Konrad Bauer | Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Konrad Bauer 

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A mainstay on the East German improv and rock scenes in the late 70s, German trombonist Konrad Bauer is the closest thing there is to a complete experimentalist. He's absorbed the complex multiphonics perfected by Albert Mangelsdorff, he can spit out deft melodies like George Lewis, and he has the improvisational wherewithal of folks like Paul Rutherford. He's played with many leading lights of European improv--Evan Parker, Ulrich Gumpert, Irene Schweizer, and Barry Guy, to name a few--but also shines in relatively trad settings, such as his 1993 date with bassist Peter Kowald and drummer GŸnter Sommer, Three Wheels--Four Directions (Victo). On his 1992 solo album, Toronto Tšne (Victo), Bauer radically augments his brassy, slinking sound with all manner of trippy electronic delay and decay. It's no lazy space odyssey; in some cases he lays down a hazy loop and works a solo in and around it, while at other times his effects create the sensation of his lines billowing out in great thick puffs, each blurring into the last. And in the past he's proved that he doesn't need electricity to go exploring--a previous album was recorded in a cistern that created a natural 45-second delay. Bauer's not traveling with his electronics here, so the decision to book him at the Renaissance Society, with its high, slanted ceilings and lovely echo, was a smart one. Tuesday, 8 PM, Renaissance Society, Cobb Hall, University of Chicago, 5811 S. Ellis; 773-702-8670. PETER MARGASAK

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): uncredited photo.

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