Arts Center Jazz Ensemble with Charlie Haden | Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Arts Center Jazz Ensemble with Charlie Haden 

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ARTS CENTER JAZZ ENSEMBLE WITH CHARLIE HADEN

Out at the College of DuPage, the decade-old Arts Center Jazz Ensemble gives the suburbs their very own jazz repertory company. Led by trumpeter and faculty member Tom Tallman, the band consists of lesser-known area jazz musicians fully capable of interpreting a wide range of historical styles, but this concert could almost stand on the strength of its program alone. Titled "The Face of the Bass," it offers big-band music recorded by two of the most influential bass faces in modern jazz history: the late Jaco Pastorius, known best for his work with Weather Report in the 1970s; and the very-much-with-us Charlie Haden, whose Quartet West has pushed his fame beyond what he enjoyed when he anchored bands led by Ornette Coleman (in the 60s) and Keith Jarrett (in the 70s). Haden will lead the Ensemble for the second half of the concert, lending his stately and often lugubrious solos to music originally recorded by his Liberation Music Orchestra. With the sporadically recurring LMO--its three recordings span the years 1969-1993--Haden established both his credentials as a bandleader and his politics: the repertoire comprises protest songs and revolution music from around the globe (but mostly Latin America), as arranged by the earthy sorceress Carla Bley. These simple songs make a perfect setting for Haden, whose solos combine the roundest of tones with an unhurried manipulation of the most basic improvisational elements. That's the opposite of the approach taken by Pastorius, whose flashy style and groundbreaking technique stunned the music world during his meteoric career. Chicago bassist Hank Horton--using a fretless electric bass guitar, the instrument Pastorius popularized--will solo on the swingy, catchy, but rather flat big-band music Pastorius wrote in the 80s when, despite his infinitely more complicated solo style, his arrangements consisted of primary colors and blocks of sound. The excellent saxophonist Mark Colby will also appear--performing in a quartet that will play some of the compositions Pastorius wrote for Weather Report--as will vocalist Janice Borla. Friday, 8 PM, College of DuPage Arts Center, 22nd and Park, Glen Ellyn; 630-942-4000. NEIL TESSER

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Uncredited photo of Arts Center Ensemble and photo of Charlie Haden by Carol Friedman.

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