Nick Mazzarella/Tomeka Reid Duo

 Mazzarella photo by Mark Pallman; Reid photo by Tony Smith

Mazzarella photo by Mark Pallman; Reid photo by Tony Smith

Saturday, September 23


DuSable Museum

Alto saxophonist Nick Mazzarella and cellist Tomeka Reid have been described as “two of the leading lights of the Chicago creative music scene” by writer John Corbett. The two musicians have collaborated in various ensembles since the mid 2000s, and began work on a duo project in 2015 when they discovered a mutual admiration for the music of Julius Hemphill and Abdul Wadud. Using American avant-garde music of the 1970s as a source of inspiration, in May of this year, Nick Mazzarella and Tomeka Reid released Signalling, a fully-improvised duo recording. Writing for All*About*Jazz, Troy Dostert describes the record as “a superlative example of two leading-edge musicians who continue to draw vital inspiration from their forbears,” and writes, “it’s clear that Mazzarella and Reid have immersed themselves in the waters of 1970s and 1980s avant-garde jazz. The results are invigorating and inspiring.”

Saxophonist and composer NICK MAZZARELLA has been described as "continuing the approach taken by like-minded trailblazing altoists like Eric Dolphy, Ornette Coleman, Henry Threadgill, Oliver Lake, and Gary Bartz” by “seeking to embody the history of the music while pushing it forward into new realms” (Troy Dostert, All About Jazz). His working trio and quintet have served as the primary vehicles for his endeavors as a composer and bandleader, while as a collaborator or sideman he has performed and recorded with such artists as Tomeka Reid, Joshua Abrams, Hamid Drake, Ingebrigt Håker Flaten, Avreeayl Ra, Rob Mazurek, and Makaya McCraven. Recordings of his original music have been released by Nessa Records, Clean Feed Records, International Anthem Recording Company, and Astral Spirits, and he has performed with his ensembles and as a solo artist throughout the United States and Scandinavia.

In addition to his activities as a performing musician, Mazzarella has contributed to the vibrancy of the Chicago jazz community by working as a concert series presenter since 2008. He currently curates two ongoing concert series in Chicago—the Anagram Series, presented weekly at Elastic Arts in Avondale, and the Ratchet Series, presented monthly at Cafe Mustache in Logan Square.

Equally adept in classical and jazz contexts, cellist and composer TOMEKA REID has been described by Howard Reich of the Chicago Tribune as “a remarkably versatile player” with “a distinctive voice.” Originally from Washington, D.C., Tomeka moved to Chicago where she became an integral part of Dee Alexander's Evolution Ensemble, Nicole Mitchell's Black Earth Ensemble/Strings, Mike Reed's Loose Assembly, and the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musician’s (AACM) Great Black Music Ensemble. She co-leads the internationally recognized string trio Hear in Now, which has performed throughout Europe, Chicago, and the eastern United States. Tomeka co-directed the string orchestra program at the University of Chicago Laboratory School and is currently completing her doctorate in music at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Other work includes being commissioned by the AACM, Chicago Jazz Festival, and Chicago Jazz Ensemble and holding residencies at the Ragdale Foundation, 2nd Annual Make Jazz Fellowship, and Washington Park Incubator.