PIERRE DORGE & NEW JUNGLE ORCHESTRA | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader


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As leader of one of the most improbable, satisfying, and Methuselan operations in all of jazz, Pierre Dorge has spent nearly three decades piling on apparent contradictions. A native of Copenhagen (where, of course, there is no jungle), Dorge studied music in Ghana, where he absorbed the rolling rhythms of West and South Africa and learned to imitate the pearly tone and percussive phrasing of the kora with his guitar. With those techniques as a base, Dorge creates a madcap mosaic from odd shards of several musical legacies: the mercurial inventions of Thelonious Monk, the Afrocentric psychedelia of Sun Ra, and the spirited music of the Jungle Band that Duke Ellington led at the Cotton Club in the 1920s. That group helped pioneer the use of colorful instrumental techniques and "exotic" rhythms (what we'd now call world music) in jazz, and Dorge's intrepid little big band remains true to its tradition of musical exploration, drawing on a broad base of original compositions and a full complement of smart, fervent soloists. See also Saturday. a 9 PM, Green Mill, 4802 N. Broadway, 773-878-5552, $12.

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