Wadada Leo Smith & John Lindberg | Constellation | Jazz | Chicago Reader
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click to enlarge John Lindberg and Wadada Leo Smith

John Lindberg and Wadada Leo Smith

Radcliffe Roye

Wadada Leo Smith & John Lindberg 

When: Fri., Oct. 28, 8:30 p.m. and Sat., Oct. 29, 8:30 p.m. 2016
Price: $20
Trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith is in the midst of a remarkable stretch of creative energy as he nears his 75th birthday, playing at the highest level in a growing number of potent contexts. His Golden Quintet just dropped the impressive new double CD America’s National Parks (Cuneiform), which contains meditations on six different U.S. parks and focuses on the spiritual dimension of natural spaces being preserved for future generations. But some of Smith’s most thrilling work comes from his duo projects. This spring he released A Cosmic Rhythm With Each Stroke (ECM), an introspective recording with pianist Vijay Iyer that captures Smith at his most lyric and tender—though beneath the fragile beauty of his lines smolders his trademark intensity. The title suite is a commission inspired by late Indian artist Nasreen Mohamedi, whose work often features line-based drawings that blend abstraction and architectural precision. Iyer used to play in Smith’s Golden Quartet along with bassist John Lindberg, whose long-running duo with the trumpeter was finally recorded on last year’s Celestial Weather (TUM). Opening with Smith’s heartfelt tribute to bassist Malachi Favors Maghostut—the longtime anchor of the Art Ensemble of Chicago and the original member of the Golden Quartet Lindberg replaced—the album mostly consists of the Celestial Weather Suite, an improvisatory opus in five parts, each named for a harrowing natural calamity (e.g., “Cyclone,” “Typhoon”). The pieces may lack the unalloyed power suggested by their titles, but they do underline the rapport between the two players. For these Chicago performances the pair will perform as a trio with drummer Mike Reed, who’s worked with Smith on multiple occasions in recent years.
— Peter Margasak
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