Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

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

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.

Radio
Album Reviews
Interviews
Album Reviews
Multiple Reviews
Album Reviews
Read more articles

Upcoming Shows

Date Detail Price
Jun15Sat
Douglas R. Ewart and Bamboo Constellations
Roulette
Brooklyn, NY
$40

Related Articles

Read Poems For Orchestra Album Reviews
Poems For Orchestra
By Friedrich Kunzmann
April 26, 2019
Read We Are On The Edge: A 50th Anniversary Celebration Album Reviews
We Are On The Edge: A 50th Anniversary Celebration
By Mark Corroto
April 25, 2019
Read Golem Dance Album Reviews
Golem Dance
By Friedrich Kunzmann
April 25, 2019
Read New Jazz Standards, Vol. 4 Album Reviews
New Jazz Standards, Vol. 4
By Dan Bilawsky
April 24, 2019
Read Open Form For Society Album Reviews
Open Form For Society
By Mark Corroto
April 24, 2019
Read Yes Album Reviews
Yes
By John Sharpe
April 24, 2019
Read Avec le temps Album Reviews
Avec le temps
By Mark Sullivan
April 23, 2019