Trio Mokili | Constellation | Jazz | Chicago Reader
This is a past event.
When: Sat., Jan. 4, 9:30 p.m. 2014
Chicago guitarist Nathaniel Braddock founded the pan-African ensemble Occidental Brothers Dance Band International in 2006, and he’s certainly proved that he can get people dancing. Even as the group expanded, shifting its front-line focus to seasoned singers from Kenya, Ghana, and the Congo, his gorgeously limpid, liquid solos remained the primary source of instrumental melody and improvisation. Early last year Braddock put his improvisation front and center in a new group, Trio Mokili, with two of Chicago’s finest jazz players: drummer Makaya McCraven (also of the Occidental Brothers) and bassist Junius Paul. The nimble rhythm section gives Braddock a plush cushion for his solos with grooves derived from the music of Ethiopia, the Congo, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, and elsewhere (there’s even some American jazz, including a version of “Bosco” by saxophonist Marion Brown). No one will confuse Trio Mokili with a vintage African combo, but it isn’t trying to pass itself off as one—this is some of the most infectious, propulsive jazz-driven music in town. —Peter Margasak



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