Action Quintet | Fulton Street Collective | Jazz | Chicago Reader
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Russ Johnson

Russ Johnson

Action Quintet 

When: Wed., Feb. 18, 9 p.m. 2015
Price: $10 suggested donation, $5 suggested donation with student ID
Jazz, lofts, and art have gone together for decades, and Fulton Street Collective, a communally held loft space, continues the tradition with the Jazz Record Art Collective, a monthly event in which a local jazz musician is asked to perform a classic jazz album while a visual artist creates a new work. Its latest iteration, featuring Jackie McLean’s Action (Blue Note, 1964), looks especially promising. The album is an artifact of a moment when jazz was undergoing a seismic change; musicians who only a few years earlier had been considered cutting-edge firebrands risked looking like out-of-touch squares. McLean’s solution was to balance his own bristling compositions with more approachable, soulful pieces by trumpeter Charles Tolliver. Local saxophonist Dave Rempis has assembled a band for the event that’s well equipped both to handle the album’s original creative dilemma and to bring the music into the present. On Still Out to Lunch! (Enja, 2014), his own tribute to Eric Dolphy’s Out to Lunch (Blue Note, 1964), trumpeter Russ Johnson adds dimensions of Ellingtonian sensuality and au courant rhythmic fluidity without betraying the essential angularity of the original. Vibraphonist Jason Adasiewicz is currently the city’s most approachable avant-gardist, and the muscularity of his style should contrast intriguingly with the restraint that Bobby Hutcherson brought to the original session. And bassist Jason Roebke and drummer Mike Reed have already spent years mixing up mid-20th-century hard bop with contemporary techniques in the outfit People, Places & Things. The concert will double as an opening for a show by artist Ben Salus, who will paint a canvas while the ensemble plays. —Bill Meyer

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