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Fri, Nov 22


Merrimans' Playhouse

Twin Talk

While they are deeply rooted in jazz tradition, they’ve spent their time on the band stage together making their music more elastic, spontaneous, and open, embracing new inspirations without stifling the improvisational heart of their work.

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Twin Talk
Twin Talk

Time & Location

Nov 22, 2019, 8:00 PM – 10:05 PM EST

Merrimans' Playhouse, 1211 East Mishawaka Avenue, South Bend, IN, USA


About the Event

Celebrating their new CD, "Weaver" Twin Talk, features drummer Andrew Green, saxophonist Dustin Laurenzi, and bassist/vocalist Katie Ernst. Chicago band Twin Talk is known for its offbeat, melodic approach to improvised music. They focus their creative energies on collaboration and communication, sharing a musical language  that is deeply personal and highly connected.   

Chicago’s  legacy of creative improvisers has had a profound influence on the band's defiant risk-taking and spontaneity. All About Jazz critic Mark Turner had high praise for the band's sophomore album (TWIN TALK, ears&eyes Records) noting that "Chicago has long been a bedrock of  improvised music and Twin Talk represents a microcosm of that strength in today's environment."

Since forming in 2012 Chicago’s Twin Talk has steadily drifted from the conventions of the saxophone trio. While reedist Dustin Laurenzi, bassist-singer Katie Ernst, and drummer Andrew Green are deeply rooted in jazz tradition, they’ve spent their time on the band stage together making their music more elastic, spontaneous, and open, embracing new inspirations without stifling the improvisational heart of their work. All three musicians are active members in the city’s bustling jazz community, each playing in numerous working bands, but they’ve found a true collective voice as TwinTalk. They’ve used live performances as opportunities to stretch—expanding on  composed material and ditching set lists in favor of calling tunes on  the fly—but on Weaver they’ve pushed themselves further than ever, using  the recording studio as a place for experimentation, letting a new batch of compositions develop and take new shapes. As critic Howard  Reich wrote recently in the Chicago Tribune, “These musicians listen  keenly to one another, and with a sensitivity that only comes from familiarity and trust."

Laurenzi spent much of 2016-17  on tour with Bon Iver, and when the group’s leader Justin Vernon caught a Twin Talk gig in Minneapolis he was knocked out and offered the trio a chance to record at his celebrated April Base studio. With five  luxurious days at its disposal, Twin Talk recorded its new book of tunes as it had traditionally—live and unadorned. Then they spent the next  three days reshaping the material with carefully plotted overdubs and  edits, forging sleek arrangements with lush harmonies—the soulful,  patiently accruing horn charts that limn the aching country-soul melody  of “Folks,” or the ethereal wordless vocals of Ernst that float in deft  unison with Laurenzi’s serene clarinet in the postlude of “Paxton,” the  sole piece on the recording to splice two discrete sections to produce an intentionally jarring transition. 

Ernst is a  genuine double threat, her muscular bass playing matched by a crystalline voice—an instrument of astonishing precision and clarity. Those talents have been recognized by many, including pianist and  composer Jason Moran, who made her playing and singing an integral part  of his monumental suite Looks of a Lot in 2015. Her vocals are featured on “Solace,” a ballad of disarming beauty, as a solemn delivery initially backed by sonorous double stops gradually opens up with  Laurenzi’s sobbing commentary and Green’s increasingly forceful pulse. As the song reaches its conclusion the contained emotions seem to burst  into tears, only for Ernst to deliver a serene coda streaked with hope. Most of the music on "Weaver" pushes through shifting terrain. “The Sky Never Ends” toggles between gossamer delicacy, pop-like splendor, and  explosive exposition, while the gorgeously meditative “Five” offers an  extended platform for Green’s melodic percussion before Laurenzi’s knotty tenor cries push toward a rewarding climax. Vernon’s enthusiasm  for Twin Talk continues, as he ushers Weaver into the world through his  eclectic PEOPLE platform on February 8, 2019.


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