Dane Richeson | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Dane Richeson 

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DANE RICHESON

As a child in Ohio, Dane Richeson tried to imitate the jazz drummers he heard on his parents' records; by watching National Geographic specials on TV he became fascinated with non-Western drumming traditions. Today he's one of the most versatile percussionists in the country, sort of a cross between spirited classical experimenter Evelyn Glennie and self-made ethnomusicologist Mickey Hart. He's proficient on a wide variety of instruments, conventional and unconventional--to perform a John Cage piece, he once tore up a head of cabbage and plinked the spines of an amplified cactus--but he most often relies on marimba, vibraphone, xylophone, or timpani. And he jumps at the chance to demonstrate what he's learned on visits to Cuba, Ghana, and Brazil, including a deep appreciation for tropicalia and samba reggae. The program for this HotHouse recital, organized by Richeson's comrades in the new-music collective CUBE, showcases him primarily as a marimbist: he'll play it solo in Janice Misurell-Mitchell's Mamiwata, which borrows rhythmic elements from southern African tribal songs; with oboist Patricia Morehead and electronic keyboardist Philip Morehead in Ruth Lomon's Desiderata; with soprano saxophonist Marco Albonetti in an arrangement of Astor Piazzolla's Histoire du Tango; with alto saxist Steven Jordheim in David Maslanka's Song Book, which takes its melodies from Bach chorales; and with the two saxists and several members of CUBE in Herbert Brün's Mutatis Mutandis, which asks the musicians to respond to shapes generated by a computer just prior to the performance. Richeson also plans to play bodhran and djembe to accompany readings from the poetry of Mary Oliver and Lawrence Ferlinghetti. Sunday, April 8, 3 PM, HotHouse, 31 E. Balbo; 312-554-1133 or 312-362-9707. At 5 PM at the same venue, Richeson will drum in the trio backing jazz vocalist Jackie Allen.

TED SHEN

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