The fourth installment of drummer Mike Reed's People, Place & Things project departs from his original modus operandi of paying tribute to the Chicago jazz and improvised scene circa 1954-1960. Despite this, Reed could not divorce himself of his heritage; Clean On the Corner bristles with the legacy of Chicago's broad sounds and the inspiration of the AACM (Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians).
As with his previous discsStories And Negotiations (482 Music, 2010), About Us (482 Music, 2009), and Proliferation (482 Music, 2008)Reed's core band maintains the two-saxophone front of Tim Haldeman and Greg Ward, in addition to bassist Jason Roebke. Here, Reed adds pianist Craig Taborn and cornetist Josh Berman on two separate tracks each.
Reed penned six of the album's eight tracks though he does dip his spoon back into Chicago's heritage for Roscoe Mitchell's "Old" and John Jenkins' "Sharon." Originally recorded in 1957 for Alfred Lion on John Jenkins With Kenny Burrell (Blue Note, 1957), Reed's version of "Sharon" swaps Taborn for the guitarist, but retains a blithe swinging temper. After the two saxophonists twist the melody around each other, Taborn leaps into the mix, firing speedy unadorned notes into the rush-rush of the music. Reed's arrangements can be characterized as emergence of the New Thing, but with an appetite for swing. His own "The Lady Has A Bomb," rendered by quartet, and "Old" both feature Ward and Haldeman, trading licks that could be mistaken for vintage music of fifty years prior. "Old" is an untidy blues, a stumbling saxophone battle-turned- conversation with Reed playing his Chicago-by-way-of-New Orleans backing.
Adding Berman's cornet to the mix on "House Of Three Smiles" settles the band into a graceful melody Reed expanded from vibraphonist Jason Adasiewicz' music. The music plays off both a modern temper and an old soul's nature, as on the quietly free "Where The Story Ends," which mixes whispered tones over a blues feel.
For Reed's People, Places & Things, the past is much more than prologue. It is the bone marrow and the DNA that informs all modern jazz musicians.
The Lady Has A Bomb; Old; December?; Where The Story Ends; Sharon; House Of Three
Smiles; The Ephemeral Worlds Of Ruth; Warming Down.
Greg Ward: alto saxophone; Tim Haldeman: tenor saxophone; Jason Roebke: bass; Mike
Reed: drums, percussion; Josh Berman; cornet; Craig Taborn; piano.
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