The Slow Bell Trio features some of Chicago’s most adventurous experimentalists | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

The Slow Bell Trio features some of Chicago’s most adventurous experimentalists 

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click to enlarge Steven Hess, Mike Weis, Keefe Jackson

Steven Hess, Mike Weis, Keefe Jackson

Courtesy the Artist/Jeehoon Weis/Marc Unternahrer

A few years ago, percussionist Mike Weis recorded the sounds of the Rockefeller Chapel’s carillon and then slowed down the tape he’d used to capture them. Entranced with the result, he named a new project after the endeavor. The Slow Bell Trio includes Weis and two fellow Chicago experimentalists, woodwind player Keefe Jackson and drummer Steven Hess. Each of the musicians has played in a slew of adventurous groups (Weis in Zelienople and Kwaidan, Hess in Locrian and Haptic, Jackson in his own projects and Urge Trio), and between them they’ve worked in contexts as diverse as free jazz, slowcore, field recordings, and metal. Though they’ve yet to release an official recording as the Slow Bell Trio, their performances reveal a curious intersection of musical talents. At a show last year at Constellation, they demonstrated their knack for minimalism: following text and graphic scores by composer and former Chicagoan Joseph Clayton Mills, they employed a sparse melange of electronics, percussion, and brass to develop a mesmerizing sound. Their upcoming concert will be wholly improvisational, with Jackson playing various clarinets, Hess mixing electronics and percussion, and Weis performing on homemade and traditional percussion instruments. How exactly their performance will unfold is anyone’s guess, but their creativity should ensure a riveting set.   v

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