David Torn performing his new album at Joe’s Pub.
A night of chaos and coalescence
(At the Regattabar jazz club in Cambridge) On Thursday night, all hell broke loose. David Torn, a ridiculously adventurous electric guitarist who sculpts his sound with electronics, brought his quartet Prezens to the club, and a heavy metal concert nearly happened. It was loud and crazy. To compare these musicians to a rock band, however, is to do them a disservice. They play a brand of free jazz that’s primal and sophisticated.
Torn, alto saxophonist Tim Berne, keyboard player Craig Taborn, and drummer Tom Rainey engaged in extended improvisations that developed without predetermined structures or song titles. Their atonal, polyrhythmic jams reeked of chaos, and yet there was, in fact, structure beneath all the madness. Rainey bashed out irregular rock beats. Taborn stabbed the keys of his Fender Rhodes, eliciting blurts and beeps. Berne blew furiously, sometimes in circular patterns, sometimes randomly. Torn – wearing a Russian fur hat – did everything to his guitar short of ripping off the strings. When he ran out of phrases, he dragged the pick up and down the neck, manipulating the noise by twiddling the knobs on the bank of equipment that separated him from the audience.
It was the kind of music that could make a laid-back jazz aficionado go out and break stuff.
– The Boston Globe
Prezens Quartet (David Torn/Tim Berne/Craig Taborn/Tom Rainey)
and Drew Gress’ 7 Black Butterflies featuring Ralph Alessi
Date: Friday, March 28
Time: 8:00 pm
Place: McGuire Theater