Dave King Trio | Green Mill | Jazz | Chicago Reader
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Dave King Trio 

When: Fri., Sept. 6, 9 p.m. and Sat., Sept. 7, 8 p.m. 2013
Price: $12
Eclectic and impatient drummer Dave King, best known as the high-powered engine of the Bad Plus, has a reputation for irascibility, aggression, and irreverence, but those qualities also impart depth to his music. In a couple weeks he’ll release Adopted Highway (Sunnyside), a brashly loud yet richly nuanced album by his quintet, the Dave King Trucking Company, that takes his mad-professor proclivity for untidy collisions to a new extreme. Erik Fratzke, who also plays with King in the long-running Happy Apple, gets some nasty tones out of his J.C. Penney guitar, which cut against the grain of saxophonists Chris Speed and Brandon Wozniak, and King plays contrasting rhythms that stay deliberately, slightly out of sync with the harmony instruments. Postbop forms are giddily ruptured by hard-rock fury, minimalism, and rustic pastoralism, creating a delicious tension that’s sometimes satisfyingly discharged by a momentary resolution. This weekend, though, King leads a piano trio with great Michigan pianist Bill Carrothers and Minneapolis bassist Billy Peterson—the same band that made 2012’s I’ve Been Ringing You (Sunnyside), an album of ballads that seem as frozen as Lake Michigan in January, with standards such as “Goodbye” and “Autumn Serenade” dilated to the point of stasis. The minimalism of the landscape allows Carrothers’s abstract melodies to sparkle in their smallest details, while King dials down without bowing out; his active cymbal patter stays out of the way while still prodding the others. And on a more conventionally paced take on “So in Love,” his brush work is more forceful but just as subtle. —Peter Margasak



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