General Info About the Man like Mr. Reed
Welcome to the Mike Reed UK Fan Page.
As lovers of arts we want to make some noise about Mike Reed, a fabulous man on the scene. Not only is he highly skilled, but in his work with and in the genre he is extremely innovative, and very inspiring. You can tell that Mike Reed cares not only for his work, but for the people, and for the community. Taking on new methods and projects as well as keeping the old school alive. He is the driving force behind many big projects and groups to keep informing and educating us on the every so infinite land.
Mike Reed grew up in Evanston, and after that he went away to school at the University of Dayton. For him the schooling was a waste of time. When describing his experience when coming to Chicago from a little town like Dayton, he says that you never really realise how unprepared you are until you find yourself in that situation. After arriving to Chicago he worked with a wide range of jobs in order to support himself. Part time office manager, painting houses, building maintenance jobs, working as a janitor, helping people move, even babysitting. Anything you could imagine, this guy has done as a job. With time he also started bar tending, and be able to free up the time he needed to practice, experiment and work on his music.
Richie, a supporter of the site from Bristol locksmiths, has been playing for over 15 years now and has been a keen lover of constructing his own work. ” Yes, you know, I like all genres of but my real favorites are the real sounds. If I could name one of my best artists or producers I would be here for a long time because I think there are some many to choose from. There are many ways to get good on the bass but the most important thing is lots and lots of practise. I have spent years trying to improve and I have to say that Reed’s influence on the genre is a great help and he has really made a fantastic contribution. If you don’t know his stuff then you should really have a good listen to see what you ca learn and begin to appreciate some great talent”
Mike Reed does describe how he felt that everyone was trying to be what he wants to be, but he also saw the realisation in many others that they can’t really find themselves in it. But this is something that is equally arguable for life itself, almost nobody can really fit into it. What then happens when you find friends, musicians and people, who don’t actually fit into it. They have their own ideas, their own will, and their own way to live.
“Since I was learning to play the drums I have always followed Mike’s work and he has been a wonderful inspiration for every aspect of my work as a semi-professional drummer. ” Richard Everett, Drummer, Liverpool.
Tips on drumming
Here at the Mike Reed fan page, of course we hare big fans of drumming, drummers and drums. So we thought we’d share some tips from our side, and hope that they will be at least a little bit useful or interesting to you.
Firstly if you are a drummer, and you need to get the dust of the hard to reach places simply to small to clean with your hands it’s a very good tip to get a can of compressed air. So if you have some dust in a place you simply cannot reach, just grab for the can, aim and let the shiny surface reemerge. Secondly, if you are a drummer we don’t need to tell you this, but if you are learning it’s a very good idea to get some input from styles which you are not used to. There are many different rhythms in the world, and practicing different things, or even listening to different things will be very educational and hopefully interesting and fun as well.
A little bit more about the home of Mike Reed – Chicago
Chicago, as one of the biggest cities in the United States with 2.7 million inhabitants, and that alone will make it a very interesting place. As with great mass of people, comes great mass of influences and ideas in every genre. Not the least speaking about music to of course. In 1837 Chicago was incorporated as a city, and the following century it would experience a very high level of growth.
Today, in its current size, Chicago has become a home of finance, commerce, a place of industry and technology, a hub for music and much more. With monumental architecture in many places, and countless little places and subcultures to explore it’s truly a diverse place. This diversity is incorporated in the music scene, which is most famous for its blues, jazz, soul and the contemporary scene for these. If you are a sports fan, it might be interesting to know as well that Chicago has a sports team in every major professional league today as well.
On the making of People, Places and Things
The album which has been critically acclaimed, and said to have risen out from Chicago’s jazz and improvisation scene. When speaking about this album Mike Reed himself made comments on time being an issue. There are in the current days few musicians who have time to spare for side projects. Himself at the time of making this video was also working on the Umbrella music and the Pitchfork music festival, meaning of course that Mike too was a busy bee at this period of time.
However there was no lack in dedication, and the album got done without any negative influence of the busy lives of all those who were involved.
Mike Reed also stated with this album that he was never disappointed with the boundless, yet humanistic abilities of Taborn, who was also part of this collaboration. Other names involved were Tim Berne, James Carter, and Chris Potter. All of which are highly talented and interesting musicians. Of course Mike is our favorite here, and for us. Mike Reed is the driving force behind many innovative, cultural and rewarding projects in the Chicago jazz music scene.
