Recorded at Chicago's Millenium Park in August 2013, Made in Chicago is a wonderful live album from legendary jazz drummer Jack DeJohnette, along with Henry Threadgill (alto sax, bass flute), Roscoe Mitchell (alto & soprano sax, bass recorder, baroque flute), Muhal Richard Abrams (piano), and Larry Gray (double bass, cello). This line-up is especially significant as these musicians all have ties that go back to the early '60s in various bands as well as Wilson Junior College. DeJohnette was able to bring everyone together for this special event, which features original compositions as well as group improvisations.
As you can see by the track listing below, many of these pieces are quite lengthy and go off into extended explorations. Opener "Chant" starts off slightly melodic, before the drum legend blasts in with some acrobatic fills that triggers plenty of squealing and squonking from the reeds. Though it might seem a tad noisy to those inclined to more melodic fare, the results are exemplary. "Jack 5" is much more tranquil, a slow builder with steady cymbal work from DeJohnette, majestic piano, and flurries of sax notes, eventually taking on a more menacing tone but always driven by the leader's commanding drum fills. The haunting "This" never really gets out of first gear, and that's intentional, instead avoiding the bombast for gentle melodies and brooding atmosphere, thanks to some stunning subtlety from the piano and flute. "Museum of Time" is majestic yet mysterious, and again, it's a pleasure to hear DeJohnette rumble under these gorgeous sounds from the rest of the band, especially Abrams who puts on a show. More traditional jazz melodies come out on the classy "Leave Don't Go Away", while the closer "Ten Minutes" allows the band to blast away in free form capacity, ending the set in similar noisy improv fashion as they begun.
Pretty stunning actually to think that these musicians managed to pull off such an amazing set after decades apart, but then again, that's a testament to just how seasoned & professional jazz players generally are. Any opportunity to hear the incredible Jack DeJohnette is always welcome, and this quality live set with a bunch of old friends is highly recommended.
Museum of Time
Leave Don't Go Away