Mike Reed's People, Places & Things | Museum of Contemporary Art | Jazz | Chicago Reader

Mike Reed's People, Places & Things Recommended Free All Ages Soundboard Critics' Picks

When: Tue., Aug. 4, 5:30 p.m. 2009

This excellent quartet—drummer and bandleader Mike Reed, bassist Jason Roebke, and saxophonists Greg Ward and Tim Haldeman—began with a clever hook, playing unjustly overlooked postbop tunes written in Chicago during the late 50s. But with their fiery live gigs and last year’s superb Proliferation, they quickly proved they were much more than a repertory band. Their forthcoming second album, About Us (482 Music), shifts toward a contemporary repertoire, including material by the band and by three local stalwarts—trombonist Jeb Bishop, saxophonist David Boykin, and guitarist Jeff Parker, each of whom guests on the song he contributes. That said, the sound of People, Places & Things hasn’t changed much: it still combines the bluesy brawn of Chicago’s postbop past (especially on pieces like “V.S. #1” and Boykin’s “Big and Fine”) with thoroughly present-day improvisational vocabularies and a whole-band style of interaction that’s worlds apart from the traditional solo-and-vamp approach. They remain my favorite jazz group in town, and though Haldeman recently moved to Ann Arbor and Ward’s leaving for New York in the fall, they plan to keep playing. They’ve also got an octet record on deck, with the core group augmented by Bishop and three Chicago vets who were on the scene in the 50s: Ira Sullivan, Art Hoyle, and Julian Priester. —Peter Margasak

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