Mike Reed and the Brilliant Corners Of Popular Amusements festival
With a will to create an arts and culture experience different to the mainstream, the Brilliant Corners Of Poplar Amusements Festival project took off. At this stage Mike Reed was already directing the Pitchfork Music Festival, and he was in the loop of action. Mike himself describes the Brilliant Corners Of Popular Amusements Festival as a variety show of some sort. A festival, or maybe rather a carnival like scenery which includes not only music, but performances of different kinds like circus acts, arts, crafting fairs, food culture and even a farmer’s market. He describes it as a family friendly and relaxed type of fairground festival.
The initial idea was the idea of bringing something different to the table. Creating something different from the common regular shows, where people can remember a specific feeling and experience which can bring them value for years to come. Something they can see and experience with their families, their friends or their lovers.
And although a lover of music, there are many creative things, like the circus acts, the performances and the crafting fairs, which are also highly interesting and something which Mike is a big advocate for including in such an experience.
Suggestions from Mike Reed
If you are sitting online and looking for something nice to watch or listen to, it would perhaps be a nice idea to take some of Mike Reed predicted recommendations for the the 2014 Chicago jazz festival. His recommendations were made before the festival had taken place as thing as things to look out for and try to catch himself. Luckily now with the information technology we can no try and catch them though someone’s video recording in retrospect.
Mike Reed pointed out that his suggestions were for people just getting into jazz, or people who are after some fresh suggestions.
Firstly recommended there is George Freeman/Mike Allemana quartet performance on the Friday of the festival, and Mike Reed points out George as a Chicago legend. Secondly there was Cecile McLornin Salvant on performance on the Sunday, Mike Reed’s recommendation for her was accompanied with comments stating Cecile as the hottest new singer to emerge in the past decade. So feel free to have a look around the internet and see if you can catch any of these wonderful performances and see what you think.
Mike Reed’s involvement in the Pitchfork Music Festival
For those of you who did not know, Mike Reed is heavily involved in the organisation of this massive festival, which is head in the Chicago every year. The festival started in 2006, and in its last run this year, it hosted a rough estimate of 50 000 people, from 26 different countries and different states in the US. It’s a big 3 day gathering which presents over 40 bands.
This festival is, as Mike Reed, known for its cradling of new artists, and new emerging music. Mike Reed is involved with organising permits, contracts, solicit bands and all the rest which is needed to put together an event of this magnitude. Although the festival has grown since it first started, it’s still for a specific audience, and it keeps the music and the feeling right, and the union though music in its most optimal way. So look out for the 2015 if this is something that sounds interesting to you.
Mike Reed, In pursuit of Magic
The title of this album is also a bit of expression of what we see in our idol Mike Reed. When seen from the outside, it’s hard to argue with it, should the album name be seen as a statement. If anyone is pursuing that magic, it’s most definitely Mike Reed. We can see this not only in his music, and his work as a creative artist, but in his enthusiasm in building a community and always searching for new ventures and possibilities.
In pursuit of Magic, is an album released with Roscoe Mitchell in this year. The album is a live recording of Roscoe Mitchell and Mike Reed, when performing at the Constellation in Chicago the 19th of April last year, 2013. The album was mastered at All City Mastering, and with only two songs, or sound landscape, it’s a perfect hour of a musical journey made with two legends. This album of course comes with our highest recommendations for anyone!
An attempt to describe Mike Reed music in words
When you listen to Mike Reed, and most of the music he produces within the free jazz, and more old school cult genres you find that it’s a very intelligent type of music. In the atmosphere there is always a sense of intimate and sophisticated sounds, giving rise to both thought and feeling. With unrelenting precision complex and intense music scopes are formed, and although at times there is a sense of narrative for the most it’s more a timeless sense of uncompromising and organic development of the current moment.
Of course everyone has their own experiences when it comes to listening to music, but hopefully the above paragraph has given you some idea of what to expect if you’ve never heard any music of this highly intellectual and talented man.
