The original focus of our quartet was to investigate and reinvent some of the under-recorded, under-recognized aspects of the vibrant Chicago jazz scene circa 1954-60. On Proliferation, we brought ideas and new approaches to music of another time. This second offering is primarily About Us. (A forthcoming third document will bring us full circle; inviting principal players of that past to share in the ideas of today.)
To borrow from both Muhal Richard Abrams and Sun Ra (two of the most significant musicians in the Chicago legacy), numerology isn't lost in the underlying concept here. On Proliferation we created three pieces dedicated to places and people in Chicago of the 50's. On this record About Us, we've invited three important and influential members of Chicago's improvised music community to join in.
I was fortunate enough to perform with David Boykin in his group The Expanse, as well as an improvising trio with bassist Karl Seigfried (later turned quartet with flutist Nicole Mitchell). David may be the most innovative composer walking the streets of Chicago. His boundless energy and tone speak directly to the great Chicago tenor legacy. I'm forever grateful for my musical growth due to being part of his sonic explorations.
Jeb Bishop has established himself as one of the most respected trombonists in the jazz/improvised world. As one of the most ubiquitous figures on the Chicago scene, his big, punchy tone and instinctive sense of melody sets a high standard for a future generation of improvisers.
Although Jeff Parker is one of the most highly regarded musicians in Chicago, his greatness is more than just his musical prowess (I know that seems impossible). When anyone speaks of Jeff they first refer to his unique sound, which can traverse any terrain and is never mistaken. However, Jeff's true gift is an idea: the idea that you can operate in any genre, place, or setting without being mistaken for anything other than your own "sound."
I hope that this second of three records takes us closer to the idea of our own "sound."