A cause for celebration: Curlew, a wiggy but impressively grounded quintet, makes its Chicago debut. Perhaps the most lionized of the bands that inhabit the energetic jazz scene in lower Manhattan, Curlew is steeped in the blues, but you’ll hear that influence only obliquely; it informs pieces that also boast the soulful funk of southern rock, or manage to combine avant-garde guitar noise with an irresistable beat, or motor along on rhythms previously found in Shannon Jackson’s Decoding Society. Curlew boasts a variety of textures, from the rich unison of George Cartwright’s tenor sax and Tom Cora’s cello to the martian landscapes of guitarist Davey Williams. But the real core of the music lies in Cartwright’s writing; his tunes seem both improvised and through-composed, darting among multiple sections with a free-for-all looseness that belies their authority and logic. To top it off, they’re a great jamming band, as their new album, Live in Berlin, makes abundantly clear. Some of these musicians have made Chicago appearances in other contexts; kudos to Lower Links for finally importing them en masse. Saturday, 9 and 11 PM, Club Lower Links, 954 W. Newport; 248-5238.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Michael Macioce.