Melvyn Poore | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Melvyn Poore 

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The unwieldy tuba's usually associated with oompah music, where its massive fartlike blasts have all the grace of a 450-pound ballerina. But the tuba actually delivered the agile bass lines in early jazz, and over the years a number of tubaists--Ray Draper, Bob Stewart, and Howard Johnson among them--have made blowing through 15 feet or so of tubing sound easy. In the past decade, Melvyn Poore has done more than anyone else to find new means of expression for the instrument, employing a liquid lyricism and a huge array of multiphonics. Born in England and now based in Germany, he's been a valuable member of jazz and improv ensembles like the London Jazz Composers Orchestra and King Ubu Orchestru--which has just released its third album, The Concert: Live at Total Music Meeting 2003 (FMP)--as well as new-music ensembles like Zeitkratzer and Musikfabrik NRW. Naturally, Poore's also a member of the European Tuba Quartet. But his most satisfying work is his 1994 album Groundwork (Random Acoustics), where dazzling solo pieces are complemented by electronic excursions, including the hall-of-mirrors delay effect on "One, Two, Three" and the dark textures hovering beneath his muted tone on "And Finally." For this, his Chicago solo debut, Poore will perform a mixture of compositions--some from Groundwork, some more recent--and improvisations both unamplified and enhanced with electronics. Wed 12/15, 9:30 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, 773-276-3600 or 800-594-8499, $6.

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