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Chicago Reader
Peter Margasak
Reedist Aram Shelton plays with a thoughtfulness and structural rigor that's rare in a twentysomething jazz musician, but he also brings a deeply improvisational mind-set to each of his projects; in the trio Dragons 1976 (who open for Kill the Vultures on Monday) he cultivates an impeccable sense of space and dynamics, and in the electroacoustic duo Grey Ghost he makes sure that the computer elements stay integral to the music. The quartet Arrive isn't as well-known as those groups--that should change when 482 Music releases its debut this fall--but it's as good as anything Shelton's had a hand in. Its tightly arranged, emotionally muted originals have a lovely chamber-jazz feel, with musicians combining to repeat unison phrases and carve out spaces for solos; the pieces are elaborate yet never sound fussed over. Shelton's alto sax and Jason Roebke's bass often pair up within the ensemble, as do Tim Daisy's drums and Jason Adasiewicz's vibes, but the group is flexible enough to try different combinations. On the forthcoming debut, Adasiewicz is particularly impressive. Years ago I saw him beat his vibraphone like it was a drum kit and thought he needed to chill the fuck out; his playing on the record is more subtle, but when he does bring the hammer down, the weird metallic thrum he produces more than justifies the use of force. Shelton is moving to the Bay Area soon, so this'll probably be the last chance to hear Arrive for a while. Wednesday June 22 9:30 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, 773-276-3600 or 800-594-8499, $6.
Back to Arrive album page.
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