Quin Kirchner Quintet
Quin Kirchner Quintet Credit: Courtesy the artist

Quin Kirchner blew into Chicago in 2005, after Hurricane Katrina devastated his old hometown of New Orleans. He wasted no time making himself essential as a drummer, and since then he’s played with a wide variety of acts: Afrobeat combo Nomo, tropical pop band Wild Belle, singer-guitarist Ryley Walker, and countless jazz ensembles. In all these settings, he’s supplied crisp grooves and percussive coloration that keep the music flowing. Kirchner didn’t release his first album as a bandleader, The Other Side of Time (Astral Spirits/Spacetone), till 2018, and it was worth the wait. The double LP contains an astutely selected program of tunes by Charles Mingus, Sun Ra, and Phil Cohran, as well as some Kirchner originals that are similarly tuneful, emotionally charged, and ingeniously constructed. All of them update a mid-20th-century understanding of the jazz band as a vehicle for sophisticated artisanship and impassioned communication—to that rarefied ideal, Kirchner brings electronic postproduction that borders on the psychedelic. The Shadows and the Light, another double album released last year by the same labels, further expands that sound with extra players, funky keyboards, and layered percussion. The quintet Kirchner will lead at the Hungry Brain, which consists of bassist Matt Ulery, trombonist Nick Broste, bass clarinetist Jason Stein, and woodwind player Nate Lepine, is the core band on both releases. You can expect material from each album plus some new tunes under development.  v