This is a past event.
When: Sat., April 6, 9:30 p.m. 2013
Price: $15, $12 in advance
Of all the groups with members you could fairly call “essential,” probably none is better suited to carrying on without one than the ICP Orchestra. Founded in 1967 by pianist Misha Mengelberg and drummer Han Bennink, this Dutch little big band (usually nine or ten strong of late) has always used on-the-bandstand intrigue as creative tinder. Though ICP generally builds its sets from in-house compositions—by Mengelberg or by reed players Ab Baars and Michael Moore—as well as jazz classics by Thelonious Monk, Duke Ellington, and Herbie Nichols, anyone can signal a change in direction at any time. And if whoever grabs the wheel can sway enough other players, he or she gets to steer. This means a prim between-the-wars dance tune can melt into fractious free improvisation, or a rigorous chamber orchestration can instantly jump into hard-swinging postbop—and the same goes for any combination of the above you care to name. Mengelberg is 77 and in frail health, and the last time ICP toured the U.S. he flew home midtour. Though his steer-from-the-rear piano playing and poker-faced puckishness were missed, the rest of the band were as quick on their toes and as eloquent on their instruments as ever. This time Mengelberg is sitting the whole tour out, but the rest of the group—Bennink, Baars, Moore, saxophonist Tobias Delius, trombonist Wolter Wierbos, trumpeter Thomas Heberer, violist Mary Oliver, cellist Tristan Honsinger, and bassist Ernst Glerum—will be hand to launch a new venue called Constellation on Saturday. On Sunday members of ICP will improvise with local dancers at Constellation, then take their instruments around the corner for two more improvised sets with Chicago players at the Hungry Brain. Baars also plays solo Sunday at 2 PM at Corbett vs. Dempsey. —Bill Meyer

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