Charles Rumback Quintet | Hungry Brain | Jazz | Chicago Reader
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Charles Rumback

Charles Rumback

Jacob Hand

Charles Rumback Quintet 

When: Thu., Dec. 3, 9 p.m. 2015
Price: $10
Chicago drummer Charles Rumback has long been one of the city’s most versatile players, moving easily between jazz styles and gracefully bridging the gap between rock and experimental settings. Unfortunately, he’s routinely overlooked both here and outside the city. Yet so far this year he’s dropped three jazz-oriented albums: one as coleader alongside bassist John Tate and the others as a part of the collectives Stirrup and Whirlpool. (A duo recording with guitarist Ryley Walker will also surface next spring for Record Store Day.) And on the new In the New Year (Ears & Eyes) he makes an overdue return as a bandleader, convening a top-notch quintet with Tate, guitarist Jeff Parker, bass clarinetist Jason Stein, and alto saxophonist Caroline Davis. Rumback’s rumbling, post-Paul Motian playing—he adds heft, texture, and mood as much as timekeeping—is complemented by compositions as rich and dark as mahogany. His melodies rely on Tate to maintain a pulse within the simmering collision of independent lines; during the quiet storminess of “Right Reasons” or the turbulent tranquility of “Dragons in Denver” beautifully scarred yet lapidary lines coalesce and pull apart, demonstrating the group’s simpatico. The combination of the cool and muted tone of Parker’s guitar, the astringent bite of Davis’s serene alto, and the wonderfully rheumy edge of Stein’s swooping improvisations is something special—it’s what Rumback uses to bring his music to life. For tonight’s performance Parker will be replaced by Fred Lonberg-Holm, playing cello and tenor guitar.
— Peter Margasak


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