Gebbia-Ligeti-Pupillo Trio | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Gebbia-Ligeti-Pupillo Trio 

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Some of the most exciting improvised music happens when musicians from disparate backgrounds face off--the situation forces players to adjust, stretch themselves, and look for common ground. The Williamsburg Sonatas (Wallace) exemplifies that spirit: the members of the trio who created the album might seem incompatible on paper, but they achieved a wonderful synchronicity in the studio. Italian saxophonist Gianni Gebbia, even though he's mostly worked in free-improv contexts, has a solid grasp on more conventional jazz vocabularies and techniques. Electric bassist Massimo Pupillo is a member of the Italian punk-prog trio Zu, which does roiling, dark grooves and on-the-fly scrabbling a la the Ex. (Zu and the Ex have toured together, and Pupillo has filled in for the Ex's recently departed bassist, Rozemarie.) Drummer Lukas Ligeti, son of the great Hungarian composer Gyorgy, is an accomplished composer of instrumental works, a collaborator with musicians from far-flung places like Egypt and the Ivory Coast, and an active improviser who plays with proggy complexity. Ligeti seems to be the guiding force on The Williamsburg Sonatas, spreading a steady pulse all over his kit using both funky patterns and busy clattering. Pupillo frequently puts meat on the bones with jagged note clusters, terse and harmonically dense figures, and hydroplaning runs that sound closer to Sonic Youth than Barry Guy. Gebbia lays on lovely sheets of surprisingly light-toned melody, both on high-velocity excursions like "Golf? No Sir! Prefer Prison Flog" and gentle explorations like "Hollenberg Pony Express." This is the trio's Chicago debut. Sat 4/30, 9:30 PM, 3030, 3030 W. Cortland, 773-862-3616, $5-$10 suggested donation. All ages.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Chien-Yin Chen.

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