Reviews that mention Tomeka Reid

August 27, 2020

Alexander Hawkins-Tomeka Reid

Shards and Constellations
Intakt Records CD 344

Ayman Fanous/Frances-Marie Uitti


Mode 316/AF-1

Expressing simpatico stimulus these cello-centred duos reach a similar apex of free-flowing inspiration, although arriving from contrasting starting points. Although both have worked with improvisers such as Bern Nix, Elliott Sharp, Mark Dresser and Agustí Fernández, American cellist Frances-Marie Uitti and Egyptian-American guitarist/ bouzouki player Ayman Fanous are more identified with New music and a variant of so-called World Music respectively, while American cellist Tomeka Reid and British pianist Alexander Hawkins are firmly in the Jazz-improvised music tradition, having both worked with Anthony Braxton, Hawkins with the likes of Louis Moholo-Moholo and Reid is a member of the AACM. MORE

March 14, 2020

Dave Douglas

Greenleaf Music GRE-CD-1074

Ig Hennenan/Jaimie Branch/Anne LaBerge

Dropping Stuff and other Folk Songs

Relative Pitch RPR 1094



Clean Feed CF 539 CD

Birgit Ulner & Benoit Cancoin

Electric Green

Blumlein No #


Possible Worlds

SOFA 575

Something in the Air: Expanding the Trumpet’s Role and Range Outwards

By Ken Waxman

With the trumpet’s traditional heraldic and heroic roles in most music, and construction which depends on only three valves, tubing and a bell, it would seem that distinctive brass innovation would be at a premium. Yet as the following discs demonstrate those who mix innovative concepts and technical sophistication can create notable exploratory sessions. MORE

April 2, 2018

Third Coast Ensemble

RogueArt ROG-0077

Conceived of as program music with back story and dialogue in English and/or French to go along with it, the strength of Wrecks, performed by a 16-piece Gallic-American ensemble lies in the compositions and orchestration of cornetist Rob Mazurek. Unlike some of the Chicago Underground linchpin’s other projects which gain shape from South American or electronic-Rock cadences, this CD is firmly in the Jazz tradition and the 10 selections highlight the solos as well as commanding affiliation from the players, who are either from Chicago or Brest, France. MORE

July 28, 2017

Jaimie Branch

Fly or Die
International Anthem Recording CO 0011

The Bridge Sessions 05

Escape Lane

The Bridge TBS05

Testament to Chicago’s reputation as an incubator of brass talent, which goes back as far Louis Armstrong apprenticeship there in the 1920s, are these CDs featuring trumpeters Jaimie Branch and Marquis Hill. Like the Windy City`s distinctive and somewhat chaotic transit system each has chosen an individual path of expression, and, perhaps inevitably, each has since decamped for New York.

Balancing rhythmic power, a muscular feel and a hint of repressed violence, which introduce Metal and Punk currents in her playing is Branch on Fly or Die, with it linked to the stellar backing of cellist Tomeka Reid, bassist Jason Ajemian and drummer Chad Taylor. There’s also occasional input from dual cornetists Ben Lamar Gay and Josh Berman and guitarist Matt Schneider. Although conversant with hip-hop textures, on his CD Marquis Hill’s approach is polished into a slick adaptation of moderato Bop, matched with an analogous adjustment from guitarist Jeff Parker, better-known for his Rock-inflected work. At the same time the seven improvisations are put together to measure the partnership between the two Americans and two European musicians, Belgian bassist Joachim Florent, who has been involved with electronic-oriented and notated projects; and French drummer Denis Fournier who has dabbled in World Music as well as playing with Jazzers such as bassist Bernard Santacruz and trumpeter Jean-Luc Cappozzo. MORE

February 18, 2017

NPR’s 11th Annual

Jazz Critics Poll Ballot

•Your name and primary affiliation(s)

