Raising the Roof

A critic’s pick for some post-Thanksgiving Day fun

 

If you’re looking to break out of the post-football carbs-and-tryptophan coma, try a few more drumsticks, along with guitar picks, bass strings, and horns. On Thanksgiving weekend, the Velvet Lounge lures back the edgy young saxophonist Matana Roberts, who grew up here but moved in 2002 to New York, where she leads two bands. Here in Chicago, she’ll lead her bustling new-jazz quartet The Chicago Project, her hometown unit. In all her groups, Roberts displays a measured approach to the alto sax and clarinet, punctuated by bursts of energetic dissonance—purposeful caterwauling, you might say. Jeff Parker, who’s best known through his work with the instrumental rockers Tortoise, guides the rhythm with irresistible stutter-step guitar lines; behind them are bassist Josh Abrams and drummer Frank Rosaly, two of the most versatile and effective contributors to Chicago’s new-music scene, who range from a whisper to a whirlwind. Roberts signifies a new breed of jazz women; she offers a musical vision that neither ignores nor exploits her female energy—no small feat in the traditionally male-dominated jazz field. At the Velvet Lounge, 67 E. Cermak Rd., November 28th and 29th.

Photography: Courtesy of Central Control

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