Branford Marsalis Quartet, Ray Anderson Pocket Brass | Symphony Center | Jazz | Chicago Reader
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Branford Marsalis Quartet, Ray Anderson Pocket Brass All Ages Recommended Soundboard

When: Fri., Jan. 31, 8 p.m. 2014
Price: $28-$60
In 2002 trombonist and Chicago native Ray Anderson premiered the commissioned piece “Home” at the Chicago Jazz Festival, and in 2012 it finally turned up on an album (released by Intuition Records), renamed “Sweet Chicago Suite” and performed by his Pocket Brass Band. A scrappy, agile quartet formed in the early 90s, the Pocket Brass Band projects a lot more sound and contrapuntal zip than you’d expect from a group this size, transposing the New Orleans second-line tradition into the funk era and beyond. Anderson intended the six-part suite to reflect the music he heard growing up in Chicago—whether the intense swagger of James Brown on “High School” or the raucous collective improvisation and extended techniques of the AACM on “Magnificent Mistifiyo.” Anderson ranks among the trombone’s most versatile practitioners—he’s played compositionally rigorous avant-garde jazz alongside Anthony Braxton just as fluently as he’s dug into Crescent City grooves with his Alligatory Band—and the crowd-pleasing but adventurous Pocket Brass Band might best represent his range. On Sweet Chicago Suite Anderson, sousaphone player Matt Perrine, and trumpeter Lew Soloff play wild, intersecting lines, veering between lockstep arrangements and blustery freedom. Tireless and dazzlingly precise drummer Bobby Previte powers the music with deep blues grooves, skittery high-velocity swing, or huge backbeats, all the while dropping in sharp displacements and propulsive accents. For tonight’s performance the terrific James Zollar takes Soloff’s place on trumpet. —Peter Margasak The Branford Marsalis Quartet headlines.



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