Steve Lantner Trio With Fred Anderson | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Steve Lantner Trio With Fred Anderson 

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Though Blue Yonder (Skycap), the most recent trio album from Boston pianist Steve Lantner, is entirely improvised, there are none of the volatile, extroverted keyboard machinations such a format typically yields. Lantner seems happiest taking a little chunk of melody and reassembling it, as though it were made of Legos, into countless wonderfully jagged permutations. He's fond of dark, sometimes dissonant harmonies, and his sound can recall some of the most idiosyncratic voices of the postbop era, from Herbie Nichols to Lowell Davidson, but his touch is as light and graceful as that of the classic beboppers who came before. Drummer Luther Gray helps propel Lantner into these melodic clusters, alternating between swing and spasm with a minimalist snap on the cymbals, or he'll float a ghost of a pulse and let time disappear entirely. The glue here may be Joe Morris (see Wednesday), here on bass, who maintains the music's rhythmic thrust while throwing his own harmonic jabs into Lantner's tangled skeins of sound. They'll be joined by tenor saxist Fred Anderson. Lantner will stick around to play on Sunday, July 30, with Ken Vandermark, Nate McBride, and Tim Daisy at the Hungry Brain. Thu 7/27, 10 PM, Elastic, 2830 N. Milwaukee, 773-772-3616, $8 suggested donation. All ages.

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