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Chicago Underground Duo
Join Ars Nova Workshop for a double-header with Chicago Underground Duo and Congs For Brums, the solo project of percussionist Ches Smith.
“Mazurek is a player of great poise and elegance, while Taylor’s deftness, imagination and formidable technical skill always make his playing a joy to listen to,” writes The Wire about Chicago Underground Duo. “From the densest meshes to the sparsest near silent passage, each sonic cypher, beat and note seem to be leading somewhere, to have been made with a purpose.”
Leading improvisors on the Chicago experimental music scene, Mazurek and Taylor have performed together in multiple ensembles including the Chicago Underground Trio, Chicago Underground Quartet and Chicago Underground Orchestra. Mazurek leads the critically acclaimed Exploding Star Orchestra and Rob Mazurek's Sound Is Quintet, and was most recently in Philadelphia when ANW presented his Starlicker trio with vibraphonist Jason Adasiewicz and Tortoise percussionist John Herndon. Drummer Taylor recently performed in Philadelphia when ANW presented Joshua Abrams' Natural Information Society, and has worked with Marc Ribot, Matana Roberts, Ken Vandermark and Pharoah Sanders.
Chicago Underground Duo celebrates its 15th anniversary this year with the release of a new album on Northern Spy titled Age Of Energy. This follow-up to 2010's critically acclaimed Boca Negra (Thrill Jockey) LP is a unique sound experiment that contrasts improvisation using traditional acoustic instruments and controlled parts performed with various electronic instruments. “The duo is an organic mixture of African, Electronic, Coloristic, Jazz influenced life supporting systematic, non-systematic feeling from two humans trying ever to expand outward and inward for the people and ourselves,” write Taylor and Mazurek about the group, which tonight will present new pieces from Age Of Energy.
Drummer Ches Smith has worked with Mr. Bungle, Xiu Xiu, Marc Ribot's Ceramic Dog, Fred Frith and Nels Cline, and is the leader of These Arches, an ensemble with Mary Halvorson, Tony Malaby and Andrea Parkins. Congs for Brums, Smith's solo project, features compositions for drums and electronics using noise, melody, extended percussion techniques, multidirectional time and polyrhythm.
In 2006, Smith released the self-titled debut Congs for Brums on the Free Porcupine Society label, and the decidedly electronic, sonic and harsh noise-based follow-up Congs for Brums II: Noise to Men was released in 2010. Congs For Brums' latest album, Psy-cho Predictions (Preposterous Bee Music; 2012), was recorded and produced by Ceramic Dog bandmate Shahzad Ismaily and displays the young multi-instrumentalist's most explosive and challenging work yet.
Ars Nova Workshop is a Philadelphia nonprofit jazz and experimental music presenting organization. As a facilitator between artists and their audiences, Ars Nova Workshop works to inform, inspire and challenge listeners in order to elevate the role of jazz, improvisation and experimental music in contemporary culture.