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POSTPONED: Keefe Jackson Quartet

  • Arts + Literature Laboratory 2021 Winnebago Street Madison, WI, 53704 United States (map)

Three Chicago improvisers team up with Madison violist Jen Clare Paulson. Info/tix


Chicago-based saxophone and bass clarinet player Keefe Jackson plays here with three other musicians who seem to thrive when pushing into extremes and blurry sonic borderlands. Jackson, cellist Lia Kohl, and bassist Jason Roebke all exemplify what's so exciting about Chicago's jazz and improvised-music community right now: They're able to harness the techniques of jazz in ways that transcend familiar points of reference. The same goes for violist Jen Clare Paulson, who established her own ties in that community before moving to Madison in 2004. Paulson's activities here have included playing in the Madison Symphony Orchestra, leading an experimental string trio called Sheba, playing fiddle for bluegrass band Milkhouse Radio, and performing on the Japanese koto. She has also collaborated with leading avant-jazz artists including Ken Vandermark, Tim Daisy, and Kyle Bruckmann. (Also, if you take your stringed instruments to Spruce Tree for repairs/setups, Paulson might have worked on it.)

For this show at Arts + Literature Lab, the four musicians have promised "a spring evening of strings and reeds sounds, strategies, and vibrations" and that they will be "digging hard, diving deep, and making small motions, altogether and separately." That could end up sounding like any number of things, given the breadth of work all these artists have done as composers, improvisers, and collaborators. On a 2015 recording with drummer Julian Kirshner and cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm, Jackson sticks almost entirely to the abstract and dissonant sounds one can make with reed instruments, but it feels natural and fluid rather than confrontational or strained. Kohl's recent projects include Pocket Full Of Bees, a collaboration with multi-instrumentalist Macie Stewart (of Ohmme and Ken Vandermark's Marker project). The record combines Kohl's cello and vocals and Stewart's violin and vocals into wordless drones and undulating soundscapes. Roebke's nimble, warm bass playing capably works the boundary between tuneful jazz and the disorienting avant-garde, and few things capture that better than his work in an ensemble that features saxophonist Greg Ward and modular synth player Brian Labycz. —Scott Gordon

Later Event: May 26
Wurst Times IX