In the Context of…. Mike Reed
So just wanted to give a little bit of time to mention this album by Mike Reed which was released almost a decade ago, well the album itself was released in 2006, however as we understand it was recorded in 2004. The album is a modern free jazz style, and a very good listen at home as well as in the car. Listening to the album, it feels very much like a journey of sound, and your own thoughts and mood follow along in this journey. We here at the fan club would describe it as quite an intimate album, for the majority of it it’s a very organic sound, which is relaxing to follow, but it can be quite intense, especially if you don’t listen to much free jazz normally.
However it’s a wonderful listen if haven’t yet, go out and get yourself a copy of Mike Reed’s “In the context of” from 2006, sit yourself down on the sofa, and take this journey of sound, we highly recommend it!
Mike Reed and Umbrella Music
For those of you who don’t know, Mike Reed is heavily involved with the Umbrella Music and the Umbrella Music Festival. When describing what they are all about Mike Reed says that it’s a collective of musicians and other creative individuals of different talents. Such as presenters, who put on shows in a big variety of different places and venues across the Chicago night life and music scene. It spawned from a couple of people getting together discussing ideas, creative approaches and much more that these individuals were actively doing, just not doing together in collaboration. From the musicians point of view, as Mike puts it, there was much inspiration to be taken, and diversity and variety was a major factor. You can not only play in one place, especially not if you want to make a living as a musician in Chicago.
So the Umbrella music formed, and later to follow came the Umbrella music Festival which Mike Reed still is heavily involved with, not only as a musician, but in organising, creative direction and input of his own new ideas.
Mike Reed’s New Quartet Workshop!!
I think all our hearts jumped a little in excitement over this new project of Mike’s. The outlines of this project, called SOUND OF CITY workshop, who contains 4 highly talented musicians: Cameron Pfiffner, Nick Mazzarella, Joshua Abrams & Mike Reed, is as follows:
This new quartet have taken on the challenge of performing music created in Chicago over the last 15 years. In making the workshop there will be online material, and the project aims to start archiving the current Chicago music in the improvisational and jazz genre.
The workshop is open to experienced musicians and are inviting improvisational performers and creative practitioners of jazz and improvisational music. So if you fit the profile, hurry to Chicago it takes place first on Wednesday the 10th September.
And the last thing, another one of the reasons to us being such great fans of Mike Reed, this workshop is free for all participants, just make sure you check it up and that you are there on time!
A bit more about The Tree house Project and The Picture Show!
As mentioned earlier, Mike Reed was involved with a group of musicians known as The Tree house project, and the album they produced is called The Picture Show. This project is somewhat evidential to that there is a new jazz era spreading in 21st century Chicago.
This concept album is very unique, and listening to it, just for the experience even if it’s not completely in line with your own type of music style, is definitely something that we here at the Mike Reed fan page recommends to anyone. Of course if possible, this experience is best with the attached pictures of this cross contemporary and collaborative project.
Seeing Mike Reed involved with something like this also more shows his willingness to collaborate, and work with different styles and different methods. This too is something we respect in Mike Reed, and something that we want to share and show to his other fans. So if you haven’t yet, see if you can get a hold of this interesting piece consisting of this interaction between sound and imagery, we highly recommend it!
Following Mike Reed online
So when it comes to our biggest favorite musician Mike Reed, we’d just like to let you know that there are many different online channels which are active and gets updated with the latest. We are happy to recommend and suggest some good ones to you, that we make regular use of.
Starting with one of the bigger social media platforms out there, of course finding Mike on facebook will give you the latest stuff, and you can find out exactly what Mike is up to, what project he is involved in and what is upcoming, in terms of gigs and live music. You can also find Mike on various other social media sites like linked in, twitter etc. But the facebook page for People places and things is the one which is most up to date, and always active.
If you are interested in following the wider jazz news in Chicago, we can also recommend you go to Chicago jazz calendar, which will summarise all big, and many small more intimate jazz performances.
When did Jazz music start?
When it comes to trying to place the where jazz music began, it’s not an easy task, and there are many different views and opinions out there. But if you bring it to the more general scope of things, the culture, and the music started taking shape at the very start of the 20th century. Although the oldest jazz recording you can find were not made until almost 2 decades later.
If one is to believe the claims of those who were listening at the time, then jazz music started at the turn of the century, however what is has been recorded and stated from the ear witnesses is often vague, and vary widely from person to person, so the origin of jazz remains somewhat of a mystery, at least in the time when it really started. There is one early jazz band, fairly famous, called Buddy Bolden’s band, however they have no recorded sounds, and again, it’s hard to find tangible proof. But believing it happened during the time entering a new century, is somewhat romantic and something which we are happy to leave a bit open in interpretation.
