Rafi Zabor’s Updoc, Fri March 27 & Tues March 31

This week’s selection from Jack DeJohnette’s season-making Made in Chicago record is a Muhal Richard Abrams piece called Jack 5 that is often as spare and stark as classical Japanese music and features some of the most oblique time-playing I’ve everh heard, and a lot of Henry Threadgill. It’s a marvel, but this week’s Updoc—Friday at 8PM and noon next Tuesday, Brooklyn not Chicago time—leads off with Esa-Pekka Salonen’s orchestral salute to the goddess of night, Nyx, a virtuoso score of such richness and fun that I just had to use it as a curtain raiser. Later on, we’re back to jazz and duets, David Murray with Milford Graves and Jack, respectively, and Joe Lovano with the magisterial and gentlemanly Hank Jones. Which leads us back to the piano sonatas of Franz Schubert—last week’s sonata in A must have been habit-forming—this time the composer’s last, #21 in B-flat, which he premiered a few weeks before his death via syphilis at the age of 31, alas. The performance is by Sviatoslav Richter, the piano titan whose centenary year this is, and he slows the opening movement far enough down to provide the link to Beethoven’s late sonatas; but where Beethoven’s mystical inwardness leads him into further thematic compression, even at his most expansive, Schubert’s depth-dive opens the music outward into the epic scope of an inward Odyssey. To follow Richter on this journey is an extraordinary privilege that invites deep listening. Another thing to remember about Richter is that he needed to keep a red plastic lobster close to him at all times, and since it was never visible in concert we must assume that he hid it in his piano bench. This is a studio recording, so he might have been happy to have it where he could see it as he played. Takes all kinds, I guess.KoonsLob

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