We just wrapped up a live recording at the Green Mill in Chicago- thanks to Cory Weeds @ Cellar Live records and Green Mill owner Dave Jemilo for making this happen! The new side features Marquis Hill, Joel Adams, Nick Mazzarrella, Clark Sommers, Dana Hall, and myself playing new interpretations of music by Ligeti, Curtis Mayfield, and Charlie Parker as well as several compositions of mine. Look for it on Cellar Live Records in a few months- in the meantime, here’s a preview. Special thanks also to the folks at D’Addario for the smokin’ new Reserve tenor mouthpiece and my friends at P. Mauriat for the great horns!
Lots of great music coming up in the next couple months! My Roots quintet will be at Ancien Cycles Tuesday January 17th with guest alto saxophonist Nick Mazzarrella, Russ Johnson, Dana Hall and Clark Sommers playing music from Gyorgy Ligeti, Curtis Mayfield, Bird and Lead Belly, to name a few. Trumpeter Marquis Hill will rejoin the group for performances at the legendary Green Mill February 24th and 25th and then for a special live recording session at the Mill the afternoon of March 15th- details to come.
I’m also excited about the return of the collaborative band Garden of Souls (Nick M., Mike Reed, Josh Abrams, GB) at the Jazz Art Record Collective February 1st. We’ll dig deep into the music of Ornette Coleman from his classic Blue Note recordings New York is Now and Love Call.
In between, there are performances with several of my favorite Chicago bands: Matt Ulery’s Loom at Constellation, Dana Hall’s Black Fire at Andy’s, and Soul Message at the California Clipper, to name a few. Check out the Gig page for details, and I hope to see you out on the scene!
The Hyde Park Jazz Festival has exploded in the last few years, consistently presenting a well-curated collection of outstanding artists from around the globe alongside stellar Chicago bands, and this year is no exception. I’m especially looking forward to hearing Randy Weston in the Rockefeller Chapel for a late night set Saturday September 24th, 11 pm. I’ll be appearing on the festival the same day with Matt Ulery’s Loom and Clark Sommers’ Ba(SH) as well as Garden of Souls, a new collaboration with Nick Mazzarrella, Mike Reed, and Josh Abrams that delves into a couple of Ornette Coleman’s classic recordings: New York is Now and Love Call.
I’m very excited about this upcoming performance at Constellation Chicago Saturday June 11th. The quintet will be revisiting music from our critically acclaimed 2015 Origin release Our Roots and working out some brand new material for the next one. This incarnation of the group features a stellar lineup, some of my favorite musicians anywhere: Dennis Carroll (bass) and Russ Johnson (trumpet) will join long time bandmates Dana Hall (drums, tambourine- and yes, you do want to see that), Joel Adams (trombone) and myself. Tickets ($10) can be purchased in advance at the link below (showtime is 8:30, 2 sets) or at the door. Come out and hang!
4-STARS! An offer to revisit a classic jazz album for a Chicago concert series led saxophonist Geof Bradfield to return his attention to one of his favorite records. The experience was so good it became the germ for his superb new quintet album, on which he pays homage to the legendary blues and folk singer Lead Belly via tenor man Clifford Jordan, who made a Lead Belly tribute album for Atlantic in 1965.
Bradfield widened the scope for the project, his band tackling a pair of classics by the great Blind Willie Johnson along with a couple of Georgia Sea Island spirituals affiliated with powerhouse singer Bessie Jones. He also included three of his own tunes, each feting musicians who’ve made an impact on him: Randy Weston, Meshell Ndegeocello and Oliver Mtukudzi are expertly evoked by the melodies and feels, respectively, of “Clinton Hill,” “Meshell” and “Mbira Song.”
As he writes in his liner notes, Bradfield aimed for arrangements and performances that were “simple and direct,” and apart from couple of complex harmonies and an odd time signature, he hits the mark. He deserves credit for refusing to take the obvious route in paying tribute to his influences, coming up with something that says much more about himself than Lead Belly or Clifford Jordan.