Various Artists

Myopic Bookstore Improvised Music Workshop , Vol. 1

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This compilation collects recordings from the Chicago improvisational music scene of the '90s under the banner of Myopic Bookstore, a Windy City venue that was host to some challenging experimental music. The artists here are post-rock players, many of whom have tenuous relationships to better-known Chicago troupes such as Tortoise and musicians like Jim O'Rourke. On this compilation, different groupings of a small core of players are documented in what seems like a homely and casual environment. Like great improv recordings, there are moments of great clarity and invention; there are also others of aimless searching. While that will always keep improv fans satisfied, it is a quieter and more pensive dialect of free jazz than the stormy chaos of New York's improvisers. An early recording of prepared guitarist Kevin Drumm is a highlight, in trio with reedman Michael Colligan and the ubiquitous O'Rourke. A highly recommended independent CD that gives a good overview of an exciting experimental music scene.

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