Mike Reed has been a vital part of Chicago’s jazz and improvised music scenes for many years. Not only performing music, he has been presenting it as owner of two venues which showcase forward-thinking music of all sounds (The Hungry Brain, Constellation), as well as co-founding the Pitchfork Music Festival and serving as chair of Chicago Music Festival.
Mike Reed recently announced a long-player titled The Separatist Party, featuring a striking sextet: Reed himself on drums, aided by cornet player Ben Lamar-Gay, vocalist Marvin Tate, and the three members of longstanding experimental group Bitchin’ Bajas: Cooper Crain, Rob Frye, and Dan Quinlivan.
It’s an uncommon phenomena to gather this many respected and mind-bending musicians in the same group, and they establish that with the first taste of music. The first single, “Your Soul” is nearly five minutes of a mean groove, initially set by Reed but aided by a synth bassline and guitar voicings. Over the top of this is Marvin Tate’s piercing and unforgettable spoken word performance, claiming that “your soul is a mosh pit!”.
The Separatist Party is due out on October 27, released collaboratively by Astral Spirits (US) and WeJazz (EU). Mike Reed’s group will be playing live across Europe leading up to the album’s release, culminating in an album release show at Reed’s own venue, Constellation. I had the extreme pleasure of seeing this group perform live on New Years Eve 2022, well before news of this record was public, and I can positively say it was an amazing and moving experience.
Tune into Noteworthy’s Jazz and Freeform channels to catch “Your Soul”, and other similarly exciting music.