This is a past event.

Wadada Leo Smith, Douglas Ewart, and Mike Reed 

When: Fri., Feb. 28, 9:30 p.m. and Sat., March 1, 9:30 p.m. 2014
Price: $15
The last time Los Angeles-based trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith came to town, he brought a jazz combo and a string quartet, and the excerpts they played from Ten Freedom Summers, his expansive and wide-ranging reflection upon America’s civil-rights struggle, carried to the far end of Pritzker Pavilion. That three-section, 19-piece suite is just as grand and ambitious as it sounds—it was a finalist for the 2013 Pulitzer Prize—but Smith can play even more affecting music in relatively modest settings, such as this trio with two midwesterners. Smith and Minneapolis multi-instrumentalist Douglas Ewart (woodwinds, didgeridoo, electronics) have in common the ability to make a few richly textured notes say more than many musicians can with a whole night of busy playing. They also share a penchant for using the music of other cultures to infuse their improvisations with a ceremonial air. Chicago drummer Mike Reed, who’s young enough to be either man’s son (Smith is 72, Ewart five years his junior), doesn’t make a similar attempt to transcend his jazz roots—his brisk playing grounds and propels his bandmates’ sparse explorations, making for music that speaks equally to mind, spirit, and body. —Bill Meyer


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