Many of the bands from New York’s downtown jazz scene pride themselves on being stylistic omnivores, and at first glance Pachora is no exception. On the quartet’s first and only CD (on Knitting Factory Works), it uses Balkan, Bulgarian, and Turkish themes and rhythms as springboards for elaborate improvisations. But this combo’s real power comes from scrupulous self-restriction. Chris Speed blows paint-peeling tenor saxophone with Tim Berne’s Bloodcount, but in Pachora he sticks to clarinet, playing graceful, sinuous melodies that are doubled by Skuli Sverrisson’s nimble electric bass. When Brad Shepik plays electric guitar with Matt Darriau’s Paradox Trio and Dave Douglas’s Tiny Bell Trio, he loads up on effects to fill space with cloudy swells and busy fusion heroics; in Pachora he limits himself to fleet, single-note lines on Portuguese guitar and Turkish saz. Drummer Jim Black has the hardest time holding back, but even during his most aggressive all-over-the-kit forays he steadfastly articulates the music’s odd-metered dance rhythms, adding just the right touches of color with his sensitive use of shakers and gourds. This is Pachora’s Chicago debut; there is no opening act. Friday, 8 PM, Schubas, 3159 N. Southport; 773-525-2508. Bill Meyer
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo by Valerie Truchia.