Triage | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Triage 

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When the Vandermark 5's players aren't navigating their leader's rigorous compositions, they play in groups that offer plenty of elbowroom. Four of the performances on Triage's new album, Twenty Minute Cliff (Okkadisk), nudge the ten-minute mark, and none of them feature the complex voicings and sudden time changes that mark the 5's work. But the disc is hardly a one-dimensional blowing date. Alto and tenor saxophonist Dave Rempis, drummer Tim Daisy (who both play in the 5), and bassist Jason Ajemian have a knack for starting in one place and ending up somewhere very different, but their trips--the journey from abstract harmonics to melodic free bop they take on "Leo's Leaving the Room," the evolution from sparse meditation to brawny blowout on "Portrait of the Stone Age"--feature more gentle curves than sharp turns. Triage is a working democracy--everyone writes, everyone solos--so it seems almost churlish to single anyone out for special recognition, but Daisy is the rare drummer who makes me look forward to his solos. With his elastic sense of time and imaginative use of bells and cymbals, he makes unexpected accents sound like inevitable, even crucial gestures. This show is a record-release party. Wednesday, June 4, 9:30 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western; 773-276-3600.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Lee Moore.

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