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Even in a city known for its vibrant free jazz scene, Chicago's Boykin, Seigfried & Reed have established a strong presence. Individually, their resumes boast tenures with a who's who of AACM all-stars. Reedman David Boykin has garnered high praise on various projects, including a recent release with Active Ingredients. Bassist Dr. Karl EH Seigfried works symphonic orchestras, including the Chicago Symphony, besides his jazz gigs, and earned his doctorate with a study of Wilbur Ware. Together, they host the city's only Avant-Garde Jam Session Sundays at the Empty Bottle. Their well oiled empathy takes them through unexpected changes on seven improvised performances whose titles are their times.
A gentle vibratory greeting, "1:55" has bells, bowed bass, and contemplative soprano sax spiraling into "3:10." Reed brush smacks cymbal and drums as Seigfried triggers tension bow tapping strings. Boykin whistles a high tune that grows into "8:09." Seigfried and Reed kick into serious exploratory gear, Boykin floating above the fray. His sustained arpeggios provide a continuity around which the rhythm section swarms like aural ants. Reed keeps a tight, fast rim riff going for Seigfried's solo.
While his soprano seemed ornamental to Seigfried and Reed's excursions, his a capella bass clarinet opens "8:23," soon ushering in a pacing bass line and crisp drumming. Boykin's musings stay mostly low, indulging the rich beauties of the instrument. Boykin roughs up the deep reed on "5:35." The trio rolls the sounds around before bass and drums straighten out for a sprint with Boykin peppering extended high runs with surprise low notes.
Chewy multiphonics and buzzy highs flit around Seigfried's muscular bass to open "7:40." He then takes an extended bass meditation, thoughtfully generating variations. Reed builds a rapid fire on "7:42," giving Boykin rhythmic support for his inspired extended tenor run.
What seems vaguely amphorous in the beginning quickly coalesces into focused drive. Boykin suffers slightly throughout from a weak place in the mix, but makes his point with strength of vision.
I grew up listening to mainstream '70s rock then ended up on the staff at the college paper at San Diego State, and volunteered to review heavy metal LPs. My second semester, the music editor dropped a Fenton Robinson LP on my desk, Night Flight. You like metal; they play guitar--he plays guitar, the editor told me
I grew up listening to mainstream '70s rock then ended up on the staff at the college paper at San Diego State, and volunteered to review heavy metal LPs. My second semester, the music editor dropped a Fenton Robinson LP on my desk, Night Flight. You like metal; they play guitar--he plays guitar, the editor told me. If we don't run a review, Alligator Records is going to stop servicing us.
Night Flight opened up a whole new world for me--the blues led me, inevitably, to Basie, who led to Duke, who led to Mingus, who led to Miles, who led to ...