Loose Assembly | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Last Year's Ghost (482 Music), the debut of this quintet led by drummer Mike Reed, dropped this week after a three-year incubation. Alternating between short, mostly improvised pieces focused on texture and gestural interplay and fully realized tunes--from elegant ballads with long, lilting melodies to blistering free bop that recalls Chicago's soulful jazz past--it's a collection of raw beginnings and satisfying conclusions. Reed and bassist Josh Abrams lay down propulsive grooves, over which vibist Jason Adasiewicz floats spiky harmonic patterns; this gives alto saxophonist Greg Ward and cellist Tomeka Reid plenty to work with once they break out of their unison melodic lines and turn to improvising. Ward in particular sounds terrific, balancing gorgeous lyric shapes with tightly coiled multiphonic screams. a 10 PM, Hungry Brain, 2319 W. Belmont, 773-935-2118, donation requested.

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