Roscoe Mitchell & Mike Reed | Constellation | Jazz | Chicago Reader
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Roscoe Mitchell & Mike Reed Recommended Soundboard Image

When: Fri., April 19, 9:30 p.m. 2013
Price: $20, $15 in advance
Among the pieces Ken Vandermark played last month at the Green Mill with his Midwest School project was the Roscoe Mitchell staple “Nonaah.” Mitchell has presented it in many versions and contexts over the years, but few are as powerful as the 22-minute solo reading on the 1977 Nessa album of the same name (one of three renditions there). It’s a marvel of resourceful phrasing: each of the piece’s three sections takes a different brief, jagged line as its foundation, and the reedist wrings variations from them as though he’ll never run out. The first line grows in power throughout its 96 permutations, and each subtly tweaked or smeared note lands like a punch. Solo practice is of course merely a small part of Mitchell’s arsenal, and few players of his generation—he’s 72 years old—have demonstrated such consistent creativity for so long. On his latest recording, Duets With Tyshawn Sorey and Special Guest Hugh Ragin (Wide Hive), he and his partners carve out meticulous vignettes with quicksilver alacrity and uncork free-jazz sallies with fire-breathing fervor. Tonight he performs a rare solo set, followed by a series of duets with drummer Mike Reed—who featured Mitchell on Loose Assembly’s 2010 album of “collective arrangements,” Empathetic Parts (482 Music). —Peter Margasak



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