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-occurring Dream; Welcome; Three In The Morning; Total Recovery; Sink, Charge, Fixture; Wo Ist Der Kuchen, Meine Frau; Nostalgia.

Personnel: Jeff Parker

Year Released: 2002 | Record Label: Thrill Jockey | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read June CD/LP/Track Review June
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 19, 2017
Read The Final Concert CD/LP/Track Review The Final Concert
by John Sharpe
Published: February 19, 2017
Read Desire & Freedom CD/LP/Track Review Desire & Freedom
by Glenn Astarita
Published: February 19, 2017
Read On Hollywood Boulevard CD/LP/Track Review On Hollywood Boulevard
by Budd Kopman
Published: February 19, 2017
Read The Motorman's Son CD/LP/Track Review The Motorman's Son
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 18, 2017
Read "Checkpoint" CD/LP/Track Review Checkpoint
by Glenn Astarita
Published: April 16, 2016
Read "The Edge of Visibility" CD/LP/Track Review The Edge of Visibility
by Jim Olin
Published: April 1, 2016
Read "Jazzin' Around Christmas" CD/LP/Track Review Jazzin' Around Christmas
by Chris Mosey
Published: December 8, 2016
Read "Songs From Afar" CD/LP/Track Review Songs From Afar
by Budd Kopman
Published: March 11, 2016
Read "Fierce Silence" CD/LP/Track Review Fierce Silence
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 4, 2016
Read "Stinger" CD/LP/Track Review Stinger
by Joe Gatto
Published: January 22, 2017

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!