Ken Waxman: The New York City Jazz Record; Whole Note

•Your choices for this year’s 10 best New Releases listed in descending order

1. Alexander Hawkins Trio Alexander Hawkins Music AH 1001

2. Anna Webber’s Simple Trio Binary Skirl Records 033

3. Michael Formanek Ensemble Kolossus The Distance ECM 2484

4. Artifacts Reed-Reid-Mitchell 482 Music 482-1093

5. Umlaut Big Band Euro Swing Vol. 2 Umlaut UMFR-CD18 MORE

December 26, 2016

Taylor Ho Bynum

Enter the Plustet
Firehouse 12 FH 12-04-01-025

Illegal Crowns

Illegal Crowns

RogueArt ROG-0066

Quietly and without excessive fanfare, Connecticut-based cornetist Taylor Ho Bynum has become one of this century’s most accomplished composers, improvisers, orchestrators and band leaders. Like a fighter who excels in whatever weight classes he trains for, Bynum has not only been involved in the macro sense, as one assistant conductor of some of Anthony Braxton’s major creations, but also in micro situations, where he manages to convey the breath of his ideas performing solo or in ensembles as small as duos, usually with drummer Tomas Fujiwara. MORE

June 1, 2016

Artist Feature

Mike Reed
By Ken Waxman

Chicago drummer Mike Reed, 42, is a realist – and a visionary. More than a dozen years ago he experienced his own epiphany about the (jazz) music business and his place in it while working part time as a bartender. “I was thinking about my future and how I didn’t want to still be a bartender when I was 39 … or 49,” he recalls. Reed who at that point had been involved with different bands in Chicago’s music ferment since his mid-‘90s return to the city after completing a degree in English and Psychology at the University of Dayton Ohio, was with cornetist Josh Berman, already co-curating a series of Sunday sessions at the Hungry Brain club. Earlier, while working for a marketing agency he had helped organize city concerts encouraging people to vote in the presidential election. Promotion seemed to be the appropriate career choice and within a year, he had partnered with Pitchfork, a Chicago-based online music magazine, to create the annual summer Pitchfork Music Festival which is still going strong. MORE

March 22, 2016

Guelph Jazz Festival

Guelph, Ontario
September 16-20, 2015

By Ken Waxman

Story telling of the verbal and instrumental variety was an important feature of this year’s Guelph Jazz Festival. Trying out new venues such as Heritage Hall (HH), Guelph’s first black church; and the soft-seated Guelph Little Theatre (GLT), the festival added a feeling of intimacy to its innovative programming.

Front and centre with tales, tall and otherwise were two Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (ACCM) members, multi-reedist Douglas Ewart and alto saxophonist Matana Roberts. Confirming the old adage that actions can speak louder than words were musicians as cerebrally intricate as Evan Parker’s soprano saxophone forays or as raucous as guitarist Marc Ribot’s Ceramic Dog trio. MORE

December 16, 2015


482 Music 482-1093

By Ken Waxman

Deciding to honour earlier members of Chicago’s Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (ACCM) during the organizations’ 50th anniversary year, flutist Nicole Mitchell, cellist Tomeka Reid and drummer Mike Reed – AACMers themselves – initiated this nonpareil program. Like musicians who miniaturize symphonic score for chamber music ensembles, the three dextrously re-imagine pieces composed for larger, usually saxophone-oriented bands, so that the vibrant swing of the pieces is expressed alongside their exploratory natures. MORE

November 21, 2015

Roscoe Mitchell

Celebrating Fred Anderson
Nessa ncd-37

Rob Reddy

Bechet: Our Contemporary

Reddy Music RED 003

Erik Friedlander


Skipstone SSR 22

Arrigo Cappelleti/Furio Di Castri/Bruce Ditmas

Homage to Paul Bley

Leo Records CD LR 732

Barry Harris

Plays Tadd Dameron

Xanadu Master Edition 906071

Something In The Air: Honoring More Than The Few Famous Jazz Greats

By Ken Waxman

With music like the other arts increasingly focused on known quantities, recorded salutes to jazz greats have almost become a subcategory of their own. If the world needs another record of Beethoven, Mozart, Elvis or Sinatra, then saluting Ellington, Trane or Miles one more time shouldn’t be a dilemma. But more erudite improvisers realize the music’s wider reach, and if they opt to honor innovators, as on the CDs here, choose lesser-known but equally important stylists. MORE

