Tomeka Reid Quartet

The jazz polls might still list cello under the miscellaneous instrument category, but in the hands of Tomeka Reid it’s an essential vehicle for unfettered jazz exploration. Old New, the second album by the Tomeka Reid Quartet, is a project that exemplifies why she’s quickly become a definitive figure on the 21st century jazz scene. As a composer, arranger, improviser, bandleader, and impresario, she embodies jazz’s progressive ethos. Crafting memorable tunes brimming with arresting textures and melodies, Reid creates music palpably connected to the tradition while recasting those sounds to meet her own expressive needs. Old new, indeed!

While Reid has recorded prolifically since making her debut on flutist Nicole Mitchell’s 2002 Black Earth Ensemble album Afrika Rising (DreamTime Records), Old New is only her second album leading her own band, following up on the eponymous Tomeka Reid Quartet (Thirsty Ear). Like that 2015 release, the band’s second album features a brilliant cast with guitarist Mary Halvorson and drummer Tomas Fujiwara, who play together in at least half a dozen different ensembles, and Chicago bassist Jason Roebke. It’s essentially a string band, an electro-acoustic hybrid in which any player might take on bass, melodic or rhythmic responsibilities at any given time.

“I wanted to have a string-centered group,” says Reid, who was recently voted Violinist/Violist/Cellist of the Year for the second consecutive time by the Jazz Journalists Association “I wanted a harmonic instrument, but not piano and I wanted to go in a different direction. For this quartet I like Mary’s manner of using pedals in interesting and creative ways…


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