Motion Poets | Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Motion Poets 

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What's in a name? The last time this particular band came through town it called itself the Little Big Band. That moniker went beyond the obvious pun involving the name of the group's leader, alto saxist Doug Little: it suggested compositional and textural concerns of a greater range and stature than what you'd expect from a simple, hard-blowing jazz sextet. Its debut album, Truth and Consequence (Igmod), featured several well-written arrangements that bore this out, treating the front-line sax, trumpet, and trombone as stand-ins for the four- and five-man sections of the traditional jazz orchestra--the big big bands of 13 to 18 pieces that have typically showcased jazz's most complicated and ambitious writing. Live, though, this youthful Minnesota-based band performed a somewhat sparkless set that seemed to bury the conceptual strengths, the stark voicings, and the crisp rhythms that on the album helped shape the arrangements and link the horns. Even so, pianist Nate Shaw stood out for his detailed solos and his expansive keyboard style. And besides, just about every band deserves a second chance--especially when it's an opportunity to live up to an album as promising as Truth and Consequence. A little more poetry in motion is exactly what the band lacked the first time through, so at least in terms of its name it appears headed in the right direction. Saturday, 10 PM, midnight, and 2 AM, Bop Shop, 1807 W. Division; 235-3232. NEIL TESSER

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


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