Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for 1,000 backers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

297

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

Troy Collins By

Sign in to view read count
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).

Title: About Us | Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: 482 Music


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Makes the Heart to Sing: Jazz Hymns CD/LP/Track Review Makes the Heart to Sing: Jazz Hymns
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 16, 2017
Read Song of No Regrets CD/LP/Track Review Song of No Regrets
by Jack Bowers
Published: December 16, 2017
Read Sounding Tears CD/LP/Track Review Sounding Tears
by John Sharpe
Published: December 16, 2017
Read Lighthouse CD/LP/Track Review Lighthouse
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 16, 2017
Read Kill The Boy CD/LP/Track Review Kill The Boy
by Chris Mosey
Published: December 16, 2017
Read Rain or Shine CD/LP/Track Review Rain or Shine
by Jack Bowers
Published: December 15, 2017
Read "Horizontal Dialogues" CD/LP/Track Review Horizontal Dialogues
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: November 8, 2017
Read "RFK Stadium 1989 Box" CD/LP/Track Review RFK Stadium 1989 Box
by Doug Collette
Published: December 3, 2017
Read "Cluster Swerve" CD/LP/Track Review Cluster Swerve
by Glenn Astarita
Published: July 6, 2017
Read "My Iris" CD/LP/Track Review My Iris
by Fiona Ord-Shrimpton
Published: February 18, 2017
Read "Root Structure" CD/LP/Track Review Root Structure
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: October 31, 2017
Read "Crop Circles" CD/LP/Track Review Crop Circles
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 16, 2017

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!