General Info About the Man like Mr. Reed

Welcome to the Mike Reed UK Fan Page.

As lovers of Jazz music, and free jazz we want to make some noise about Mike Reed, a fabulous drummer in the Chicago Jazz scene. Not only is he a highly skilled drummer, but in his work with and in the jazz genre he is extremely innovative, and very inspiring. You can tell that Mike Reed cares not only for the music, 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 of jazz.

downloadMike 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 Bristol locksmith, has been playing the trumpet for over 15 years now. ” Yes, you know, I like all genres of music but my real favorites are folk and jazz. 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 a jazz musician, 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.


Loving the Rhythm, respect to the makers

rhythm mike reedThere 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.

New Release?!

mike reed drumOur 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.

The Gear

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.

slideshow_feature_mike-reedFor 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

Thanks to Bristol Tree Surgeons for supporting this fan website.

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.

imagesCurrently 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 electric 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

peopleplacesthings_wide-892a9df1a656f4ffa4506e24527bc6d323d682f1-s6-c30As 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.

Some Background

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.

6931d7b0eb8aafaeabecc6aa51aab33dThere 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.

Presenting

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.