Dave Rempis (saxophone), Joshua Abrams (bass), Avreeayl Ra (drums), live, Chicago, 2013
Celebrating the birthdays of saxophonists Lester Young (August 27, 1909) and Charlie Parker (August 29, 1920), WKCR-FM(Columbia University) is featuring their music all day today (Young), all day tomorrow (Young and Parker), all day Saturday (Parker), and into Sunday morning (Parker).
Steve Dawson’s Funeral Bonsai Wedding (SD, vocals and guitar; Jason Adasiewicz, vibraphone; Jason Roebke, bass; Frank Rosaly, drums), “As Soon As I Walk In” (S. Dawson), 2014
Music and family have provided two of my life’s through lines. As little boys, my brother Don and I would play in the basement, listening, on the brightly lit juke box, to the Everly Brothers (“Wake Up, Little Susie”), and Johnny Horton (“The Battle of New Orleans”), and Gene Pitney (“The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance”). Soon we were out the door, hearing the Beatles at Comiskey Park, the Velvet Underground at the Kinetic Playground, and the MC5 in Lincoln Park. Still the beat goes on, undiminished by the passing years. Last week, for my sixty-second birthday, Don gave me (what else?) a record—the new album by this guy, Steve Dawson.
Klang (James Falzone, clarinet; Jason Adasiewicz, vibraphone; Jason Roebke, bass; Tim Daisy, drums), live (studio performance), 2009
art beat: the other day at the Art Institute of Chicago
Mark Rothko (1903-1970), Untitled (Purple, White, and Red), 1953
This painting and I have been getting together, several times a year, for decades. Admittedly, our relationship is rather one-sided. But, if anything, its indifference to me only deepens my feelings for it.
Mike Reed’s People, Places & Things (MR, drums; Jason Roebke, bass; Greg Ward, alto saxophone; Tim Haldeman, tenor saxophone), “Wilbur’s Tune,” live, Paris, 2010
Mike Reed’s Myth/Science Assembly (MR, drums; Tomas Fujiwara, drums; Josh Abrams, bass; Greg Ward, alto saxophone; Ingrid Laubrock, tenor saxophone; Taylor Ho Bynum, trumpet; Mary Halvorson, guitar; Tomeka Reid, cello; Jason Adasiewicz, vibraphone; Nick Butcher, electronics), live (rearranging a found Sun Ra fragment [excerpt]), Chicago (Chicago Jazz Festival), 2011
Mike Reed’s Loose Assembly (MR, drums; Josh Abrams, bass; Greg Ward, alto saxophone; Tomeka Reid, cello; Jason Adasiewicz, vibraphone), live (studio performance), Chicago, c. 2009
If other Chicago musicians are “busy,” what’s Mike Reed? In addition to leading various groups, he owns and operates Constellation, a performing arts center. Then there’s the Pitchfork Music Festival, which this summer will feature, over the course of three days, Beck, Giorgio Moroder, Kendrick Lamar, Grimes, et al. Hebooks and produces it.
When I was little, I would go into Chicago to hear live music—Peter, Paul & Mary, Kingston Trio, Beach Boys—with my father. Then, as a teenager, I’d go into the city with my brother Don to hear the Velvet Underground and the MC5, the Who, Tim Hardin and Tim Buckley, Muddy Waters. Now I make these trips with my sons. The other night, for instance, my older son Alex (now 24 and home for the holidays) and I went to the Hideout, a small club on Chicago’s north side, not far from where I once went with my father (now gone) and my brother (now hundreds of miles away), to hear this guy.
Jason Adasiewicz’s Rolldown (JA, vibraphone; Josh Berman, cornet; Aram Shelton, alto saxophone; Jason Roebke, bass; Frank Rosaly, drums), “Hide,” live, c. 2008
No, the human heart
But in my birthplace
The flowers still smell
The same as always.
—Ki no Tsurayuki (872-945; trans. Kenneth Rexroth)