Tabbed Event Search

Popular Stories