Eric Reed Trio | Jazz Showcase | Jazz | Chicago Reader

Eric Reed Trio Recommended Soundboard Image

When: Thu., May 22, 8 & 10 p.m., Fri., May 23, 8 & 10 p.m., Sat., May 24, 8 & 10 p.m. and Sun., May 25, 8 & 10 p.m. 2014

Earlier this year pianist Eric Reed released a quartet recording called The Adventurous Monk (Savant), the third consecutive album since 2011 that he's dedicated to the music of Thelonious Monk. A brilliant composer, improviser, and bandleader, Monk has been inspiring his fellow jazz musicians for decades—in the early 60s, when Monk was alive and in his prime, soprano saxophonist Steve Lacy formed one of the first jazz repertory bands to play his music, and Alexander von Schlippenbach's project Monk's Casino recorded every known Monk composition for a single three-CD set (and sometimes performed them all in one evening). In the booklet of his new album, Reed writes, "Every documentation of Monk's music allows me more creative perspective and motivation to delve deeper into his music. I learn more about Monk and myself." His arrangements on The Adventurous Monk are his most daring and creative yet, with deft displacements and elisions of thematic elements, and they give his terrific band—tenor saxophonist Seamus Blake, bassist Ben Williams, and drummer Gregory Hutchinson—plenty of latitude to play around with the indelible melodies of standards ("'Round Midnight" or "Evidence") and lesser-known gems ("Gallop's Gallop" or "Ba-Lue Bolivar Ba-Lues Are"). Reed was already one of the most skilled and reliable mainstream pianists in the game, and he's not only become a more interesting arranger, he also seems looser and, yes, more adventurous as an improviser. For this four-night stand he leads a trio with bassist Hamilton Price and drummer Wesley Anderson. —Peter Margasak

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