Twin Talk, Westerlies | Hideout | Jazz | Chicago Reader
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click to enlarge Westerlies


Andrew Swanson

Twin Talk, Westerlies 

When: Wed., Oct. 5, 9 p.m. 2016
Price: $10
When New York brass quartet the Westerlies dropped 2014’s Wish the Children Would Come Home (Songlines) they forced me to reevaluate Seattle keyboardist Wayne Horvitz as a composer. The readings trumpeters Riley Mulherkar and Zubin Hensler and trombonists Andy Clausen and Willem de Koch give to the music of their old teacher are extraordinary, and while I praised the group’s stunning technical abilities, rich timbre, and strong arrangements then, their dazzling new eponymous double CD indicates they deserve even more credit. Aside from interpretations of Charles Ives’s “Songs My Mother Taught Me” and Duke Ellington’s “Where’s the Music?”—as well as an arrangement of the folk tune “Saro” by Sam Amidon and Nico Muhly—the members composed the material, and it’s all knocked me on my ass. There’s no extensive improvisation on these gorgeous pieces, though when they do solo, the players display rigor and a level of execution on par with classic brass ensembles (Mulherkar’s solo on “Where’s the Music?” brings to mind the splendor of Lester Bowie’s Brass Fantasy at its best). The original repertoire is so strong and varied that the Westerlies represent a kind of bastard child, standing fiercely between genre cracks with works that evoke the Americana of Aaron Copland and John Philip Sousa on the one hand but seeming to translate the rhythmically spastic machinations of EDM on the other (check out “So So Shy”). There are plenty of other stops in between, all delivered with stunning clarity and richness.
— Peter Margasak



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