We want to give you a little information on the theory of jazz, as we here believe that you can never know too much. And the more you know the better you will become, not only as a musician, but as a listener as well. So jazz harmony refers to the theory and practice of how jazz music is built up. When it comes to jazz, more often than not the music tends to favor progression and use scales of the ninth, eleventh and thirtieth chords.
The arrangement is often vertical between the major and minor scales. This may be Greek to you, however if you sometime catch yourself drawing upon this, you may find that you recognize it in listening. But of course this is only a guideline, and each individual musician has their own way of building their jazz music. And as with any genre of music, there are infinite possibilities, and every song, sound and theory is of course also different!
Crowd funding idea for Mike Reed!
When it comes to funding any type of artistic project, especially in the area of music, which is a flooded market. A market where the value of music and the work put in by the musicians does not reflect the wage of the artist at hand.
It can be difficult to get things rolling.This is why we offer the idea of crowd funding to the public, not only for the benefit of Mike Reed, and us, as his fans, but to the benefit of musicians all over the world. So in raising awareness of this idea, meaning basically that the artist would propose the project at hand, and those who are interested in the project donate for the benefit of the project. Say for instance the recording of a new album, where a musician for instance may need time in a studio to record, funds for marketing and PR etc. This way of funding artistic and musical projects is something we support, and we urge our followers to keep an eye out for any projects which our favourite Mike Reed would need some financial assistance with.
Exploring the jazz genres
As you may or may not know, the jazz genre is a vast and widely spread one where countless of different styles of jazz has derived. We thought we would dedicate a few words to a couple of genres you might be interested in if you are a fan of Mike Reed.
The bebop blues is a commonly loved genre which we would recommend to anyone who likes the music of Mike Reed, then there is also the blues funk, which to some may be known as Funk Jazz which is one of our favourites here. Lastly we would like to offer our recommendations towards boogie woogie, maybe not as close in style, so it’s different, but still amazingly good. So please have a look around and enjoy your time exploring the genres of jazz, hopefully we’ll be giving some more recommendations shortly as sharing music is always something we do with pleasure, for pleasure.
Mike Reed’s Tree house Project and The Picture Show
We would like to give you some information on the Tree house Project, as it was called, which Mike Reed was involved with in 2002. This is partially an interdisciplinary projects, and the tunes are collected on a 3 CD set, which shows that music and art is something that can blend seamlessly together.
The Tree house Project is a turn on The Picture show, which has one specific picture attached to each tune on the album. This shows a story, from which The Tree house project takes off. In other words the music reflects the picture, and in this project, of course the music goes on in improvisation, however in this improvisation the theme of the picture also extends and it leads into an interesting concept. And this is something which brings a different set of associations to mind than most usual. It’s a very interesting project, and something that we will speak more about at a different time, just thought it was worth a mention as something outside of the ordinary which Mike Reed has been involved with. Thanks to Plumbers Bristol Nigel for supporting the website.
Performing with the legends
Another testament to the skill, dedication and the love for jazz that it’s clear that Mike Reed holds, are the many legendary musicians he has performed with. Having been active and involved in the musical jazz scenery of Chicago for soon 2 decades he has had many regular performances with both local legends and artists from other parts of the world. If you are familiar with the Chicago jazz scene then you must know of names like Fred Anderson, Nicole Mitchell, Josh Abrams, Rob Mazurek, David Boykin, Jeff Parker and many more. All of which Mike has shared a stage with.
And this is before even mentioning the acclaimed groups which are under the direction of Mike Reed himself, Loose Assembly and People, Places & Things. However you know as well as we do, that if you are looking to find the stature of a musician, all you need to do is listen, and catch a performance if you have the opportunity.
Challenges of Jazz
Many say that jazz is the hardest style of music to play. And we decided to discuss this question if this is true whilst listening to a Mike Reed tune, the one we went for was the live performance at the Chicago Jazz festival in 2010, performed on the 4th of September. The rhythm of course very complex, and we were as impressed as ever by the performance of Mike Reed and the Myth Science Assembly. Working with difficult mixed scales, creating a great sound from the interaction between the musicians. With regards to if it’s the hardest style to play, we believe it might be a matter of definition, as for instance it’s often not fast to the ear. And for instance in other fast genres like metal music, the drumming and rhythm is extremely complex and extremely fast, requiring speed and precision, but when it comes to jazz, you also require the feeling. Something that Mike Reed definitely brings every time. So it may not be the technically hardest due to the speed, but it is by far the most intricate interplay between people, sound and musicality.
