All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

290

Mike Reed's Loose Assembly: Last Year's Ghost

Troy Collins By

Sign in to view read count
Drummer Mike Reed's previous album, In the Context Of (482 Music, 2006), showcased his gifts as an improviser in a series of spontaneous duets with his fellow Chicagoans. Last Year's Ghost provides more evidence of his talents, demonstrating his arranging and composing skills as well as his continuing development as a brilliant percussionist on the rise.

The debut recording of Loose Assembly, his three-year-old quintet, incorporates free-wheeling sonic explorations with nuanced harmonic structures. By reconfiguring group improvisations developed during practice sessions into traditional frameworks, Reed arrives at a perfect balance between unfettered creativity and formal aesthetics.

Colored by Jason Adasiewicz's shimmering vibes and Tomeka Reid's sinuous cello, the session exudes a dulcet, evocative mood that occasionally drifts into darker, introspective territory. Newcomer, alto saxophonist Greg Ward brings both poignant restraint and agitated exuberance to the front line, weaving abstruse lines around Reid's resonant tones and Adasiewicz's cinematic flourishes.

Supported by the leader's tasteful rhythms and Josh Abrams full-bodied bass, the quintet navigates the malleable compositions with verve and grace. Reed, perfectly attuned to the moment, veers from buoyant, swinging ride rhythms and intricate polyrhythms to pulsating backbeats or scintillating, atmospheric accents, as the mood dictates.

Knitting together diverse approaches, the quintet extrapolates a lilting melody into a roiling tempest on the unfolding drama of "Day of the Dead" while soaring with carefree jubilance on the swinging "The Entire State of Florida." From the tender, bluesy mid-tempo sway of "Afterthoughts" and the chaotic, kaleidoscopic blast of "1974" to the somber tone poem "Simone's Crumbs," Loose Assembly draws from a broad range of styles and influences.

A brilliant debut, Last Year's Ghost merges the austere reverence of chamber music with the scalding intensity of Chicago's historically ebullient free jazz, making a case for the re-evaluation of commonly held geographic prejudices. Although conventional wisdom dictates New York as the center of the jazz world, documents like this beg to differ.


Track Listing: Flowers; Day of the Dead; Old Souls; Afterthoughts; 1974; The Entire State of Florida; Exorcism; Simone's Crumbs; Temporary States; Ghost Writer; Dreaming With Jill.

Personnel: Mike Reed: drums; Greg Ward: alto saxophone; Jason Adasiewicz: vibes; Tomeka Reid: cello; Josh Abrams: bass.

Title: Last Year's Ghost | Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: 482 Music

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read A History Of Nothing CD/LP/Track Review
A History Of Nothing
by Mark Corroto
Published: July 21, 2018
Read Turbamulta CD/LP/Track Review
Turbamulta
by Glenn Astarita
Published: July 21, 2018
Read 3 CD/LP/Track Review
3
by Jim Worsley
Published: July 21, 2018
Read World Domination Vol 1: Furie CD/LP/Track Review
World Domination Vol 1: Furie
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: July 20, 2018
Read 20 CD/LP/Track Review
20
by Jack Bowers
Published: July 20, 2018
Read Frank Salis CD/LP/Track Review
Frank Salis
by Mark Sullivan
Published: July 20, 2018
Read "A Sleepin' Bee" CD/LP/Track Review A Sleepin' Bee
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: October 3, 2017
Read "Months, Weeks and Days" CD/LP/Track Review Months, Weeks and Days
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 21, 2018
Read "Edit Peptide" CD/LP/Track Review Edit Peptide
by Glenn Astarita
Published: August 11, 2017
Read "Return of Robert Dickson" CD/LP/Track Review Return of Robert Dickson
by Friedrich Kunzmann
Published: November 30, 2017
Read "Milestones" CD/LP/Track Review Milestones
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: July 31, 2017
Read "Inspiration" CD/LP/Track Review Inspiration
by Chris May
Published: May 6, 2018