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Andrew Cyrille + Bill McHenry

  • Arts + Literature Laboratory 2021 Winnebago Street Madison, WI, 53704 United States (map)
Photo by Jack Vartoogian/FrontRowPhotos.

Photo by Jack Vartoogian/FrontRowPhotos.

Avant-jazz drummer Andrew Cyrille's career has included a decade-long span of working with legendary pianist Cecil Taylor, as well as collaborations with a number of artists from Carla Bley to Oliver Lake. As an active member of the New York jazz and downtown scenes in the 1970s and 80s, Cyrille also led a number of groups and projects on the Italian Black Saint and Soul Note labels. Saxophonist Bill McHenry joined Cyrille in recording a mix of composed and improvised pieces on a full-length titled Proximity in 2016. Proximity is subtle yet powerful. The title track opens with a meandering saxophone melody. McHenry fully unmasks the instrument—the granular nature of the reed, the respiration involved—granting the listener an unmistakable awareness of the saxophone. As the melody picks up in tempo, it distances itself from the instrument and begins to float atop Cyrille's placid snare brushing. The grainy brush-to-snare texture is almost reminiscent of the reedy color of the sax. The duo modestly yet meaningfully moves together, displaying considerable patience and awareness. The track closes with respiratory swells by McHenry and an equally cloudy, brush-to-cymbal texture by Cyrille. Both musicians' willingness to both explore and dress down their instruments should make for an unpredictable and disarming performance here. —Emili Earhart

Earlier Event: September 24
Wild Belle, Fred Thomas
Later Event: September 25
Theaster Gates (free)