Dana Hall’s Black Fire | Andy's Jazz Club | Jazz | Chicago Reader
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click to enlarge Dana Hall

Dana Hall

Dana Hall’s Black Fire 

When: Tue., Dec. 23, 9:30 & 11:30 p.m. and Tue., Dec. 30, 9:30 & 11:30 p.m. 2014
Drummer and bandleader Dana Hall has demonstrated a sharp conceptual mind in recent years as he’s revisited the work of some of his key influences through a modern lens. At this year’s Hyde Park Jazz Festival he debuted a new project, Black Ark Movement, which looks at the distinctive writing of the brilliant clarinetist John Carter. And it was at that same fest in 2012 that he premiered his group Black Fire, named after a classic 1964 album by the great pianist and composer Andrew Hill. The following year Hall expanded Black Fire’s original lineup—consisting of reedist Geof Bradfield, vibist Justin Thomas, and bassist Clark Sommers—to an octet for a Millennium Park concert, and not only has he kept the core quartet together, leading it in frequent extended engagements at Andy’s, but he’s expanded the repertoire as well. Hill’s knotty themes—deftly and imaginatively rearranged by Hall—continue to dominate the group’s book, but now pieces by the pianist’s like-minded contemporaries (including Bobby Hutcherson, Thelonious Monk, and Ornette Coleman) have entered the fold, in addition to original pieces by Hall. Black Fire hopes to get into the studio in the next year. —Peter Margasak

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