Chicago Reader review by Peter Margasak


Jason Stein’s Locksmith Isidore – A Calculus of Loss (CF 104)

Critic’s ChoiceJASON STEIN’S LOCKSMITH ISIDORE Since making a splash in the quartet Bridge 61 with Ken Vandermark, Jason Stein has become a steady presence on the local improvised-music scene. While many important reedists have found distinctive voices on the bass clarinet—Eric Dolphy and David Murray among them—Stein is one of the few to play the instrument exclusively, and on A Calculus of Loss (Clean Feed), the new six-track album by his trio Locksmith Isidore, he refuses to accept its limitations. “That’s Not a Closet” moves from tiptoed pointillism to bluesy swing to turbulent free jazz—with Stein’s ax sounding as much like a tenor saxophone as the unwieldy thing can. On the texture-oriented “Caroline and Sam,” his control of the instrument’s upper register combined with cellist Kevin Davis’s harmonic bowing and Mike Pride’s undulating vibraphone creates a gorgeously restrained atmosphere that reminds me of the great Swedish trio Gul 3. For this and other upcoming performances bassist Jason Roebke replaces Davis.

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