” I’ve heard all of his work and I can only say that when I’m out working in the van that it’s all I listen to!” MG, working as a locksmith Sheffield.
Living by Lanterns, by Mike Reed
In Chicago a project was set up by Mike reed, in which he invited several musicians from different places to work on this project with. The project is called living by lanterns features Jason Adasiewicz as well as Mike Reed. They are working with material based on rare Sun Ra sounds and tunes, not so commonly met with in public. In this they make their own arrangements and put their own twist on the sound. Making it sound fresh, and very much with the times. Mike reed is seemingly always involved with some sort of project, and he is invaluable when it comes to getting people together and working for the same passion. A man by the name of John Corbett, as the story goes, uncovered a bunch of tapes, writings and artwork from at the Sun Ra school. This as it was going to be discarded as rubbish. The recordings that were made are like rehearsal tapes, and they have never before been published or seen. So a thank you to Mike Reed, for bringing us more interesting and unrevealed treasures of Chicago.
Why we love the Jazz and Mike Reed
We would like to take a moment to let you know what we find enjoyable and interesting about jazz, which seems to be in line with what many lovers of this green of music would agree on.
First and foremost jazz is one of the best and foremost interesting genes of music in our view. The reason being that the variety and the instantaneous creativity and skill of the musicians creates something which is perceived in the moment of creation. It’s a wonderful feeling which will always be transported and shared amongst us jazz lovers. The rhythm, which our dear Mike Reed always keeps interesting and changing, just as the melodies and rhythm of the melodies. This unset and unpredictable musical piece brings a feeling of creativity and impulsiveness. We also see this as a form of freedom, a freedom of expression.
By many jazz is called music for thinkers. It’s often very complex, and rich. Jazz music for us is engulfed in soul and full of life. We see jazz, and Mike reed very inspiring, and the sounds created are highly stimulating for the body and soul.
If you ever go to Chicago
If you should ever decide to go to Chicago, make sure to do so when Mike Reed has a gig scheduled of course, however as you may already know. The jazz scene in Chicago is a rich one, and you will be able to find many different styles and types of jazz, some of which you may like, and some not so much. If you do ever find yourself going there, one of the places that’s been raved and ranted about much in the past is The Green Mill. So if there is time and space in your journey, make sure to pay a visit to this venue when there is something going on.
The Green Mill: A legendary jazz cocktail lounge which is sure to provide a versatile night. With a rumba room upstairs, a dance floor downstairs and a very memorable windmill on the roof there is not much more you can ask for. And they when there is a night on, they are always keeping it running until the early hours of the morning.
Another venue which deserves a quick mention here is The Elastic Arts Foundation. This venue is under the umbrella music series, and prides itself in being a non commercial venue, for non commercial jazz music. Keeping it close to the music, and close to the heart, is something which they put in practice perfectly here.
Lastly, we would also like to mention The Hungry Brain. Also involved with Umbrella music you are sure to be able to catch Mike Reed himself here at times. This venue is famous for being consistent and always showcasing high quality music. This is also where the Transmission series is organised, with which as stated before, Mike Reed is involved with as a festival producer.
When the time comes, these are some good recommendations for finding excellent music in Chicago, but it’s just a pinch of sand on a beach in the vast and versatile music scene that Chicago is. So pack your bag up, bring your ears, get ready, and make sure you give yourself enough time to explore this gem of a city.
Loving the Rhythm, respect to the makers
There are of course many reasons why we like, and respect Mike Reed as a musician. But there is also what he does, which is play music, create rhythm and feeling for people. Rhythms are enjoyable no matter what age you are, and no matter what type of rhythm it may be. Simple or complex, it’s something that awakens something within every person. It’s still a mystery today what happens in the brain when we listen to music, but it is a stimulation of some sort, and both you and I know, like the rest, that music makes us feel something. Mike Reed is a man which we hold in high regards, and someone who deserves respect for the his dedication, but also for his talent. His musical talent, although built though many years of practice, experience and love, he also has that little extra which you simply can’t learn. You just have to born with. So hat’s off to you Mr Reed, and thank you for providing us with such pleasurable musical experiences.
