Kneebody, Spare Parts | City Winery | Jazz | Chicago Reader
This is a past event.
When: Tue., March 17, 8 p.m. 2015
Price: $12
This rugged New York quintet has made a habit of blurring stylistic lines by playing intricate instrumentals with the energy of post-rock, the precision of new music, and the spontaneity of jazz. Kneebody’s most recent album, The Line (Concord Jazz), is the first that the band didn’t produce itself, and the effort by Chris Dunn enhances the group’s visceral side, especially the punishing drumming Nate Wood’s churning out on the shuffle-marches of “Cha-Cha” and the hyperactive breaks of “Trite.” On the front line, trumpeter Shane Endsley and reedist Ben Wendel play with impressive empathy as they shape tricky, winding melodies with ease and alternate surprising tenderness with razor-edged fury—but it’s keyboardist Adam Benjamin, bassist Kaveh Rastegar, and Wood that ultimately set the tone. Kneebody’s dense arrangements and high-energy attack make the abundant soloing feel like intricate parts rather than long asides—there are no heated vamps or chill vibes here. Indeed, the band dispenses with sheet music and totally internalizes its repertoire so that it can operate more like a rock band—one adept at morphing or changing the shape of a given tune on the fly. Years ago Endsley played under Steve Coleman, and he inherited the saxophonist’s penchant for live cues; now any group member of Kneebody might use one of 30 signals to change tempo, mood, or even to indicate a spontaneous jump to a different section of a tune. That last tactic ups the energy and excitement of the band’s live shows, which rarely take place in Chicago; they last performed here a decade ago. —Peter Margasak
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