Chicago Reader review by Peter Margasak

CF 260Paul Lytton / Nate Wooley – The Nows (CF 260)
Percussionist Paul Lytton is almost 27 years older than trumpeter Nate Wooley, but they’ve built a strong musical relationship atop their shared roots in jazz, finding common cause in rigorous explorations of abstract sound and free improvisation. One of the ways they’ve kept their collaborations energized and unpredictable has been to invite guest players—including Swiss bassist Christian Weber, guitarist David Grubbs, reedist Ken Vandermark, and electronics improviser Ikue Mori. For last year’s superb double CD The Nows (Clean Feed), Vandermark and Mori each joined Wooley and Lytton for a trio session, and you can hear the duo bending and pushing in different ways to accommodate these very different guests. With Mori involved they emphasize texture-rich sound, creating eddies and crags within the electronicist’s liquid output: Wooley employs his most abrasive vocabulary (sharp squeals, unpitched blubbering), and Lytton uses his kit like an elaborate washboard, rubbing, scraping, and thwacking. When they work with Vandermark, the music is more like free jazz, with a relatively pronounced rhythmic thrust and clear linear interplay between the horns. Joining the duo tonight is Chicago percussionist Tim Daisy, who’s adept at the clattery rustling that Lytton helped pioneer but tends to act as more of a propulsive force. I can’t begin to predict how things will shake out with him, and that’s precisely the point.


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