Charles Rumback Credit: Nagle Photography

At the core of the Chicago jazz and improv scene is the constant building of new groups fueled by distinct personnel, concepts, or instrumentation. Drummer-composer Charles Rumback has exemplified this particularly well in his many projects. In 2017, he released Threes and Tag Book with his trio of pianist Jim Baker and bassist John Tate, and both of those subdued acoustic albums play with the relationship between structured improvisation and composition. But with Colorlist, his trio with Charles Gorczynski on woodwinds and synths and John Hughes on synths and other electronics, he approaches music from another angle. On the group’s recent Full Circle (Serein), the band creates soundscapes that are clearly informed by jazz but incorporate a sonic palette rooted in the broad genre of electronica, which allows them to explore realms of bubbling and pittering ambience, collections of subtly glitching gestures, and washes of frequencies that emphasize the ambiguity of sound; it can be hard to distinguish what’s synthesizer and what’s saxophone (processed or acoustic). Tonight at Elastic, Rumback will experiment with another group entirely—a quartet consisting of violinist Macie Stewart, alto saxophonist Greg Ward, and Baker (who will be playing electronics in addition to piano), which will undoubtedly surprise and innovate. This show is the stage debut of the quartet, and soon they’ll make their debut on record—an album with these musicians, Hughes, and others is currently in the works.   v