Reedists Ken Vandermark and Mars Williams share some fresh material in a duo setting. Info/tix
Musicians based right here in Madison are providing ample evidence that jazz and improvised music have a fighting chance (and an audience) in this town, building a community that cuts across generations and differing styles, from free-jazz firebrands like Brennan Connors & Stray Passage to deep Latin-jazz explorers like Golpe Tierra. But another important vital sign is that Madison has upped its game in terms of bringing in out-of-town luminaries who are truly moving the music forward, largely thanks to small venues like the North Street Cabaret, Arts + Literature Lab, and Café Coda. For instance, Chicago-based multi-reedist Ken Vandermark has gotten here pretty often in recent years, in various solo and collaborative settings. He returns here with fellow cutting-edge saxophonist Mars Williams in the duo project Cinghiale.
The name is the Italian word for "wild boar," though the project predates all this "30-50 feral hogs" business by more than 20 years. Cinghiale's one album, Hoofbeats Of The Snorting Swine, came out in 1996, a busy time for two musicians who've always worked in something of a collaborative whirlwind. It captures Williams and Vandermark darting around each other in vertiginous, sharp-edged pieces. Characteristic of both players, Cinghiale tends to blur the line between the rigor of composition and the freedom of improvisation. Vandermark and Mars have recently been working on writing material for the project, so expect these bristly boars to stampede in some new directions here. Chicago-based guitarist Steve Marquette opens with a solo set. —Scott Gordon