Tim Daisy playing the xylophone in a rehearsal space
Credit: Emma Daisy

In January 2021, I profiled local percussionist Tim Daisy by detailing his creative response to the limitations imposed by COVID-19. At the time, he had just issued a virtual collaboration with electronic musician Ikue Mori on his own label, Relay Recordings. While Daisy has continued to exploit the potentialities of home recording and technologically facilitated connection, when concerts before audiences became a possibility again, he wasted no time returning to the stage. On February 1, Relay releases Circle Back, a robust celebration of chamber-music intimacy and rhythmic vitality that Daisy recorded with violinist Mark Feldman during the Catalytic Sound Festival last October.

This concert introduces two new bands rooted in established relationships. The Tim Daisy 4tet provides an outlet for the drummer’s compositions; inspired by the tuneful, impassioned performances that Don Cherry recorded for Blue Note in the 1960s, Daisy has devised open-ended themes to get the improvisation rolling. The combo renews Daisy’s long-standing partnership with cornetist Josh Berman and also includes two local musicians of a younger generation, tenor saxophonist Molly Jones and bassist Jakob Heineman. The trio Birdwatchers partners Daisy with two players who have histories with him but not with each other. Raconteur Marvin Tate once performed as a guest with Daisy’s group, Vox Arcana, and Relay recently issued a decade-old concert recording by the drummer and the unstoppable Mars Williams, who typically plays an armful of saxophones and a table full of percussion, toys, and other sound-making objects. All three men are fearless improvisers, and they will use no prepared material for this set.

Birdwatchers, Tim Daisy 4tet, Sun 1/30, 9 PM, Hungry Brain, 2319 W. Belmont, $10, 21+