This is a past event.
When: Fri., April 5, 9 p.m. and Sat., April 6, 8 p.m. 2013
Price: $12
This nimble, muscular quartet is one of Chicago’s best jazz bands, capable of moving seamlessly back and forth between sleek postbop and wild, woolly free improvisation. All four members of the Engines—reedist Dave Rempis, trombonist Jeb Bishop, drummer Tim Daisy, and bassist Nate McBride—write for the group, and their catchy multilinear themes remind me of the Dave Holland Quintet at its best. The band never settles predictably into any one mode: an episodic composition might change course suddenly several times, or erupt into an extended passage of wide-open group improv. The Engines have also developed and refined a technique for allowing any member to introduce a tune from their repertoire at the drop of a hat, so that a set can feature a spontaneously organized suite or two. This show kicks off a U.S. tour in support of the band’s brand-new third album, Other Violets (Not Two), a knockout collaboration with late Danish reedist John Tchicai that was recorded live at the Hungry Brain in May 2011. Tchicai fits in as though he’d been a member all along—in particular, his pairing with Rempis has a nice yin-yang feel, with the latter’s hot, explosive playing complementing Tchicai’s more temperate but no less probing lines. Daisy’s epic “Gloxinia” is so packed with twists and turns that it feels like a suite unto itself, and Tchicai’s “Cool Copy” segues into Bishop’s “Looking” without a bump. Because Bishop now lives in North Carolina and all four members are busy in countless other groups, Engines gigs are few and far between. Even for these record-release dates, McBride is unavailable; Kent Kessler will fill in. —Peter Margasak

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