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Mike Reed's People Places and Things & Darren Johnston Ensemble

Friday, May 17, 2013 — 12:00 AM
Tickets: $15 General, $10 Members
Tickets available at the door only
Mike Reed's People Places and Things Darren Johnston
Mike Reed’s People Places and Things. Photo by Giovanni Pesco. Darren Johnston. Photo by Peter Varshavsky.

A night of innovative original jazz from Chicago and the Bay Area

This concert brings together two leading voices in creative jazz: Bay Area trumpeter Darren Johnston and Chicago drummer Mike Reed, for a concert of original music and inventive arrangements by some of the most exciting players on the scene today. Reed and Johnston are at the forefront of a new generation of jazz composer/bandleaders who embrace groove and lyricism along with texture and collective group interplay. Both artists have earned national recognition (in Downbeat and elsewhere) for their original voices and superb musicianship, but the two are also strongly rooted in the regional music scenes where they have been leading their own groups and performing as first-call sidemen for more than fifteen years. The result is thrilling band chemistry and music that has been incubated slow and steady, to showcase the stellar improvising and distinctive musical personalities of their bandmembers.
Mike Reed’s People Places & Things
Greg Ward, alto sax
Tim Haldeman, tenor sax
Jason Roebke, bass
Mike Reed, drums
“It’s a sign that these days, People, Places and Things’ members don’t just preserve the Chicago tradition; they’re helping extend it.”
— Kevin Whitehead, NPR’s Fresh Air
Darren Johnston Ensemble
Darren Johnston, trumpet/compositions
Ben Goldberg, clarinet/contra-alto clarinet
Sheldon Brown, tenor sax/bass clarinet
Lisa Mezzacappa, bass
Howard Wiley, drums
“Three old horns find unexpectedly eccentric new voices in this soft-spoken mischief. There is an acerbic charm and emotional detachment at work that is cool, consistent, smartly calculated and positioned just so between straight jazz (“Apples”) and uneasy awkwardness. The ensembles often have a lovely quirky elegance.”
— John McDonough, Downbeat

Watch Mike Reed

Watch Darren Johnston

Artist Bios

Mike Reed is a musician, composer and presenter based in Chicago. As a drummer, Reed has been part of the vibrant Chicago jazz and improvised music community since 1997. He has performed regularly with local luminaries such as Fred Anderson, David Boykin, Nicole Mitchell, Jeff Parker, Josh Abrams, Jim Baker, and Rob Mazurek, as well as Chicago Jazz legends Ira Sullivan, Julian Priester and Art Hoyle. While performing in a variety of projects locally, nationally and internationally, Reed also leads two widely acclaimed groups, Loose Assembly and People, Places & Things. Reed was named Chicagoan of the Year for Jazz (2008) by the Chicago Tribune and in the 57th annual Downbeat critics poll was distinguished as “Rising Jazz Star.” Over the course of a decade Reed has also established himself as a leading producer of musical performances and advocate for the performing arts. He is one of the main organizers for Umbrella Music, a five member team presenting weekly Jazz and Improvised music at various Chicago venues. Most notably Reed is the Director of the internationally renown Pitchfork Music Festival, drawing over 50,000 attendees to Chicago over 3 days and featuring today’s most cutting edge rock and pop artists.
Since settling in San Francisco in 1997, Canada-born trumpeter/composer/songwriter Darren Johnston has collaborated and recorded with an extremely diverse cross-section of artists, yet always finds ways to be true to his own unique voice in each context, from straight-ahead jazz luminaries such as bassist/composer Marcus Shelby, to experimental icons like ROVA, Fred Frith and Myra Melford, rising stars in the singer/songwriter world like Meklit Hadero, or traditional Balkan brass band giants Brass Menazeri. As a bandleader he has made his mark with the award winning The Nice Guy Trio, The Darren Johnston Quintet, the category defying Broken Shadows, and more. For an upcoming commission by the Yerba Buena Gardens Festival, “Letters From Home,” Johnston will be forming a multi-generational chorus with over eighty participants.