The name of the ensemble is Sound in Rhythm, empashizes Ajaramu; the interplay of percussion has been the heart of his concerts of recent years, with horn players added just to flavor the stew. Ajaramu is a tireless champion of the power of the drums. A veteran of the bop era, he was house drummer at McKie’s, the Chicago jazz club where Gene Ammons, Sonny Stitt, James Moody, and similarly top players of the hard-blowing school held forth for years. In the 60s the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians opened vistas of free jazz for him, and his considerable technique and driving energy have powered any number of bands since. Despite the fact that the material and performance structure of his Sound in Rhythm concerts are often only slightly outlined, the result is not a lot of loud bashing. Quite the contrary–Ajaramu’s drummers exchange lead and complementary roles in communal improvisations, sometimes suggesting modernized and expanded versions of West African percussion choirs. Thursday’s concert will surely be different, though, since it features the subtle sounds and alive playing of Hamid Drake on tablas. Also onstage will be Calvin Mayfield, third drummer; bassist Harrison Bankhead; trumpeter Ameen Muhammad; and Wallace McMillan, oboes and other woodwinds. It’s a typically disparate Sound In Rhythm grouping. But Ajaramu has a history of leading such assemblages to a happy common ground. Thursday, 8 PM, HotHouse, 1565 N. Milwaukee; 235-2334.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Lauren Deutsch.