A Calculus of Loss
Fan’s of the Chicago free jazz scene may recognize Jason Stein from his work in Ken Vandermark band Bridge 61, collaborations with Fred Lonberg-Holm and Jeff Parker, and featured roles in other Midwestern ensembles. Stein started his musical life as a blues-and-rock guitarist, but Eric Dolphy changed his life. After hearing the groundbreaking woodwind innovator, Stein replaced his guitar with a bass clarinet. He later studied with Charles Gayle and Milford Graves. A flexible performer, he can go “mainstream” in the post-bop and free traditions or exploit novel situations, as, for example his work oboist Kyle Bruckmann in the experimental chamber jazz ensemble Wrack. His hard-driving presence on sessions with Peter Brotzmann and Fredrik Ljungkvist and his nuanced pitch and color manipulations for Lonberg-Holm and Parker demonstrate his versatility. The trio’s name, Locksmith Isidore, comes from Stein’s grandfather, a master locksmith who didn’t trust banks and hid his money inside an old sofa in his attic. The “loss” in the title refers to the calculations he made for the costs and benefits not having a bank account.