Peter Brötzmann Chicago Tentet
Museum of Contemporary Art; Sat 1
It’s Peter Brötzmann week in Chicago, as the leonine German tenor saxophonist and multi-reedist is feted at various venues where he’ll hook up with a sprawling array of musical cohorts—much as he has been doing here for years. Thanks to the efforts of the indefatigable Ken Vandermark, whose 1999 MacArthur Grant helped fund the ongoing enterprise, Brötzmann also celebrates the tenth anniversary of his mighty Chicago Tentet. The ever-mutable ensemble is a merger of Midwestern and European free-jazz sensibilities, marked by ecstatic bursts of improvisation and intricately composed pieces that collapse modern jazz and post–John Cage art music into something by turns brawling and blissed-out.
The anniversary edition of the band is absent two major contributors—funky firestarter Mars Williams and global percussive shaman Hamid Drake—but promises a suitably blazing frontline, with multi-reedists Vandermark and Mats Gustafsson sure to prove worthy foils for the oceanic squall of Brötzmann’s tenor and the Zen-like tone poems he conjures on other reeds.
The ensemble’s strength, of course, is that it’s not all about the Big B. Everyone in the group contributes compositions, and its always fun to hear distinct musical personalities come bubbling out of the mix. The rest of the lineup features German trombonist Johannes Bauer, Swedish tuba player Per-Åke Holmlander, Norwegian drummer Paal Nilssen-Love, New York trumpeter Joe McPhee, and local faves drummer Michael Zerang, cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm and bassist Kent Kessler. This Saturday 1 show is the marquee concert of the week; see listings and visit tentet.umbrellamusic.org for a complete schedule, and get ready to rumble.