Dave Burrell | Constellation | Jazz | Chicago Reader
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Dave Burrell

Dave Burrell

Shawn Brackbill

Dave Burrell 

When: Fri., Aug. 7, 8:30 p.m. 2015
Price: $15, $12 in advance
Philadelphia-based pianist and composer Dave Burrell is one of the most unique musicians to emerge from the jazz avant-garde of the 60s. Burrell grew up on bebop, but made his name playing free jazz, collaborating with saxophonists like Marion Brown, Archie Shepp, and David Murray. Eventually he fell in love with the music of jazz pioneer Jelly Roll Morton and the sound of stride, and since the 70s he’s been composing jazz operas (often in collaboration with his wife, writer Monika Larsson). His latest project is a five-suite piece that examines the Civil War, and last year he released the third section as an album of duets with trombonist Steve Swell called Turning Point (No Business). As is his way, the pieces are rich in historical allusion and quotation: the opener “One Nation” includes phrases from “Yankee Doodle,” and “Sound Off” employs a military cadence that signals patriotism and division from the get-go. Compositionally the music veers away from jazz, though the interaction between the pianist and trombonist still evinces the genre’s characteristic interplay. For this rare Chicago performance—Burrell’s first since 2003—he’ll lead a fine trio with bassist Harrison Bankhead and drummer Andrew Cyrille. —Peter Margasak

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