Wire with Ken Vandermark and Nate Wooley, Ken Vandermark and Nate Wooley, Olivia Block | Hideout | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader
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Owen Richards

Wire with Ken Vandermark and Nate Wooley, Ken Vandermark and Nate Wooley, Olivia Block Agenda Early Warnings (Music) Recommended Soundboard

When: Thu., June 11, 9 p.m. 2015
Price: $15
On the new CD East by Northwest (Pleasure of the Text/Audiographic) local clarinet and saxophone player Ken Vandermark and New York-based trumpeter Nate Wooley tip their caps to the great John Carter and Bobby Bradford, dedicating a song to the late-60s duo and covering compositions by each of them. But the Vandermark-Wooley twosome’s truest tribute to Bradford and Carter’s creative example is that even on those covers, their music sounds quite unlike their forebearers’ bluesy, lyrical postbop. Working without the net of a rhythm section allows them to respond directly to each other, matching tones, contrasting attacks, and shifting quickly between lightning runs, atomized pops, and slowly melting puddles of sound. While Vandermark and Wooley have played together on Chicago stages before, this is the first time they’ve brought their duo to town—and it’s certainly the first time they’ve played with venerable postpunks Wire, who are in town for Drill: Chicago, the latest in a series of festival cum residencies the band have played in various locales. Fitfully active since 1976, the English quartet have gone through phases where they discarded ideas almost as quickly as they discovered them. Not so now, apparently: on parts of their recent albums Wire and Red Barked Tree they sound like they’re updating styles first explored in the 70s and 80s releases Chairs Missing and The Ideal Copy, and 2013’s Change Becomes Us takes its start from material discarded after the group’s original breakup, in 1980. For the first night of Drill, Vandermark and Wooley will join the band to play “Map Ref. 41°N 93°W,” a song from their 1979 LP 154. As befits an encounter with improvisers, at press time no further details were available about what else, if anything, they might actually do together. Composer and multi-instrumentalist Olivia Block plays first, the collaboration plays second, and the duo of Vandermark and Wooley rounds out the night. —Bill Meyer



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