Photo Courtesy of the Artist
Tomeka Reid Takes Fans On A Tour Of Her Favorite Chicago Jazz Venues
Tomeka Reid has quickly become a fixture in the Chicago jazz community since relocating to the Windy City, from the D.C area, in 2000. With improvisation and stunning melodies central to her identity as an artist, she's mastered her craft as a cellist and composer, winning over audience members, her fellow jazz peers and Chicago jazz institutions alike along the way.
Chicago has since become core to her essence. In addition to recognition and awards from the Foundation of the Arts and 3Arts, Reid, a current voting member of the Recording Academy's Chicago Chapter, received her doctorate in music from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign in 2017. In 2013, she founded Chicago Jazz String Summit, a three-day international festival that welcomes string players to showcase their work in a historic jazz metropolis.
Reid's dynamic spirit and compositional skills continued to shine through on Tomeka Reid Quartet, her 2015 eponymous debut album as a bandleader. The album fuses old jazz traditions with new styles, resulting in a wholly fresh sound for listeners of all backgrounds. In 2019, her quartet released their sophomore album, Old New, to critical acclaim. The celebrated cellist has also contributed to and collaborated with Mike Reed's Assembly, Anthony Braxton and the AACM Great Black Music Ensemble.
Throughout her original music and collaborations, Reid demonstrates how the soundscapes of the cello can provide an extra layer of beauty and complexity to any ensemble or composition.
The detrimental effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have left many jazz musicians, who financially depend on live performances, out of work for more than a year as storied jazz clubs around the world, including Chicago, remain closed.
To honor the resilience of the Chicago live music scene, Tomeka Reid is highlighting some of her favorite jazz venues in the city.e
"Constellation is run by Mike Reed, and it's in the old Viaduct space on Western. The venue also shares space with Links Hall. I really enjoy this venue because it's a true listening room for jazz, improvised and contemporary music. It's also great that it was started by a longstanding member of the Chicago music community who wanted to make sure this kind of music had a platform to be presented and heard. The venue also features other styles of music, too, but the general focus is jazz, improvised and contemporary music."
"Hungry Brain is a cousin to the Constellation space. Here, during pre-COVID times, you could expect to hear and see a variety of programming most nights of the week, with Sunday being the night for jazz and improvised music that had been going strong for 20 years."
"Elastic is another great space that features a really broad range of music and community programming. The space really champions independent local artists (visual and sound)."
For the past 60 years, the Recording Academy's Chicago Chapter has recognized and celebrated the creative accomplishments of our members across the Midwest, fought for their collective rights, and supported them in times of need. We are proud of our legacies and excited to continue looking ahead. Here's to the next 60.