Ted Sirota's Rebel Souls | Andy's Jazz Club | Jazz | Chicago Reader
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Ted Sirota's Rebel Souls 

When: Thu., Aug. 9, 9 p.m. 2012
Price: $10
This long-running Chicago-based ensemble makes a perfect case study for how difficult it is to maintain a top-flight working jazz band these days. Drummer Ted Sirota formed the Rebel Souls in the mid-90s, and since then nearly a dozen musicians have served extended stints; two of the five current members (guitarist Dave Miller and saxophonist Greg Ward) live in New York, and everyone is frequently occupied with other projects, including bands of their own. The group's current two-month weekly residency at Andy's, which runs through the end of August, ends a drought of regular local activity that's lasted years, but Sirota literally had to draw up a spreadsheet to keep track of the different lineups—across those nine gigs, there's only one exact repetition of personnel. This week Sirota will be joined by guitarist Mike Allemana, longtime saxophonist Geof Bradfield (the only other regular member on this gig), and bassist Clark Sommer. Most of the substitute players joining the Rebel Souls during this residency have a history with the group—Sommer used to be the regular bassist, for instance—and thus they know its vibrant book, which mixes the bandleader's melodically pithy originals with eclectic covers (the Clash, Caetano Veloso, Miriam Makeba). The Rebel Souls incorporate the rhythms of reggae, funk, and Afrobeat into their elastic postbop, and Sirota imbues his writing with a leftist spirit—which he usually makes plain with his between-song banter. —Peter Margasak



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