When: Thu., Aug. 27, 8:30 p.m. 2015
It’s been a long time coming, but next month Tomeka Reid finally releases her debut album as a leader (via Thirsty Ear Records). A cellist possessing gorgeous tone, technical precision, and melodic command, Reid has become a vital component of Chicago’s improvised music community over the last decade, playing in Mike Reed’s Loose Assembly and various Nicole Mitchell projects. She’s also led a trio, Hear in Now, but it’s with this recent quartet and their eponymous debut that we get to fully bask in her compositional abilities. Her band features longtime collaborator Jason Roebke on bass, guitarist Mary Halvorson, and drummer Tomas Fujiwara, the latter a pair of fantastic New York musicians the cellist first worked with in Living by Lanterns, a bi-city octet led by Reed and local vibist Jason Adasiewicz. On the upcoming album Reid pays tribute to some elders: “Etoile” reaches back to the playing of violinist Stuff Smith with its languid sense of swing and long, elegant lines; “Billy Bang’s Bounce,” a salute to the late free-jazz violinist, is but one of many pieces where Reid and Halvorson’s interaction is both fiery and finessed. Still, while lyric, that effort is without serious drive—a quality served up with abandon on the ferocious “17 West.” The album also includes a couple of affecting improvisations, characterized by tender melancholy as the players sync up emotionally.