Pharoah Sanders with the Chicago Underground Duo | The Promontory | Jazz | Chicago Reader
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Pharoah Sanders with the Chicago Underground Duo 

When: Sat., Oct. 18, 8 p.m. 2014
Price: $22-$40
For the past decade or so, Chicago cornetist Rob Mazurek has been collaborating with some of the most important and influential horn men in modern jazz, among them trumpeter Bill Dixon and reedists Roscoe Mitchell and Yusef Lateef. The partnerships have been two-way streets, their vibrant give-and-take more exciting than any nostalgic re-creation of the elders’ past glories. That same forward-looking vision crackles through every twist and turn of Spiral Mercury (Clean Feed), a remarkable new sextet recording featuring saxophonist Pharoah Sanders—a 74-year-old free-jazz legend who made his name playing alongside John Coltrane in the 60s, developed a singular soul-jazz sound with singer Leon Thomas in the 70s, and to this day has one of the fieriest, most scalding tones in jazz. Spiral Mercury documents a concert at the Jazz em Agosto festival in Lisbon last summer, where Mazurek and Sanders fronted a band that sounds like a marriage between one of Miles Davis’s early-70s units and Ronald Shannon Jackson’s furious post-harmolodic group the Decoding Society. Its muscular four-man rhythm section grooves with force and precision—it consists of electric bassist Matthew Lux (a staple in several Mazurek bands), drummer Chad Taylor (the other half of the cornetist’s longest-running unit, the Chicago Underground Duo), and two of Mazurek’s comrades from the São Paulo Underground) keyboardist and percussionist Guilherme Granado and percussionist and cavaquinho player Mauricio Takara. Sanders remains a font of scorching energy throughout the album’s 75 minutes—even on the lyrical and delicate “Asasumamehn,” where Mazurek’s tart lines reflect his affection for Don Cherry, the reedist never sounds polite or tame. This weekend Sanders will make a rare appearance in Chicago, reconvening with Mazurek and Taylor. Their concert is part of the HotHouse Old and New Dreams Festival, an endeavor of the long-shuttered South Loop music venue; it runs from Friday through Sunday at the Promontory, and part of its mission is to salute Cherry’s legacy. —Peter Margasak

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