Our sources inform us that Mike Reed, will later this year be releasing a duo album with Chicago legend saxist Roscoe Mitchell. This album will be called In Pursuit of Magic, of course the prospect of this release is something that excites us here at the fan community. We will be sure to keep our eyes open for this one. Apparently this album will be recorded at Constellation.
Apparently Mike and Roscoe started to play together a couple of years after the Chicago musicians co-op was founded, of which Mike was an officer. Mike also played a big role in founding this co-op in the 60’s sometime. When we hear Mike play, we always think it’s magic, but to quote the words of Roscoe; “There is always magic in the air when we are together. I am looking forward to playing with him again.” The release of this album is definitely something to look forward to, and we’ll be doing what we can to give you the latest news on what is going on here, so if you’re a fan, keep an eye on our site as well!
Great feedback for all Mike Reed gigs
We’ve never met with a bad review of anything that Mike Reed has been involved with. If he is acting as a programmer, organiser or as a musician, or all at the same time, it doesn’t matter. He is always on his best performance, and his testament to innovation you can find in the success of the events and gigs he present. His music knowledge runs deep enough, and he can create that thing, which so many of us really likes to enjoy and listen to.
Among the reviews that has crossed my path lately, it’s been described with enormous praise. For instance Mike Reed’s People, Places & Things got described as a class above even the highest skilled jazz bands out there today. Some bands are very tight, but then there’s Mike Reed and this band. We’ve also ran into descriptions like amazing flow, intuitive synchronicity and great feeling, for the live shows. So if the chance to see Mike Reed with any of his projects pops up, we urge you to take it. It’s sure to be better than expected. So treat yourself to something special, and unforgettable.
Every musician have their own relationship with their instrument which they play. Mike Reed refers to his friend Han Bennink who when asked if he gets frustrated when playing other peoples drums responded with a simple “No man, I always take my drums with me, they’re in my head”. With this Mike also lives as someone who is one with the music, and the creativity is not bound to any specific object. Mike Reed is a humble person, who will play on what he has, he tends to use objects which he finds, a pot or a pan. He’s even found some old cracked cymbals in his days which he has used.
For those who really want to know a bit more, and maybe if you are interested in drumming or drums yourself, we’ll give you a little bit of insider information about the kit that this cultural icon uses. In order to provide you with a good breakdown, we have to specify that this is just based on what he has stated as his standard set up. So here is a breakdown of the things Mike Reed would bring with him for his own setup for a gig. Starting with the drums, there would be a Gretsch Custom, an 18 inch bass drum, a twelve inch mounted tom, a 14 inch floor tom and a 14 inch x 5 1/2 snare. The cymbals which he likes are a 22 inch Spizzachino medium ride, or possibly a 22 inch Zildjian Constantinople Medium Light. Then a 20 inch Istanbul thin ride, a 14 inch Bosphorus Stanton Moore hi hats and lastly, assorted un-identified crash cymbals.
“I’ve been a real Mike Reed fan for years and love everything that he does. I’m hoping one day that he’ll visit me at work so I can meet him in person.” Sarah Thomson, Massage Bristol therapist and part-time artist.
Just to make sure we give you all the info you need here at the fan page, for the hardware he would use a DW 5000 turbo kick pedal, a DQ 6710 flush base straight stands, and lastly a DW 6500 hi hat stand.
Why we like Mike Reed’s as a musician
A definite community man, someone who helps to inspire both locally and around the world amongst other things. Many people would have an abundance of good things to say about, or for him, as do we. But when placed in front of a drum kit and with a good collection of other musicians there is no parallel to be seen. Mike Reed brings that feeling into the music, which if you know about his music, and have ever seen him live, will know about. Of course there are many years of practice and experience in that body, but the music comes from the soul.
It’s always a pleasure to see good musicians at their best possible environment. Of course Mike Reed is no different. If you like the recorded albums, it’s definitely worth a look into going to a concert of his. He is still touring, so keep an eye out, and make sure to catch him live if you ever get the chance. We highly recommend it and don’t think you will regret it. It’s the experience of a life time, which will remain in your memories always.
