How appropriate that a new Peter Brötzmann Chicago Tentet album should be recorded in, uh, Chicago, the place that the German avant-garde saxophonist originally convened the group as an octet for a one-night-only performance a decade ago as an experiment utilizing the city’s best free-jazz musicians. But sometimes taking a chance and being totally free can mean too much randomness and Brötzmann quickly came to realize that he had uncovered the ideal laboratory and labyrinth for his larger-than-life playing and compositional style, and he wasn’t about to let the group end up scattered to the wind like a beautiful Tibetan Buddhist sand mandala. Yes, this could be billed as a “Tentet Tenth,” but of course, free jazzers don’t tend to keep careful eyes on calendars any more than they keep straight time or play conventional chordal patterns. But kudos to the Museum of Contemporary Art for noticing and for hosting what is being billed as the ensemble’s only North American performance this year, an event significant enough that the entire affair is being recorded for CD release. A modern art venue is ideal, too, given that Brötzmann began his studies and career as a painter and that he has always seen (and heard) a deep connection between art and music, even having painted and designed his own album covers over the years. The MCA has a collection of his works currently on display in its lobby through December 2 in conjunction with this concert. Chicagoans back from the original group are drummer Michael Zerang, bassist Kent Kessler, cellist Fred Lomberg-Holm, reedists Ken Vandermark and Mars Williams and trombonist Jeb Bishop, along with New York trumpeter Joe McPhee, Johannes Bauer on reeds (Germany), Mats Gustafsson on saxophones (Sweden), Per-Âke Holmlander on tuba (Norway), drummer Paal Nilssen-Love (Sweden) and the ever-energized Brötzmann himself on reeds. (Dennis Polkow) Saturday, December 1 at Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 E. Chicago, (312)397-4010. 9pm. $16-$20.
Preview: Peter Brötzmann Chicago Tentet