In its third year, the Exposure Series invites six up-and-comers to collaborate with Chicago musicians | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

In its third year, the Exposure Series invites six up-and-comers to collaborate with Chicago musicians 

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click to enlarge Luke Stewart, Molly Jones, and Tashi Dorji

Luke Stewart, Molly Jones, and Tashi Dorji

courtesy the artists

The third installment of this annual event organized by saxophonist Dave Rempis, also the longtime programmer of the Thursday-evening improvised-music series at Elastic, shifts gears from its predecessors. In the first two iterations, a single musician (reedists Tony Malaby and Silke Eberhard, respectively) visited the city to engage in workshops and performances with local players. This year Rempis has invited six stylistically diverse musicians from the east coast and midwest, some of whom he worked with on his 2017 Lattice solo project, to participate in ad hoc groupings and workshops with Chicago players. His guests, some of whom are familiar here, include versatile guitarist Tashi Dorji from Asheville, North Carolina, and bassists Luke Stewart, the forceful engine in the powerful quintet Irreversible Entanglements, and Brandon Lopez, a muscular player who on the freely improvised The Industry of Entropy (Relative Pitch) helms a woolly quartet with saxophonist Matt Nelson, drummer Gerald Cleaver, and vibist Andria Nicodemou. I’m equally enthused about some of the new faces. Detroit saxophonist Molly Jones has impressed me with the agile postbop on her 2017 septet album Microliths, which features three horn players and three bassists. She’s a strong soloist fluent on soprano and tenor saxophones as well as flute, and she’s just as distinguished as a composer and arranger. Though Jones embraces jazz tradition, Brooklyn saxophonist Michael Foster rejects it, forging a decidedly abstract approach rooted in extended techniques and sonic abstraction. On his duo album with cellist Leila Bordreuil, The Caustic Ballads (Relative Pitch), I frequently have a hard time telling which astringent line comes from which player. While his playing with drummer Ben Bennett on the tape In It (Astral Spirits) cleaves to a more familiar saxophone language, he rarely touches on jazz-rooted gestures, instead taking the palette of Albert Ayler from the church into secular space. The lineup also includes Buffalo saxophonist Steve Baczkowski.   v

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