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Tashi Dorji, Dave Rempis, and Tyler Damon combine in the fierce improvisational trio Kuzu

Saturday, March 14, Café Coda, 8 p.m.

Saturday, March 14, Café Coda, 8 p.m. Info

Photo by Julia Dratel.

A trio of master improvisors from three distinct disciplines, Kuzu is the relatively new collaborative group of Dave Rempis, Tyler Damon, guitarist Tashi Dorji. Saxophonist Rempis is a long-time member of the Chicago free-jazz scene, most noticeably as a member of the Vandermark Five. Damon comes from the Bloomington, Indiana scene of underground noise-rock, fine-tuning his drumming in various improvisational combos over the last decade. Dorji’s idiosyncratic guitar style is indebted to Derek Bailey and flamenco, but he’s managed to maintain an entirely personal, unique style on both acoustic and electric. Damon and Dorji have been playing together as a duo since 2015, and their live and recorded work is some of the most exciting free music of the last few years; Damon’s manic intensity and Dorji’s splintered phrasing resulting in a constantly mutating full-force barrage. Their first meeting with Rempis is recorded on the 2018 album Hiljaisuus, which maintains a fierce sheet-of-sound intensity throughout while allowing each musician space.

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There’s always a feeling in improvised music that everything could fall apart at any moment, but in Kuzu it’s obvious that these three musicians are not only masterful players but also finely attuned listeners, picking up on where the others are going as they sputter and skitter in and out of unison. For musicians with disparate backgrounds this can be even more difficult, but Kuzu has shown it has a restless, organic energy all its own.

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