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Out of Manhattan’s Lower East Side rides the President, the most fully realized yet of Wayne Horvitz’s several musical personas. Electrically powered, drawing on a whole cabinet full of available influences, the President navigates between musical categories with the slipperiness of a politician. Describing this “smart rock” sextet has tied reviewers up in knots: one limped in saying “It’s jazz only by coincidence,” while a writer in the New York Times intoned about “surging planes of sound and viscerally involving rhythms.” Horvitz himself has described the President as “my version of a blues band, with everything else I like thrown in” (yet he has upbraided interviewers who suggest the band might be “eclectic”). The President sports some of today’s most intriguing improvisational theorists, tossing their ideas around Horvitz’s intense, carefully structured compositions. If asked to single out the dominant instrumental voice, many observers would elect the leader’s keyboards or the raw and slashing guitar of Elliott Sharp. For me, though, it’s drummer Bobby Previte who dictates Presidential policy: his complex rhythms, which have been displayed previously in his own groups and in other projects with Horvitz, always seem to piggyback on a primal, signature pulse. Saturday, 8 PM, Park West, 322 W. Armitage; 929-5959.

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