Quin Kirchner

The Shadows And The Light
(Astral Spirits)

Quin Kirchner, a ubiquitous presence in Chicago’s jazz and improvised music community during the past 15 years, reinforces his abilities as an assimilator and bandleader on his second album, deftly enfolding local traditions with contemporary practices. He leads an excellent pool of players, all of whom he’s worked with in other contexts, crafting crackling intimacy here and boisterous soul there.

Sun Ra’s shadow is manifest, whether it’s in the way Rob Clearfield’s pointillistic Wurlitzer complements the leader’s percolating conga rhythms on the tightly coiled “Batá Chop” or Kirchner’s own “Jupiter Moon,” which sounds like a late-’50s Herman Blount vehicle. Ultimately, though, he casts a wider net, making space for a sizzling interpretation of Frank Foster’s “At This Point In Time”—a criminally overlooked jam Elvin Jones recorded back in 1973 that sounds like a funky Quincy Jones crime-show theme. “Rift Trio” fades in and out on action already in progress, as if eavesdropping on an eternal post-bop excursion, showcasing the tonal warmth and muscularity of bassist Matt Ulery.

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