Peter Brotzmann Tentet | Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Peter Brotzmann Tentet 

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Peter Br…tzmann Tentet

In January Peter Brštzmann came to town for two concerts, presiding over an octet that featured his often cataclysmic saxophone work amid a host of like-minded Chicago improvisers. The shows received plenty of buildup, but Brštzmann exceeded all expectations in what remain two of this year's signal musical events. During this week's return trip the German Brštzmann will record with the Chicagoans for the local Okka Disk label, then share the wealth with an audience. What's more, he'll raise the ante by importing two additional musicians, Swiss saxophone dervish Mats Gustafsson and New York multi-instrumentalist Joe McPhee--both honorary members of Chicago's new-music scene by virtue of their heartily received recent appearances. For the January concerts, Brštzmann debuted a cyclical composition that used a cool and invigorating logic to shape the expressionistic outpourings of his musicians. Perhaps the most impressive aspect of the piece was Brštzmann's use of distinct and tailored contexts to showcase fellow reedists Ken Vandermark and Mars Williams as well as himself; with Gustafsson added to the mix this time, saxual compulsives should be in an anticipatory frenzy already. In addition the lineup offers the chance to hear McPhee perform exclusively on brass instruments, and while recordings have documented his trumpet work, few listeners have heard him play trombone (his playing should set up some sparkling confabulations with Chicago slide man Jeb Bishop). The rhythm section features cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm, bassist Kent Kessler, and drummers Hamid Drake and Michael Zerang--the usual suspects when you're fielding an all-star team of Chicago free improvisers. Brštzmann will unveil yet another set-long composition, written exclusively for this group of musicians, and several of the Chicagoans will contribute shorter pieces for the concert's first half. All in all, this one can't miss. Wednesday, 9 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western; 773-276-3600. Brštzmann and Gustafsson will stage a saxophone duel the following night, Thursday, September 18, 8:30 PM, Unity Temple, 875 Lake, Oak Park; 708-383-8873. NEIL TESSER

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo by Laurence M Svichev.

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