Garden of Souls: Geof Bradfield, Nick Mazzarella, Joshua Abrams, Mike Reed

Saturday, September 24, 3:30-4:30pm

Wagner Stage

In “Garden of Souls,” multi-reedist, composer, and educator, GEOF BRADFIELD revisits Ornette Coleman’s 1968 Blue Note Recordings, Love Call and New York Is Now. Ornette played the tune “Garden of Souls” under the title “Holiday for a Graveyard” at John Coltrane’s funeral. This song is in commemoration of Ornette and sets the tone for the rest of the project.

Reared in Houston, TX, and honing his chops in New York, Los Angeles, and Washington before settling in Chicago more than ten years ago, GEOF has worked alongside many jazz luminaries and performed throughout the United States, Europe, Russia, Africa and the Middle East. His critically acclaimed CD, African Flowers, was named one of the top 10 CDs of 2010 by the Los Angeles Times, and Melba! was selected as one of the best CDs of 2013 by DownBeat Magazine. Writes Neil Tesser, Geof  “has drawn plenty of praise for his work as a reed soloist. . . . But in the last few years, Bradfield has made just as much impact with his precise and colorful writing, in compositions that evoke a vivid sense of place through the same mixture of detail and sweep.” Geof’s recent project, Our Roots, took its name and inspiration from Chicago saxophonist Clifford Jordan’s 1965 Atlantic record, These Are My Roots: the Music of Lead Belly and was released on Origin Records last year. He is currently Associate Professor of Jazz Saxophone and Jazz Studies at Northern Illinois University.

Alto saxophonist and composer NICK MAZZARELLA has been a consistent presence in Chicago's music scene since the early 2000s, and his regular performances represent an aesthetically unique contribution to the city's rich jazz and improvised music culture. His two working trios and quintet are the primary vehicles for his endeavors as a composer and leader, while as a collaborator or sideman he has performed, recorded, and toured with such artists as Rob Mazurek, Frank Rosaly, Tomeka Reid, Avreeayl Ra, Ingebrigt Håker Flaten, Hamid Drake, and Dana Hall. Mazzarella is also the creator and curator of the Anagram concert series, presented weekly at Elastic Arts in Chicago.

Over the last two decades JOSHUA ABRAMS has recorded and toured with a wide range of artists including extended engagements with Fred Anderson, Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, Hamid Drake, Theaster Gates, Neil Michael Hagerty, Nicole Mitchell, Joe McPhee, Jeff Parker, Mike Reed, Matana Roberts, and The Roots. Since 2011 Abrams has toured North America and Europe with a shifting ­line up of musicians as ‘Natural Information Society’, which was assembled around his interests in the Moroccan instrument the guimbri. The band's most recent album, Magnetoception, was selected by The Wire Magazine as the #3 record of 2015 and by Pitchfork as the #2 experimental record of 2015. A film composer, Abrams has scored the music for seven feature length films including the award ­winning films Life Itself, The Interrupters, The Trials of Muhammad Ali and most recently Abacus : Small Enough to Jail.

A drummer and composer based in Chicago, MIKE REED has been part of the vibrant Chicago jazz and improvised music scene since 1997. He is also a presenter of music with his Pitchfork Music Festival, Umbrella Music Festival, Hungry Brain Sunday Transmission Series, and others. Mike has played with the Treehouse Project, the David Boykin Expanse, Rob Mazurek’s Exploding Star Orchestra, and the Josh Berman Quartet. He leads his own “Loose Assembly” and “People, Places & Things,” the latter put together to play music of the 1950s (Proliferation, About Us, Stories & Negotiations), which explores underappreciated repertoire from Chicago’s jazz, blues and improvised music scene between 1954 and 1960.