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Mike Reed: Proliferaiton & The Speed of Change

Jeff Stockton By

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Mike Reed's Peoples, Places & Things
Proliferation
482 Music
2008


Mike Reed's Loose Assembly
The Speed of Change
482 Music
2008




Ken Vandermark gets a lot of attention for building relationships among jazz musicians in Chicago but drummer and composer Mike Reed is securing his own reputation as an energetic performer, organizer and all-around champion of Chicago's place in contemporary jazz.

Reed assembled his Peoples, Places & Things band to record Proliferation, a genuine concept album that lets a pianoless quartet (Reed, bassist Jason Roebke, Tim Haldeman on tenor and Greg Ward on alto and clarinet) loose on a collection of tunes that originated in Chicago from 1954-60. In general, this is well-played hard bop, sprinkled with a few of Reed's own compositions and a dash of Sun Ra. For a group led by a drummer, the percussion is admirably understated, the rhythms serving the songs, Reed giving most of the time to Ward and Haldeman's unison lines ("Pondering"), bluesy interplay ("Sleepy") and sensitive balladeering ("FA"). Simultaneously reclaiming a bygone era while offering fresh twists and a modern sensibility, one hopes Reed digs deeper into this vivid, toe-tapping period.

The Speed of Change is the second release from Loose Assembly whose slightly unconventional lineup brings Dolphy's classic Blue Note sound together with the principles of the AACM. The credits read like a list of Chicago's just-left-of-center all-stars: Josh Abrams' dark, murky bass; Jason Adasiewicz' dreamy vibes; Tomeka Reid's moaning cello and Greg Ward's burning alto. It's Ward and Reid who capture the imagination, with Ward doppelganging as a second stringed instrument. Adasiewicz gives these tunes an otherworldly, ethereal quality that is supported by Abrams and Reed with a dampened low-key solidity. Dedicated to Fred Anderson, Chicago's eminence grisé, and featuring guest shots from flautist/vocalist Nicole Mitchell, this CD is a crowning achievement for the members of a vital musical community.


Tracks and Personnel

Proliferation

Tracks: Is-it ; Wilbur's Tune; Be-Ware; People; Status Quo; Planet Earth; Sleepy; Places; FA; Pondering; Saturn; Things

Personnel: Tim Haldeman: tenor sax, percussion, piano; Mike Reed: drums, piano; Jason Roebke: bass, percussion, piano; Greg Ward: alto saxophone, percussion, piano

The Speed of Change

Tracks: The Speed of Change; Garvey's Ghost; Ground Swell; Tezetaye Antchi Lidj; X; Soul Stirrer; Exit Strategy; Picking Up Greta

Personnel: Josh Abrams: bass; Jason Adasiewicz: vibraphone; Mike Reed: drums & percussion; Tomeka Reid: cello; Greg Ward: alto saxophone; Nicole Mitchell: flute, voice


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