146

Chicago Underground Quartet: Chicago Underground Quartet

Mark Corroto By

Sign in to view read count
Chicago Underground Quartet: Chicago Underground Quartet Heirs to Sun Ra’s legacy of creative music, the Chicago Underground Quartet provides proof of such honor with their self-named release. The Chicago Underground, be it in duo, trio or their present four-man lineup, cover open-ended creative music with feet planted in the avant-garde’s past and music’s future.

The band’s members shuffled between gigs in numerous groups including Tortoise, Isotope 217, Stereolab, Brokeback, and The Aluminum Group, to name a few. Their collective experience produces music readily copied by teen sensations Radiohead.

This disc, like the Underground’s prior recordings seem to revolve around cornetist/electronics Rob Mazurek organization, be it in duo (with Chad Taylor), in trio (add Noel Kupersmith) or quartet (with Jeff Parker). Mazurek, though not the leader of this session, certainly was its organizer. Like Sonny Blount, Mazurek assembled potent voices for maximum interactions. He also wields a cornet with a strong reference to Lester Bowie’s freedom principles.

This first Quartet record broadens the CU sound to a more diverse vision. The band has fully realized their concepts of modernism in the form of free jazz meet electronics and minimalism. For instance they spin out a repetitive guitar line and almost ambient tone on “Total Recovery” only to be juxtaposed by Mazurek’s sputtering cough of a cornet. Again they present a minimalist stepchild on “Wo Ist Der Kuchen” with perfect statements presented as counter, be it cornet, Taylor’s vibes, or Parker’s guitar.

This is not black-turtleneck-geek-snob music. There is plenty of beat driven pulses to motor life soundtrack here. From the opener “Tunnel Chrome” with its liquid rhythms to the drum frenzied “Welcome,” the CUQ proves they are about vibrancy through layering sound. They do so in constructing and deconstructing as on “Nostalgia,” where Parker bares his finest Derek Bailey impression against what could have been the Ornette Coleman Spy vs. Spy tribute band buried in the last 13 seconds of the record.

Like the former fellow Chicago residents known as Sun Ra’s Arkestra, the Chicago Underground Quartet are taking their musical performance to another level, beyond the expectations of their own generation. Also read Nils Jacobson’s review in the July 2001 issue of AllAboutJazz.


Track Listing: Tunnel Chrome; Four in the Evening; A Re-occuring Dream; Welcome; Three in the Morning; Total Recovery; Sink, Charge, Fixture; Wo Ist Der Kuchen, Meine Frau; Nostalgia.

Personnel: Jeff Parker: guitar; Noel Kupersmith: bass; Chad Taylor: percussion, vibes; Rob Mazurek: cornet, electronics.

Title: Chicago Underground Quartet | Year Released: 2001 | Record Label: Thrill Jockey


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Towards Language CD/LP/Track Review Towards Language
by John Eyles
Published: June 23, 2017
Read The Romeo and Juliet Project CD/LP/Track Review The Romeo and Juliet Project
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 23, 2017
Read Saluting Sgt. Pepper CD/LP/Track Review Saluting Sgt. Pepper
by Roger Farbey
Published: June 23, 2017
Read Crystal Machine CD/LP/Track Review Crystal Machine
by Glenn Astarita
Published: June 23, 2017
Read Saluting Sgt. Pepper CD/LP/Track Review Saluting Sgt. Pepper
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 22, 2017
Read Thick as Thieves CD/LP/Track Review Thick as Thieves
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 22, 2017
Read "The Declaration of Musical Independence" CD/LP/Track Review The Declaration of Musical Independence
by Mark Sullivan
Published: September 25, 2016
Read "Duende Libre" CD/LP/Track Review Duende Libre
by James Nadal
Published: May 6, 2017
Read "TriAngular Bent" CD/LP/Track Review TriAngular Bent
by Dave Wayne
Published: September 22, 2016
Read "The Wild" CD/LP/Track Review The Wild
by Jerome Wilson
Published: March 15, 2017
Read "Hudson" CD/LP/Track Review Hudson
by Roger Farbey
Published: June 18, 2017
Read "Tiptoe" CD/LP/Track Review Tiptoe
by Jerome Wilson
Published: December 1, 2016

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.