Mike Reed Celebrates Lost Chicago Jazz

  • Playlist
  • Download
  • Embed
    Embed <iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/120890996/121618979" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">
  • Transcript

It's a wonder Mike Reed has time to get behind his drum kit at all, let alone lead two of Chicago's best bands. When he's not booking indie-rock groups, dealing with agents, organizing travel or handling logistics for the city's world-famous Pitchfork Festival, Reed turns to his primary love, jazz.

Hear The Music

  • Playlist
  • Embed
    Embed <iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/120890996/120890630" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">
  • Playlist
  • Embed
    Embed <iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/120890996/120890700" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">
Mike Reed i

Mike Reed's People, Places & Things pays homage to forgotten or overlooked Chicago music from six decades ago. courtesy of the artist hide caption

itoggle caption courtesy of the artist
Mike Reed

Mike Reed's People, Places & Things pays homage to forgotten or overlooked Chicago music from six decades ago.

courtesy of the artist

While his quintet Loose Assembly plays heavily improvised contemporary music, his quartet People, Places & Things has always embraced a strong historical current.

When Reed started People, Places & Things, he was determined to pay homage to forgotten or overlooked Chicago music from six decades ago. And, indeed, the group's first album focused on tunes associated with the likes of bassist Wilbur Ware, saxophonist John Jenkins and drummer Wilbur Campbell — quintessential Chicago artists who played on classic recordings, yet never made it big. Their music was at once progressive and classic, embracing the hard-charging energy and complexity of bebop while retaining the city's trademark blues sound. Reed continues to honor that spirit with his new release, About Us.

"Big and Fine" features the big, brawny tenor sound of David Boykin, one of Chicago's most fiercely independent and sonically ferocious players. Yet, as intense and free as his music can get, he remains deeply connected to jazz's taproot. It's one of several pieces on the new album made with leading lights of Chicago's contemporary scene. After visiting the city's musical past on his debut, Reed uses the new album to focus on pieces written by group members and their guests. Another of those is written by guitarist Jeff Parker, a member of the instrumental rock band Tortoise.

From the start, Reed never wanted a repertoire band. He created dynamic new arrangements for the old nuggets that drew upon a contemporary vocabulary and emphasized intense group interplay among band members.

The record title — About Us — refers to the four members of People, Places & Things, but it also refers to Chicagoans, past and present. In the music, you can hear those generations coming together to look ahead.

Purchase Featured Music

About Us

Purchase Music

Purchase Featured Music

About Us
Mike Reed's People, Places & Things
482 Music

Your purchase helps support NPR Programming. How?




Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and Terms of Use. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.