A. Spencer Barefield, Ed Wilkerson, Harrison Bankhead, and Dushun Mosley | Jazz | Chicago Reader
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A. Spencer Barefield, Ed Wilkerson, Harrison Bankhead, and Dushun Mosley 

When: Fri., Aug. 28, 9:30 p.m. and Sat., Aug. 29, 9:30 p.m. 2009
Price: $15
Jazz historians like to write about the great geniuses, but it takes guys like A. Spencer Barefield to keep the music alive. The Detroit-based guitarist is director of the Creative Arts Collective—Detroit’s answer to the AACM, founded in 1978—and in that capacity he’s organized concert series in venues as prestigious as the Detroit Institute of Arts and as humble as his own home. Of course that’s not to say he isn’t a talented player—he’s made some fine records under his own name and contributed to some swell Roscoe Mitchell albums, most notably the immortal 1980 session Snurdy McGurdy and Her Dancin’ Shoes. Barefield often makes avant-garde forays, which draw as much from contemporary chamber music and African traditions as they do from jazz, but his latest album, 2004’s Soul Steppin’ Through the Fabulous Ruins (CAC/Xenogenesis), is solidly in the tradition. Riding a rhythm section that achieves an almost weightless sense of swing, Barefield rarely strays from conventional tonality, but on a pair of Thelonious Monk covers he displays not only a deep engagement with challenging structures but also a droll wit. For his first Chicago gig as a leader in 14 years, Barefield will front a quartet with three local veterans: saxophonist Edward Wilkerson Jr., bassist Harrison Bankhead, and drummer Dushun Mosley. —Bill Meyer

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