Rather than using the Sun Ra/El Saturn Commission to comment on the life and work of Sun Ra, drummer Mike Reed decided to focus on one particular tape in the Archive (labeled "NY 1961"), more interested in using someone's discarded musical ideas as source material for entirely new music—regardless of whose ideas they happen to be.
The tape in question features Ra, John Gilmore and Ronnie Boykins. Stretching just over one hour in length, it is the document of a stream of consciousness songwriting session with few details worked out but many ideas played through.
Reed enlisted vibrophonist/composer Jason Adasiewicz to write arrangements for the ensemble he assembled to execute the project. Adasiewicz set his intense skill set to work orchestrating the sounds originally heard from the trio on the tape to a tentet alignment that had yet to play together. Reed revisited the Archive to select material which Nick Butcher will manipulate in his handmade "electronic" set up (comprised of cheap consumer goods such as tape players, radios, record players) and a computer, further utilizing the archive in collage sample snippets and improvisational background material.
Greg Ward – alto sax
Taylor Ho Bynum – cornet
Ingrid Laubrock – tenor sax
Tomeka Reid – cello
Mary Halvorson – guitar
Jason Adasiewicz – vibes, arrangements
Nick Butcher – electronics
Tomas Fujiwara – drums
Mike Reed – drums, electronics
This project is supported by a generous grant from the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation.
About the Artist
Mike Reed is a drummer, composer, and presenter based in Chicago, IL. He has been part of the vibrant Chicago jazz and improvised music scene for years, and has had the great pleasure of performing with and presenting some of the city's finest. He presents music events such as the Pitchfork Music Festival, Umbrella Music Festival, and the Hungry Brain Sunday Transmission Series, among others. He leads two acclaimed ensembles—Loose Assembly, and People, Places, & Things—both of which released new albums in 2010.