Josh Berman Trio | Constellation | Jazz | Chicago Reader
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Josh Berman

Josh Berman

Ralph Kuehne

When: Fri., Sept. 18, 8:30 p.m. 2015
Price: $10, $5 in advance
Cornetist Josh Berman has long been one of the most thoughtful musicians on Chicago’s diverse jazz and improvised music scene, a player who steadily digests a world of influences to craft something more original with each passing year. But he reaches new heights on A Dance and a Hop (Delmark), a gorgeously conceived trio outing that shows him reveling in sound qua sound as never before. His bond with bassist Jason Roebke and drummer Frank Rosaly goes back a long time, and you hear how locked-in they are. In fact, it’s that connection that makes the trio go—the members seem to be wired to make rubato a lingua franca. Berman continues to savor tart melodic shapes as he twists and works over elegant little phrases, but just as important is how he manipulates his horn, shifting between full-bodied cries and extended techniques that transform it into a noisemaker a la Axel Dörner. On “Today’s Date” a halting postbop ballad morphs into a series of groans, scrapes, and spasms as the line blurs between free jazz and sound art. Even more appealing is the earthy warmth all three musicians generate during their dialogue on “Wooden,” a kind of dance for marionette that shows how flexible and nimble the trio is as well as how lyric and inviting. Of the 11 concise pieces most clock in between three and four minutes, with only one exceeding five, but each performance is fully and articulately expressed.
— Peter Margasak



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