Solstice Drum Quartet | Constellation | Jazz | Chicago Reader
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click to enlarge Hamid Drake & Michael Zerang

Hamid Drake & Michael Zerang

Courtesy the artist

Solstice Drum Quartet Recommended Soundboard

When: Thu., Dec. 22, 8:30 p.m. 2016
Price: $15, $10 in advance
For 26 years local percussionists Hamid Drake and Michael Zerang have convened before the dawn of the year’s shortest day to welcome the winter solstice. They begin each such concert in candlelight, using their kits and a world’s worth of hand drums and gongs to trade rhythms and sounds until the sun’s light spills into the room. The two men originally intended their music to provide a nondenominational space where people who might not celebrate the season in any other fashion could gather to mark the passing of time, and for many the sunrise concerts—most years three in total—have become a tradition in themselves. But for those who follow Drake and Zerang’s other creative endeavors, the evening concerts they schedule around the residency provide an opportunity to hear what else the two master improvisers have been up to. On Wednesday Zerang will play with Sam Shalabi, an oud and guitar player who splits his time between Montreal and Cairo. They’ve toured Europe and the Mediterranean this year as members of the pan-Middle Eastern electric jazz ensemble Karkhana, but this is their first duo performance. Drake, meanwhile, will lead a band composed of longtime associates Ari Brown on reeds, Jason Adasiewicz on vibes, and Joshua Abrams on bass. On Thursday night the sunrise duo will expand to a quartet with drummers Mike Reed and Avreeayl Ra, which will play one set of structured improvisations and another, more open set that may welcome other guests.
— Bill Meyer



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