Paul Motian Trio | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Paul Motian Trio 

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The Chicago-area debut of this most unusual trio is a cause for serious celebration. The Motian Trio delightfully achieve one of modern art's most satisfying goals: they manage to communicate dearly while using fresh and even unfamiliar dialects. The whole band mirrors the layered, constant energy of the drum work of its aptly named leader: his oddly accented, subtly phrased rhythms seem to always be in motion, restlessly following an undercurrent of their own while driving the music above them. Motian's band mates balance each other perfectly. Bill Frisell could score dreams; nearly a decade after he began to attract attention, he may be the most creatively iconoclastic of improvising guitarists, reshaping romanticism for modern ears. On the other hand, there's saxophonist Joe Lovano (most recently heard in Chicago with John Scofield's band), who has woven various elements of post-Coltrane tenor playing into a muscular, dynamically swirling solo style; he's the early favorite for saxophonist of the 90s. Together they are one of the most oddly instrumented bands in all of music--a trio containing neither keyboards nor bass--and play music that ranges from delicately threaded originals to the robust show tunes of Cole Porter (conceived in ways Broadway still can't imagine). It's among modern music's most mysterious and fully realized experiences. Tonight, 7:30 PM, Bennett Hall, Ravinia Festival, Green Bay and Lake Cook Rds., Highland Park; 728-4642.

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