When: Fri., Dec. 7, 9 p.m. and Sat., Dec. 8, 8 p.m. 2012
This summer fantastic Chicago trombonist Jeb Bishop moved to Carrboro, North Carolina, near his native Raleigh, because his wife had landed a job there. Bishop became an integral part of the local jazz and improvised-music community in the mid-90s; over the years he's served as a key member of the Vandermark 5, the Engines, and the Peter Brötzmann Chicago Tentet, among many other groups, and led his own nimble trio. He's also especially game for short-term and ad hoc ensembles, which by nature tend to be driven not by composed material but by improvisation—improvising is Bishop's lifeblood as a musician, and you can hear plenty of evidence to that effect on 1000 Words (Driff), his superb new duo album with Dutch reedist Jorrit Dijkstra, and on Rodrigo Amado's Burning Live (JACC), where he guests with the Portuguese reedist's Motion Trio. I have my fingers crossed that Bishop, like fellow expats Matt Bauder and Aram Shelton, will maintain strong ties to Chicago—and the fact that he's celebrating his 50th birthday in town this weekend (the day itself was October 24) certainly bodes well. On both Friday and Saturday the trombonist will play sets with three bands—his trio (with drummer Frank Rosaly and bassist Kent Kessler), the Engines (with saxophonist Dave Rempis, drummer Tim Daisy, and bassist Nate McBride), and a collective with guitarist Jeff Parker, bassist Joshua Abrams, and drummer Hamid Drake. Parker also guests with the trio both nights, and other musicians are expected to join in too, including New Orleans trombonist Jeff Albert (on both nights) and reedist Ken Vandermark and multi-instrumentalist Joe McPhee (on Saturday only). —Peter Margasak The quartet of Jeb Bishop, Jeff Parker, Joshua Abrams, and Hamid Drake headlines; the Engines and the Jeb Bishop Trio open.