That time of year again
The acclaimed musician is starting his 5th decade in life. So for all those who are fans of Mike Reed, it’s time to listen up. The big four-o has been and gone with a special birthday celebration at the Constellation venue in the north-west of Chicago. According to Mike himself, he’s not celebrated a birthday since he was the age of 12 and what better way to start up again with after having lived the jazz scene for so long, thank to have a big birthday party and gig. So this was something special indeed. Of course the living icon himself played with his assembles People, Places and Things. There were also some special guests attending such as DJ Damon Locks & Wayne Montana, and others.
There is no reason to worry if you missed this cosmic event, Mike Reed will be out touring the whole season, all the way to the end of August this year. The tour which is already on the way, is currently going though Canada, and if you check his website you can see the exact dates and locations. Later on the tour, closer to the end there will be a row of shows in and around Chicago with the People, Places and Things crew showing what their long project work has amounted to. The fusion of old and new, in their own way will be presented in a fresh scenario and sound. Be sure not to miss this one.
About some of his Projects
We just want to tell you a bit more about this wonderful musician Mike Reed. Having been part of the vibrant and ever evolving jazz scene in Chicago for over soon 3 decades his talents are well known and renowned. Starting in 1997 Mike Reed has played, produced and brought so much to the music within the jazz and improvisation genre. Not only is he a fabulous drummer, but a wonderful performer, with an abundance of energy.
Throughout his career he has performed locally with names like Fred Anderson and Nichole Mitchell amongst others. He has also worked with several well known Jazz legends out of the Chicago scene such as Ira Sullivan and Art Hoyle. On a side not as well, by the 57th annual Downbeat critics he received distinction being called “rising jazz star” and was named Chicagoan of 2008 for Jazz.
Currently Mike Reed leads 3 well known jazz bands. The first one is Loose Assembly, with whom he recorded Empathetic Parts. This is a rare and special recording featuring the legendary Roscoe Mitchell. Just for reference, Roscoe is a founding member of both the Art Ensemble of Chicago and the AACM. In performance with Roscoe they used a method which Mike Reed calls collective arranging. A method in which the band are improvising, and the music is created as a whole, spontaneously by all the musicians. Together with Mike Reed on the drums in Loose Assembly, there is Greg Ward, their amazing saxophonist, Tomeka Reid as the cellist, Jason Adasiewicz as the vibraphonist and bassist Josha Abrams. Loose Assembly was called one of Chicago’s foremost and sublime jazz ensembles by Time Out Chicago.
The second one is People, Places & Things. Which is a quartet who focus on trying to show and present things from the jazz scene in Chicago 1954-1960, things which did not get recognised at the time due to the major boom in the scene. Here we also have Greg Ward on the saxophone (alto), as well as Tim Haldeman (tenor). On the double bass you find Jason Roebke and of course on the drums you find Mike Reed himself. Combining music from this classical era with new compositions means that influences, style and mood in the music shines though whilst using the vast music language available today. It’s a brilliant band, and a great feeling to their music.
The third band is Living by Lanterns, in this project Mike Reed set out to create a performance based on 700 hours of material, which the sun ra/el saturn audio collection contains. This is of course no easy feat, and Mike in this worked with Jason Adasiewicz to take the possibilities of the unrefined material. Allow for exploration and for new composition to form, testing ideas and approaches to the material. In order to best open up the possibilities Mike Reed involved five young musicians to the Loose Assembly group resulting in the mixture of the Chicago scene and the New York scene. The music from this band is original to say the least, and the mixture of input is clear, and you can hear the variety and creativity in their wonderful sound. Other than the priory mentioned band members of Loose Assembly, you here also have Taylor Ho Bytnun on cornet, Ingrid Laubrock as a tenor saxophonist, Mary Halvorson on guitar and second drummer Tomas Fujiwara.
More about People, Places & Things
As mentioned before, one of the projects that Mike Reed leads is the group People, Places & Things. This group devoted themselves to exploring the jazz legacy which had not come to light in more popular culture. Mike Reed himself says that the reason they choose this era, the 50s, is that there was a piece of the puzzle missing in the cultural history of jazz here. A gap that needed to be filled, partially created by the fact that some of the bigger names at the time like Clifford Jordan and Wilbur Ware moved to New York, which dampened the scene at this time, not only for Chicago but for Philadelphia and Detroit as well. Of course the jazz culture at the time rebuilt itself, and improvised music was up to speed again in the 60’s.
