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Edward Wilkerson Jr., Mabel Kwan, Jason Roebke, Marcus Evans

April 5 @ 8:00 pm - 11:00 pm

Presented by BlueStem Jazz.

Chicago-based bassist and composer Jason Roebke leads a new quartet, featuring his original compositions and a stellar lineup. Equal parts Art Ensemble of Chicago and Luc Ferrari, Roebke’s graphic scores are rich and flexible, concentrating on exploring multifarious ways of stopping, something that’s been a feature of the bassist’s improvisation for decades. Roebke’s music bridges the worlds of jazz and experimental music and the compositions lead the listener through twists, turns, and returns. The band is composed of veteran reed player Edward Wilkerson Jr., whose own bands Eight Bold Souls and Shadow Vignettes were among the great ensembles of eighties/nineties Chicago, extending the AACM tradition and spotlighting Wilkerson’s sensitive improvising. Here, wielding tenor saxophone and alto clarinet, Wilkerson is a commanding – but also supremely collaborative – voice, joining the younger pianist Mabel Kwan and drummer Marcus Evans. Investigating the interrelationships between flow and cessation, the quartet is at once organic and halting, Roebke and Evans playing together with great assurance, but occasional interruptions of metronomes or Roebke’s lo-fi cassette recordings pushing against the fluidity and expressiveness in revelatory ways. Roebke’s bass playing has been a feature of scads of ensembles, both working and ad hoc, including Tomeka Reid Quartet, Jason Stein Trio, Jeb Bishop Trio, James Falzone’s KLANG, Jorrit Dijkstra’s Flatlands Collective, Pillow Circles, The Whammies, Keefe Jackson, and Mike Reed’s People, Places, and Things. The quartet’s new recording “Four Spheres” was recently released by Corbett vs. Dempsey.

EDWARD WILKERSON JR. tenor saxophone, alto clarinet, cassettes, metronome

MABEL KWAN piano, cassettes, metronome

JASON ROEBKE, double bass, cassettes, metronome

MARCUS EVANS. drums, cassettes, metronome

Edward Wilkerson, JR. is an internationally recognized American jazz composer, arranger, musician, and educator based in Chicago. As founder and director of the cutting-edge octet 8 Bold Souls, and the 25-member performance ensemble Shadow Vignettes, Wilkerson has toured festivals and concert halls throughout the United States, Europe, Japan, and the Middle East. One of the great saxophone and clarinet players on the Chicago scene, Wilkerson from the 1980s into the new millennium may have become best known as a bandleader and composer, particularly associated with medium- to large-scale projects (somewhat daunting in an era when creative music bandleaders are challenged to keep even small ensembles together). He has also been a major presence in Chicago’s Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM), teaching composition at the organization’s music school and serving for a time as AACM president. Wilkerson’s best-documented ensemble as a leader is 8 Bold Souls, an octet initiated in January 1985 with a series of Thursday-night concerts at the Chicago Filmmakers performance space. The popularity of the concerts led Wilkerson to establish 8 Bold Souls as a working band, and since their formation, four Souls CDs have been issued: 8 Bold Souls on Sessoms Records, Sideshow and Ant Farm on Arabesque Records, and Last Option on Thrill Jockey. Influenced by the small groups of Duke Ellington and Jimmie Lunceford, 8 Bold Souls also makes plenty of room for adventurous experimentation in the AACM spirit, drawing fully on the unusual sonic possibilities of the group’s instrumentation of two woodwinds, trumpet, trombone, cello, tuba, bass, and trap drums. Overall, Wilkerson’s work may be heard on 14 recordings, including two film soundtracks.

Mabel Kwan – “My background is in classical piano and new music interpretation. I play keyboard instruments from different eras and find that distinctions can sometimes merge — old becomes new, the unknown is familiar. In live performance I work with seemingly opposite or contradictory forces, creating a sense of play and tension between the sounds, performers, and listeners.”


April 5
8:00 pm - 11:00 pm
Event Category:




North Street Cabaret
610 N. Street
Madison, WI
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