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Aaron Steinberg
If the title of Matt Bauder's Weary Already of the Way (482 Music) is indeed a reference to Joyce's A Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man, it's a cheeky gesture. Double cheeky in his opening number, which presents material played by his band—packed to the hilt with younger Chicago talent—so clipped, chopped and cropped that it sounds computer-generated. This opening salvo is, as it turns out, only the most extreme example of Bauder's guerilla postproduction methods, and a bit of a feint. Beyond that, the saxophonist and producer displays little interest in self-effacing computer music, but he isn't so much interested in assertive personalities either. Bauder's music—solemn, breathy, meticulous—builds large, sometimes chaotic chunks of slow-moving sound out of simple and often repetitive individual contributions. It's often not hard to discern who's playing what, but that's not really the point here. Not always eventful, Bauder's music here nevertheless produces moments of great beauty. A fascinating start and a player to watch.

Matt Bauder is just one of the many younger players to turn up on 482 Music's rewarding compilation of local talent, Document Chicago: New Jazz & Improvisation. Bands like the Vandermark 5 and the Chicago Underground have put creative Chicago music back on the map, but those players rarely hang in the city these days, and a raft of young players have stepped in to fill the void.

The compilation is surprisingly good. It's packed with Parker-like (Jeff, that is) gentle melodic guitar, subtle use of electronics and manic free-jazz energy, and that bodes well for the Midwest's best creative music city. A few more established players turn up here, including the afore mentioned Parker and the Vandermark 5 members drummer Tim Daisy and saxophonist Dave Rempis, who appear as two-third of Triage. Come for them, but stay for bands like the Exciting Trio, the Matana Roberts-led Sticks and Stones or the manic deconstructionists of the Treehouse Project.

Back to Weary Already of the Way album page.
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