Sunday, June 28, 2015

Jack DeJohnette - Made in Chicago (ECM, 2015)

For the 2013 Chicago Jazz Festival, drummer Jack DeJohnette put together a supergroup of his colleagues who were founding members of the AACM collective. Joining him are Henry Threadgill on alto saxophone and flute, Roscoe Mitchell on sopranino, soprano and alto saxophones, recorder and flute, Muhal Richard Abrams on piano and Larry Gray on double bass and violoncello. The leadoff track, “Chant,” opens with piano and saxophone building and developing the music slowly. A second saxophone with a raw tone builds the tension further as the saxophones take flight and swirl around one another. The bass and drums support is very striking as is the piano, which moves in waves, laced with darker hues. The piano, bass and drum unit plumbs the very marrow of jazz, emerging into a wonderful section of fierce drumming and squalls of saxophone. This is an astonishing performance, with extraordinary intensity and powerful emotion. “Jack 5” then moves the music into more abstract territory, opening with subtle drums and piano, and the saxophones sliding in while keeping the wide open feel to the music. DeJohnette is always the consummate team player but he allows himself to step out here for a drum solo that hangs open in space and time, but is quite disciplined throughout. Some soft and lonely flute opens “This” as the music keeps the notions of open vistas at the forefront. There is a delicate and precise interlude for flute and bowed bass, and the leaders rolling drums keep the music from becoming two somber. Lush piano on “Museum of Time” harmonized horns and spirals of piano developing a floating, dreamlike sensation. Drums thunder underneath as the horns rise in power and lift the music skyward. There is an exploratory piano, bass and drum section, punctuated with the occasional flyby by one of the saxophones. Abrams is really the star here; his piano playing is brilliant and focused throughout. “Leave Don’t Go Away” has Abrams as the focal point again with his beautiful touch on display along with with skittish bass and drums. The trio gains speed at a remarkable rate before allowing the saxophones back into the game. “Ten Minutes” ends the performance with a completely improvised piece, which develops the life and excitement that the band showed in the opener. The saxophones, of different pitches really take flight here and move the music to a whole new level. Made In Chicago -

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