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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Keefe Jackson’s Likely So: A Round Goal

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Chicago based multi-instrumentalist and composer Keefe Jackson's intriguingly innovative live album A Round Goal is a modern choral symphony of sorts. Recorded during the Jazzwerkstatt festival in Berne Switzerland on February 20, 2013 Jackson utilizes, in lieu of human voices, woodwinds of various ranges creating brilliantly dramatic music. Western classical influences are apparent, throughout. On “There Is No Language Without Deceit" Polish clarinetist Waclaw Zimpel's agile, stimulating sonic dance emerges from a tightly woven backdrop of alternating refrains of rumbling low winds and the twittering high ones. A tense and thrilling conversation among the various players, laced with ...

MULTIPLE REVIEWS

Keefe Jackson and Aram Shelton: Seeing You See and Two Cities

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The city of Chicago continues to find itself in a jazz renaissance well into the waxing years of the 21st century--a status that many of America's cities can't easily lay claim to. With the pedigrees of individual improvisers and composers like reedman Ken Vandermark and flutist Nicole Mitchell well established in the 1990s, a slightly younger generation of players has assembled things in their wake, on both the North and South Chicago axis.

The most individual voices to step out of this environment include tenor saxophonist/bass clarinetist and composer Keefe Jackson and alto saxophonist/clarinetist Aram Shelton (now based in Oakland, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Keefe Jackson Quartet: Seeing You See

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The vibrant Chicago jazz scene has been home to many impressive young artists, most of whom collaborate in a rotating roster of collective ensembles. This communal approach has yielded a deep pool of talented individuals intimately familiar with each other's working methods, providing them with a sort of regional shorthand. Multi-reedist Keefe Jackson is one such up and coming Windy City resident, whose striking quartet debut, Seeing You See is every bit as compelling as his work with his large ensemble Project Project and the cooperative Fast Citizens.

Former Vandermark 5 trombonist Jeb Bishop (The Engines, Lucky 7's), ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Keefe Jackson's Project Project: Just Like This

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This one could almost be a working definition of what Delmark exists for, documenting as it does an aspect of Chicago's seemingly ever-evolving creative improvised music scene and in so doing giving further exposure to a group of musicians surely destined to make an impact far outside the city's environs.

If anything Jackson's writing for this large ensemble is even more telling than that of his work in smaller group contexts, hence from the off the galumphing “Dragon Fly" balances Mingus-like scoring against free blowing without any incongruity and solos by the likes of Jason Stein and Josh Berman serve ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Keefe Jackson's Project Project: Just Like This

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Why does tenor saxophonist Keefe Jackson call this band Project Project? Is it because he gives composition and improvisation separate identities and the merges them skillfully? That's just a thought. His ability to write and orchestrate music that sings and celebrates, and then have members of his band incise it with an unabashed sense of adventure, makes for glorious listening. There is never a dull moment, with inspiration constantly nudging surprise.

Jackson is helped along on this project by a band of some of the finest improvisers, never wary about taking a risk, yet astute enough to know when to ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Keefe Jackson's Project Project: Just Like This

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Arriving in Chicago from Fayetteville, Arkansas in 2000, multi-instrumentalist Keefe Jackson has been steadily making waves in the Windy City's vibrant jazz community. His recent offering, the swinging and adventurous Just Like This, showcases Jackson's historically aware writing as well as the astute abilities of his collaborators.

Ready Everyday (Delmark, 2006) was the adventurous post-bop premiere of Jackson's sextet, Fast Citizens. Just Like This is the debut of his large ensemble, Project Project. Comprising a dozen of Chicago's finest improvisers, it balances the formidable sonic intensity of a mini-big band with the sensitivity of a chamber jazz group.

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Keefe Jackson's Project Project: Just Like This

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Just Like This, Chicago-based saxophonist/composer Keefe Jackson's second recording as a leader for Delmark Records, is a vivacious, provocative musical statement featuring the 12-member collective, Project Project.

With hints of Charles Mingus and Duke Ellington, Jackson's compositions are ripe with thick chord clusters, swinging rhythms and jarring, yet lyrical melodies. Interspersed amongst orchestral flourishes and stand-out themes are free-flowing improvised sections, performed by Project Project's unique roster of bold, musical daredevils uninhibited by harmonic boundaries.

The animated, unaccompanied conversation between Trombonists Jeb Bishop and Nick Broste on the disc opener “Dragon Fly, the virtuoso tuba rumblings of Marc Unternährer on ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Keefe Jackson's Project Project: Just Like This

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Like an elephant dressed in a tuxedo, its hulk swaying to the tempo of some infectious beat; so too is the audacity and undeniable presence of Just Like This by Keefe Jackson's Project Project. The liner notes refer to the twelve-player ensemble as a circus. And rightly so, for it's a bodacious, colorful sound spectacle, led by saxophonist Keefe Jackson. Jackson is one of many young rising stars in the ever-thriving Chicago music scene, which is home to a host of luminaries including Kahil El'Zabar, Ken Vandermark, Rob Mazurek and Nicole Mitchell. His associations with quite a ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Keefe Jackson's Fast Citizens: Ready Everyday

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Here's another instalment of vibrant, stimulating listening out of Chicago, and as with the work of Ken Vandermark's various groups, this programme blurs the line between composition and improvisation to the point of extinction. The resulting music is the product of a highly cohesive group.

Cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm seems to have adopted the recording studio as a kind of second home lately, and what's most remarkable about the level of exposure this has afforded him is how consistent his work is. There's no chordal instrument on this set, and Lonberg-Holm, bassist Anton Hatwich and drummer Frank Rosaly lay ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Keefe Jacksons Fast Citizens: Ready Everyday

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Fayetteville, Arkansas native Keefe Jackson left his Ozarks home and bobbed to the surface in Chicago in 2001. Since that time, the multi-reedist has performed with many local musicians and has been the part of several jazz projects, including the Lucky 7s, the 774th Street Quartet, the Chicago Luzern Exchange, and his present Fast Citizens on Ready Everyday.

There is nary a single standard on Ready Everyday, giving evidence to the burgeoning Chicago jazz scene, a cutting edge zone of creativity and talent. Immediately out of the chute, Jackson proves to be a weaver of craggy melodic heads and sinewy ...



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