Taylor Ho Bynum, Tomas Fujiwara, Nicole Mitchell, Jeb Bishop, Jeff Parker, and Nate McBride | Hungry Brain | Jazz | Chicago Reader

Taylor Ho Bynum, Tomas Fujiwara, Nicole Mitchell, Jeb Bishop, Jeff Parker, and Nate McBride Recommended Soundboard Critics' Picks

When: 2009

With last year’s superb Asphalt Flowers Forking Paths (Hatology), Taylor Ho Bynum cemented his reputation as one of the most compelling and progressive trumpeters and bandleaders currently active, at home in every corner of the creative-music map. The album starts with the solo piece “Open,” a fast-moving but cogent display of extended technique that covers the distance between Lester Bowie and Greg Kelley in just seconds. More impressive, though, is the ensemble work on the album’s centerpiece, the rich and constantly shifting suite “WhyExpliCities.” Bynum coaxes an orchestral range from his superb sextet—reedist Matt Bauder, violist Jessica Pavone, guitarists Mary Halvorson and Evan O’Reilly, and drummer Tomas Fujiwara—and the group brings remarkable sensitivity and precision to the conversations and collisions among the various parts, which accommodate postbop agility, post-Lennie Tristano lyricism, chamber-music delicacy, and free-jazz huzzah. Almost as impressive is the new (Un)sentimental (Important), by Bynum, Fujiwara, Halvorson, and Pavone; this quartet, called the Thirteenth Assembly, plays compositions from each member, which makes the album less coherent than Asphalt Flowers, but the tunes are all so good it’s hard to care. Tonight Bynum will play in a sextet with Fujiwara and four Chicagoans: bassist Nate McBride, flutist Nicole Mitchell, guitarist Jeff Parker, and trombonist Jeb Bishop. The band will perform Bynum’s pieces for its first set and Fujiwara’s for its second. —Peter Margasak

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