297

Mike Reed's People, Places & Things: About Us

Troy Collins By

Sign in to view read count
Mike Reed's People, Places & Things: About Us Chicago-based drummer Mike Reed's debut of his People, Places & Things Ensemble, Proliferation (482 Music, 2008), was dedicated to the under-recognized people, places, and things from late 1950s Chicago that he found inspiring. About Us continues this concept, eschewing the previous session's focus on under-sung cover tunes in favor of original compositions written by Reed and his band mates, with one tune apiece contributed by three of Chicago's most influential artists.

The line-up once again features the effusive front-line of saxophonists Greg Ward (alto) and Tim Haldeman (tenor), supported by Jason Roebke's pliant bass excursions and the leader's dexterous trap set work. The quartet is joined at points by tenor saxophonist David Boykin, trombonist Jeb Bishop, and guitarist Jeff Parker, who each sit in on their respective tunes.

Bustling with staccato riffs, serpentine themes, and bracing tempos, the majority of the album revels in revisionist swing, updating classic be-bop and hard bop traditions with angular intervals, modern harmonies, and collective arrangements. Ward and Haldeman uncoil fervent interlocking cadences that careen astride Roebke and Reed's quicksilver tempos, pushing at the boundaries of convention without disavowing lessons learned from their forbearers.

Though crackling ride rhythms and tortuous volleys of notes dominate, there are brief periods of respite. "The Next Time You Are Near" is a beautifully understated ballad—striking in its melodic maturity. The spectral pointillism of "First Reading: Paul's Letter To the Ephesians" is equally evocative, an introspective tone poem that unveils harmonious fragments through an aleatoric haze.

The session blossoms on the guest tracks. The gruff, swaggering blues of Boykin's "Big and Fine" slowly expands into thorny territory, climaxing with all three saxophones intertwined in a spellbinding vortex of kaleidoscopic sound. Bishop's rousing "Big Stubby" employs a similar strategy, culminating in a contrapuntal horn chorale, plying spirited variations on the main theme sans rhythm section accompaniment. The relaxed pace of Parker's "Days Fly By (with Ruby)" ends the session with melodious elegance.

The second installment of a projected three part trilogy, About Us showcases some of Chicago's brightest new stars advancing the art form without ignoring the innovations of the past.


Track Listing: It's Enough; V.S. #1; About Us; Big and Fine; The Next Time You Are Near; Big Stubby; Flat Companion; First Reading: Paul's Letter To the Ephesians; Under The Influence of Lunar Objects; Days Fly By (with Ruby).

Personnel: Mike Reed: drums, melodica (8); Greg Ward: alto saxophone; Tim Haldeman: tenor saxophone; Jason Roebke: bass; David Boykin: tenor saxophone (4); Jeb Bishop: trombone (6); Jeff Parker: guitar (10).

Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: 482 Music | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read June CD/LP/Track Review June
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 19, 2017
Read The Final Concert CD/LP/Track Review The Final Concert
by John Sharpe
Published: February 19, 2017
Read Desire & Freedom CD/LP/Track Review Desire & Freedom
by Glenn Astarita
Published: February 19, 2017
Read On Hollywood Boulevard CD/LP/Track Review On Hollywood Boulevard
by Budd Kopman
Published: February 19, 2017
Read The Motorman's Son CD/LP/Track Review The Motorman's Son
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 18, 2017
Read "The Rhythm Method" CD/LP/Track Review The Rhythm Method
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: January 14, 2017
Read "Old Locks And Irregular Verbs" CD/LP/Track Review Old Locks And Irregular Verbs
by Glenn Astarita
Published: April 7, 2016
Read "The Way You Say It" CD/LP/Track Review The Way You Say It
by Mark Corroto
Published: March 26, 2016
Read "Festen" CD/LP/Track Review Festen
by John Sharpe
Published: November 12, 2016
Read "Brooklyn Blowhards" CD/LP/Track Review Brooklyn Blowhards
by Mark Corroto
Published: March 31, 2016
Read "Under the Influence" CD/LP/Track Review Under the Influence
by Doug Collette
Published: July 2, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!