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Time Out Chicago
Steve Dollar


Taylor Ho Bynum Trio + 2
Velvet Lounge; Tue 17

Forget the shape of jazz to come. That was a nifty catchphrase. Only it’s 50 years after the paradigm shift stirred by lion-hearted cats like Cecil Taylor and Ornette Coleman, whose emergent eruptions are as distant to us now as Buddy Bolden’s phantom bluster was on the day Charlie Parker died.

Though we’re blessed to have avant-garde avatars Taylor and Coleman yet thriving in their eighth decades, the revolution they seeded continues to regenerate. Taylor Ho Bynum, who plays cornet—Bolden’s brass of choice—and flugelhorn, belongs to a rising breed of jazzhead, new kids on the block who are enriching the improviser’s vocabulary with their own stirring voices and dizzying rush of language. The bandleader is touring with a couple of choice discs in circulation. True Events (482 Music), a series of duets with drummer Tomas Fujiwara, is a bravura display of imaginative technique. Flipping the script, the ensemble effort The Middle Picture (Firehouse 12) showcases Bynum’s conceptual savvy as a bandleader, recasting the Miles Davis landmark “In a Silent Way” with secret-weapon guitarist Mary Halvorson, for instance. It also unpacks a lungful of quick-witted growls, squeals, guffaws, and other transient bursts of sound that make Bynum’s playing as animated as a vintage Loony Toon.

The performer brings an extended version of his usual trio to town, with Halvorson and Fujiwara, plus local luminaries Nicole Mitchell on flute and Nate McBride on bass. Expect to witness some mad skills, the likes of which have allowed Bynum to hang onstage with outcat heroes like Taylor and Anthony Braxton (with whom he studied), and which make him one of the most exciting figures in jazz’s new power generation.—Steve Dollar

Back to True Events album page.
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