French-American Peace Ensemble | Constellation | Jazz | Chicago Reader
This is a past event.
When: Wed., June 19, 9:30 p.m. 2013
Price: $15
This transatlantic quintet didn’t choose its name to bury the hatchet on that whole “Freedom Fries” thing—it’s just about the members’ nationalities and their belief in music’s power to bridge cultural and linguistic differences. The American contingent consists of bassist William Parker and drummer Hamid Drake—arguably the most powerful, adaptable, and hard-grooving rhythm section in free jazz—and veteran New Orleans saxophonist Edward “Kidd” Jordan. They’ve often worked together, developing a strong rapport; all three will play in a quartet with pianist Cooper-Moore at this year’s Chicago Jazz Festival. They’re seasoned exemplars of 60s-derived free jazz, and they’ve done as much to expand its vocabulary as anyone. They’re joined by fantastic French reedist Louis Sclavis, who across a long career has proved adept at free improvisation, film scoring, contemporary classical music, and moody postbop. He’s a precise, measured improviser with a lyrical heart, but he can also vent some inner fury. He’s made many recordings for ECM, whose house production style sometimes cloaks his work in an emotional chill, but on his latest, Sources (a chamberlike trio session with keyboardist Benjamin Moussay and guitarist Gilles Coronado), he plays with crackling intensity even at his most controlled, which ought to allow him to match the power of his American cohorts. The fifth member is French pianist Francois Tusques, a forward-looking veteran whose vocabulary includes free jazz, jagged Thelonious Monk-inspired bebop, and classical technique. The question of how these five players will come together is half the lure of this show—the other half, of course, is that they’re all astonishing talents. —Peter Margasak



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