Now the reason why the music from this area is only used as inspiration or refreshed in some way is simply due to the fact that it was fresh when it first came out, when it was first made. Mike Reed said himself that it will be obvious to anyone who is listening to the music that there will be spirit missing if one does not make it fresh today. It needs to be as fresh today as it was in the moment of its first creation.
The band was never meant to be a cover band, or a repertory band. The music is not originally made, but it is originally recomposed. A metaphor Mike Reed used to describe it is that it’s their tunes, like wearing someone else’s suit, but letting it in or out so it perfectly fits you. Our guy over in Manchester is all too familiar with the sound of music as a Plumber Manchester in the thick of it, and part-time keyboard player, with the clanging and banging of pipes and drains. Loving every bit of the sound. “If Mike’s in town then I’m there”.
If you ever get opportunity to see these guys play, we much recommend it. It’s a fully original sound which brings you back to that which was, but sounds new and fresh.
Mike Reed said that although the cultural part and the history of this music is very important, it’s not the most important. The audience does not have to know where it came from and why to be able to like it and enjoy it. The band is very good at what it does, and it comes from this specific are, but for the audience, as long as they like it, that’s all that matters.
According to Mike Reed, it’s difficult to say if there is a distinctive style, mood or flavour to Chicago Jazz. The main reason being that there is so much jazz music, that it’s near impossible to listen to it all, and even more difficult would it be to examine and try to find some sort of distinctive features. Of course it is all part of a bigger cycle, and everything has roots somewhere, and is inspired from something. But as far as the specific taste to Chicago jazz, it’s not really something one can say. Due to the wide variety of styles and tastes this city can cater for.
The biggest advantage to the scene in Chicago, Mike Reed states as the opportunity. The opportunity to be able to do it yourself is something quite rare and beautiful within the Chicago scenery. The community here makes it possible for anyone to do what they feel, how they feel, and how they think. There is possibility to explore own ideas and sounds, methods and approaches. There is no commercial jazz industry here. The music are not produced by producers, but by musicians, you gain reputation though your music not though a publicist. And the small record labels that are here are also there for the music, not for the money mechanism. In short, there is no machine there to support you though the struggles, but at the same time there is no machine to place you in a framework box, meaning that you have freedom in expression and creativity here.
There is less pressure to conform in an artistic way here. Mike Reed describes it more like walking into a room, just to discover that the rest who are there are just a bunch of people just like you. The area which you share, that which you have in common is that you walk your own way. You do the things you want to do in your own way, and use your own head and your own ideas. In saying that however, in this metaphorical room with people just like you, in a sense you are conforming, but not in the more common way of seeing it.
Mike Reed sees much in the future of Chicago Jazz as well. Mainly due to this freedom of creativity and due to that there is no industry there. There is not one big shot, or waiting around to be called to play with someone who is already a star. Everyone here are too busy trying to get their own gigs, create their own music, and find their own audience. Of course there is competition, but so far that it goes beyond the music and becomes about something else.
Rather than promoting music, he presents it. Working with events like:
Pitchfork Music Festival which is a 3 day summer festival in Union Park. It’s a highly acclaimed international music festival with over 40 attending bands. Showcasing many new and upcoming artists in the industry and presenting the best there is. This is an independently run festival, promoting local economy and only the best music.
Umbrella Music Festival which is a festival that is organised by a jazz and improvisational music collective in Chicago. It’s one of the best for cutting edge improvised music. This organisations core revolves around weekly shows done, of which Mike Reed curates the Sundays at, the transmission series, which is located at the hungry brain. The festival is a 4-5 day presentation from this collective.
About this Fan Site
This website has been built to provide a space for fans of Mike Reed and his work. It will also be a platform to share your appreciation for other aspects of jazz and musicians.
Please hold with us while we get the website going and hopefully in the coming weeks there will be lots of great stuff here.
Maybe you’re a musician or maybe you just love music! Either way we want you to be involved so there will be a place for you to share your thoughts and appreciation for all things jazzy…
Get involved, get musical, get thinking. What are your thoughts and what are your comments? We want to know, we want to hear it. Here’s the place, now’s the time.