Christy Doran & The Hendrix Project | Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Christy Doran & The Hendrix Project 

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CHRISTY DORAN & THE HENDRIX PROJECT

The music of Jimi Hendrix has an intangible quality that almost guarantees artistic suicide when musicians cover his tunes. But that hasn't stopped plenty of musicians from trying. This group led by Swiss guitarist Christy Doran is the latest in a long line of people doing jazz-related Hendrix projects, from Gil Evans, who'd planned to record with the guitarist before he OD'd, to flautist Robert Dick. A reverence for Hendrix's music is palpable, but what separates this group from the busts is a weird, freewheeling revisionism. Much of the credit belongs to vocalist Phil Minton, one of the wiggiest jazz singers of all time, who's more likely to lapse into a speed freak's Donald Duck quack than to scat. In fact, it's often Minton who takes the group spotlight instead of Doran. While delivering the lyrics to songs like "Manic Depression" and "Purple Haze," he goes off with all manner of wild extrapolations, twisting up melodic lines and exploding with crazy textures and sounds. The group is fleshed out by longtime Doran collaborator Fredy Studer on drums and terrific James "Blood" Ulmer associate Amin Ali on electric bass. Doran usually opts for a thick array of guitar effects, but as heard on this group's Play the Music of Jimi Hendrix (Intuition) he thankfully avoids the fusionoid tendencies one might expect from such a rock-inflected project, and the uncluttered funk muscle of Ali deserves much of the credit. It's likely you won't have another chance to hear this group play again in town. Friday, 7 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western; 276-3600.

PETER MARGASAK

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

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