Chicago Reader listing by Peter Margasak


CF 152Critic’s Choice Recommended The List (Music) All Ages
Charles Rumback Quartet 
When: Sat., Aug. 15, 10 p.m.
Phone: heavengallery.com
Price: Donation requested
An exceptional musician with a knack for adapting selflessly to the needs of a wide variety of bands, drummer Charles Rumback plays in a slew of local jazz and rock combos, including the Horse’s Ha, Via Tania, L’altra, Colorlist, and Leaves. He favors understatement, devoting himself to supporting his partners with steady rhythm and shifting color. He’s finally releasing his first recording as a leader, the forthcoming trio date Two Kinds of Art Thieves (Clean Feed), and though he’s responsible for all the composed material and is clearly directing the proceedings from behind his kit—even on the carefully measured group improvisations that make up about a third of the album—he never hogs the spotlight. Fortunately saxophonists Greg Ward and Joshua Sclar seem to pick up on Rumback’s humility, and don’t simply flatten him with unrestrained blowing. They often improvise simultaneously, and because there’s usually no bassist (former Chicagoan Jason Ajemian guests on just two tracks), they have a lot of freedom to experiment harmonically. But instead of sounding like they’re working out some sort of eggheaded music-theory exercise, they seem to be pair dancing, meticulously shadowing and caressing each other’s tuneful postbop gestures—and the drummer holds everything together, content to play precisely what’s needed and no more. For this show Rumback will be joined by Sclar, bass clarinetist Jason Stein, and bassist Matt Lux.

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