Paul Plimley | Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Paul Plimley 


If I were planning a Frank Zappa songbook project, I wouldn't peg solo piano as the ideal instrument to do it on. But Vancouver pianist Paul Plimley--who is currently at work on such a collection for the Swiss Hat Art label--is full of surprises. He's done great tributes to Ornette Coleman and Max Roach (both also on Hat Art), made gorgeous but challenging free jazz and improvised music with a wide array of folks like Andrew Cyrille, Donald Robinson, and Plimley's long-standing partner, bassist L.S. (formerly Lisle) Ellis, and he's splendidly documented his own piano works on his 1996 solo record, Everything in Stages (Songlines). His most recent release, Sensology (Maya), is a set of jubilant duets with British bassist Barry Guy--whorls of energy, cluster bombs of sound, organic ebbs and flows, and a track pointedly titled "Joyous Absence of Disco." How far, then, from this to tunes by the "Dancin' Fool" himself? We'll see when Plimley presents some of the Zappa material in this solo performance; just remember, it's not the song, it's the singer. Sunday, 7:30 PM, HotHouse, 31 E. Balbo; 312-362-9707. JOHN CORBETT

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

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