September 11, 2015


482 Music
By Ken Waxman

Maxims like: “you can take the boy out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of a boy” posses more than a kernel of truth if you substitute Chicago for country and the 482 Music label for the boy. After more than a decade in New York, label-owner Mike, Lintner says ruefully that many people still consider 482 a Chicago enterprise, even though the majority of the 90-odd releases it has put out since 1997 aren’t by Chicago artists. “It was the Document Chicago Series, our close relationships with Chicago media, and, I guess to some extent [drummer] Mike Reed, that gave the label the Chicago identity,” explains Lintner, who lived in Chicago during the first six years 482 existed. “A record label can be run from most anywhere,” he insists, “and New York’s not a bad place to do it.” MORE

March 18, 2015

The Urge Trio

Live in Toledo
Veto-records/exchange 010

Pandelis Karayorgis Quintet


Driff Records CD 1404

By Ken Waxman

Fayetteville, Arkansas’ gift to improvised music, saxophonist/clarinetist Keefe Jackson is gradually expanding his base from his new hometown of Chicago, where he leads several ensembles Both Live in Toledo and Afterimage offer unique displays of his talent. Skewed chamber-jazz, the first calculates how many varied tones can be sourced from the dual tenor saxophones and bass clarinets of Jackson and Swiss reedist Christoph Erb, with Tomeka Reid’s cello the single chordal back-up. Also recorded live, but a more formal date, Afterimage features four Windy City players – reedists Jackson and Dave Rempis, bassist Nate McBride and drummer Frank Rosaly – playing the compositions and arrangements of Boston pianist Pandelis Karayorgis. MORE

March 8, 2015

Tomeka Reid

Hairy Who & The Chicago Imagists
Corbett vs Dempsey CvD CD 017

By Ken Waxman

Distinctively titled with one of the names Chicago’s Imagist group of visual artists gave to their art shows in the 1960s, Windy City cellist Tomeka Reid creates a soundtrack that stands on its own without visuals. As minimalist in its orientation as the Imagists’ style reflected the Surrealists, Reid’s suite is performed with only her cello, Adam Vida’s percussion, plus very sporadic vocalizing from the composer and Kiara Lanier.

With the 19 tracks lasting from just over three minutes to slightly less than one, Reid has a limited timeframe in which to establish her themes that characterize individual painters. She does so decisively by utilizing unique pizzicato and arco sequences, often simultaneously plus multi-tracking her instrument. Vida’s input is just as crucial, since his smacks shuffles and clatters amplify all sorts of allusions and elements suggested by Reid’s musical portraits. The tunes are as apt to bring in gypsy violin allusions (on “Buttermilk Sky”) as jazzy finger-snapping (“The Enterprize Encounterized by the Spydar People”). Other sound pictures include pastoral pseudo chamber music; folkloric warbling from the vocalists; and sequences where cello twanging approximates raunchy near-Rockabilly. MORE

September 9, 2013


RogueArt ROG-0044

Nicole Mitchell

Engraved in the Wind

RogueArt R0G-0047

Nicole Mitchell’s Ice Crystal


Delmark DE 5004

By Ken Waxman

A major Jazz flautist, Nicole Mitchell recently traded her Chicago base for an academic post at University of California, Irvine. But as these sessions attest, the flautist, who during her two decades in the Windy City played in numerous bands and was an executive of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (ACCM), hasn’t let geography or academe slow down her recording schedule. These CDs feature her with quartet of Chicagoans, a mixed French-American quintet and most challengingly, solo. MORE

June 28, 2013

Roscoe Mitchell

Three Compositions
Rogueart ROG-0043

A rare glimpse of Roscoe Mitchell’s singular skills as an orchestrator and conductor, the fascination of Numbers is how well an 11-piece strings-and-horns ensemble can balance the saxophonist’s notated and improvisational tropes so that the core of the reedman’s creativity is maintained.

