Documenting A Brief Moment in Civilazation

Clifford Jordan (left) and John Neely (right) at a South Side recreation center, around 1949
When I originally conceived the idea for my quartet People, Places & Things the original focus was on investigating and reinventing some of the under-recorded, under-recognized aspects of Chicago jazz circa 1954-60. Not in a literal way, but in way that was informed by a modern progressive “jazz” unit. I took it on in the same way that a Ph.D candidate might work on a dissertation - conducting interviews, assembling old newspaper clippings, and of course buying (and borrowing) recordings. For me this couldn't be a tribute record, but rather like jumping into an ocean.

That being said, I'm still in the midst of this “dissertation” with the recent release of About Us (482 Music) and the forthcoming third record in the series, Stories and Negotiations, bringing three ubiquitous members of Chicago in the 50's into the fold (due out in April on 482 Music). 

In the process I've taken to daily reading from the extensive website The Red Saunders Research Foundation. Although named after the noted drummer/bandleader, the site is an extensive data base of a forgotten time period in Chicago music:

"Since 1997, the Red Saunders Research Foundation has been dedicated to increasing our knowledge of the musicians who filled the clubs and recording studios of Chicago with great music during the two decades after World War II.

Some musicians from Chicago were appreciated by the fans early on, like Gene Ammons and Johnny Griffin--yet their full worth only gradually become apparent to jazz critics over the years. Others were not widely appreciated until much later in their careers, like John Gilmore, Clifford Jordan, Norman Simmons, or Muhal Richard Abrams. Far too many others have been forgotten

It has proven to be an invaluable asset to me in not only learning about venues, musicians and labels, but also giving leads and depictions of the state of the music industry. From the usage of ads placed in newspapers such as the Chicago defender or the records acquired through the musicians Union, the website does more than keep a history of music, but rather points to the social/cultural development in a time period of one of America's great cities.

To hear how People, Places & Things have worked to make the music of this time period our own check out these streams:
About Us
Stories & Negotiations

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