The Portland Cello Project juxtaposes Radiohead, Coltrane, and Bach on an intimate small-group tour | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

The Portland Cello Project juxtaposes Radiohead, Coltrane, and Bach on an intimate small-group tour 

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click to enlarge Portland Cello Project

Portland Cello Project

Jason Quigley

The Portland Cello Project was created in 2006 to bring the cello into new spaces and pair it with unlikely source material, and it’s since juxtaposed a wide variety of reconfigured pop, rock, and rap songs with Western classical arrangements—contrasting Kanye West with J.S. Bach, for instance, or Pantera with Arvo Pärt. The group tweaks its instrumentation from show to show, adding horns, guitar, bass, drums, vocals, and more, but whatever its lineup, it makes for a sight to behold and a sound to relish, often with more than ten cellists onstage together. The Portland Cello Project has recently been performing Radiohead’s OK Computer in its entirety in large theaters, with backing from an orchestral ensemble. But for its spring tour, the PCP is scaling back to a small group that features singer Patti King (a touring member of the Shins), drummer Tyrone Hendrix (Prince, Stevie Wonder), and trumpeter Farnell Newton (Bootsy Collins, Jill Scott) to play Radiohead tunes as well as selections from Bach and John Coltrane. Trying new things is characteristic of the group, and tonight’s dynamic, adventurous set (in the intimate confines of Evanston’s SPACE) promises to be more improvised than a typical PCP performance.   v

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