Recorded at a Sardinian Jazz festival, the program’s bets are hedged in two different ways. For a start the three compositions were either – in the case of “Quintet #1 for Eleven” and “Quintet #9 for Eleven” – transcribed from charts Mitchell created for his working combo, then rearranged to allow free sections in this score for the larger group, or in the third, based on game theory. Now titled “Cards for Orchestra”, but really “Memories of a Dying Parachutist”, the track is an aleatory invention, where each solo is based on six cards of musical instruction given to each player by the composer. The instructions can be used in any order and played at any tempo. MORE

April 16, 2013


RogueArt ROG-0044

AACM meets Amis français; Watershed – the band and the CD – maintains its individuality by mixing improvisations and compositions from both sides of the Atlantic in this live program. Representing France is the inventive partnership of bassist Bernard Santacruz and drummer Denis Fournier, who singly or together have worked with everyone from saxophonists Archie Shepp and Byard Lancaster to pianists Siegfried Kessler and Mal Waldron. Both self-taught, their colleagues from Chicago’s Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) are music school trained cellist Tomeka Reid, also a member of drummer Mike Reed’s Loose Assembly and flutist/piccolo player Nicole Mitchell, who has worked with a lengthening list of first-class improvisers. Added impetus comes from Madison’s Hanah Jon Taylor playing tenor and alto saxophones, flute and electronic valve instrument. He’s a lesser-known AACM veteran who was part of a long-standing trio with the late bassist Malachi Favors. MORE

March 15, 2013

Living By Lanterns

New Myth/Old Science
Cuneiform Records Rune 345

Mike Reed’s People Places & Things

Clean on the Corner

482 Music 482-1081

Drummer/bandleader Mike Reed has established himself as, among things, a deft interpreter of Chicago’s progressive music history. Nothing like a neo-con however, rather than imitation or emulation he and his People Places & Things create new variations of the city’s rich 1950s and 1960s Jazz heritage. On these exceptional sessions, he, and sidekicks, alto saxophonist Greg Ward – on both discs– and vibraphonist Jason Adasiewicz – on New Myth/Old Science – have taken the next step: integrated their own compositions with earlier ones. MORE

February 12, 2011

Mike Reed’s Loose Assembly

Empathetic Parts (with Roscoe Mitchell)
482 Music 482-1074

Exploding Star Orchestra

Stars Have Shapes

Delmark DE 595

By Ken Waxman

One of the standout players among Chicago’s recent burgeoning crop of improvised musicians, alto saxophonist Greg Ward is versatile enough to gig with groups ranging from the chamber-oriented International Contemporary Ensemble to those lead by saxophonist Ernest Dawkins and other members of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (ACCM). These CDs confirm his skills, although his role is more prominent in drummer Mike Reed’s Loose Assembly then as part of cornetist Rob Mazurek’s 14-piece Exploding Star Orchestra. His contributions to Reed’s Empathetic Parts are even more impressive, since he shares reed duties with saxophonist/flautist Roscoe Mitchell, more than 40 years his senior and an AACM founder. For his part, Mitchell is spontaneous enough to assimilate a performance strategy already tested with the existing five-piece band. MORE

October 16, 2009

Nicole Mitchell’s Black Earth Strings

Delmark DE 587

Indigo Trio


Rogueart Rog-0018

Having established herself as one of the primary flute voices in today’s improvised music, Chicago’s Nicole Mitchell has reached the point when she can record within six months of one another such dissimilar – yet equally engrossing – CDs. At the same time however, the sessions also pinpoint yet another evolution in the music as well as the challenge for the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) of which Mitchell is co-chair. MORE

October 16, 2009

Indigo Trio

Rogueart Rog-0018

Nicole Mitchell’s Black Earth Strings


Delmark DE 587

Having established herself as one of the primary flute voices in today’s improvised music, Chicago’s Nicole Mitchell has reached the point when she can record within six months of one another such dissimilar – yet equally engrossing – CDs. At the same time however, the sessions also pinpoint yet another evolution in the music as well as the challenge for the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) of which Mitchell is co-chair. MORE