Sam Wagster (pedal steel) and Skyler Rowe (drums / percussion) are the Mute Duo. This spring, they have a Tuesday night residency at Chicago's Burlington Bar, where they welcome guest musicians into their experimental jazz realm.
Since they kicked off the series in March with Ryley Walker, Bill Mackay and Matt Lux -- basically musicians who we have been obsessive over since the release of Walker's Golden Sings That Have Been Sung -- we just couldn't keep away.
In two 45 minutes sets -- which presumably were fully improvised -- the quintet worked around the edges of noise, and ultimately found some satisfying slow build grooves that harnessed the creativity of all the players. Rowe, in particular, was finding just about every conceivable way to strike his set of percussive instruments to contribute.
The dark (see photograph), typical Chicago watering hole vibe of The Burlington had a rapt group of a couple dozen witnesses. It was perfect environment for the moody, sparse music -- and even allowed us to record using some pretty basic quipment (okay, an iPhone microphone).
Check out the recording.