Update on Fri 11/12: The Charles Rumback show at Constellation on Sat 11/20 has been canceled. No rescheduled date has been announced.
It’s the drummer’s job to make everyone else in the band sound good, and Charles Rumback does it very well. Whether he’s playing folk rock with the Horse’s Ha, baroque pop with Steve Dawson, or postbop jazz with Dustin Laurenzi or Paul Bedal, his understated propulsion keeps the focus on whoever’s at the front of the bandstand. He’s similarly versatile in the combos that he leads or coleads, but these projects tend to focus on one facet of his talents. The electronic duo Colorlist foregrounds pastel electronics; Stirrup, with cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm and bassist Nick Macri, revels in rawer, more distorted textures; and his acoustic trio with pianist Jim Baker and bassist John Tate explores swinging introspection. Rumback’s latest album, Seven Bridges (Astral Spirits), draws together all of these elements. He worked on it over a span of five years with electronic musician and engineer Jon Hughes and nine singers and instrumentalists whose backgrounds run the gamut from singer-songwriter pop to free improvisation, but the album doesn’t sound fussed over. Rather, Rumback and his cohorts seem to have dedicated that time to fashioning performances that feel spacious and unforced. Trumpeter Ron Miles, violinist Macie Stewart, alto saxophonist Greg Ward, and bass clarinetist Jason Stein don’t so much trade solos as braid lines while suspended over the effortless flow created by Rumback and bassists Tate and Macri, while electronic tones from Hughes and Baker flicker on the music’s periphery like heat lightning. Singer Krystle Warren, who’s backed on vocals by Stewart and her Ohmme cohort Sima Cunningham, draws out the rue in David Bowie’s bitter survey of 21st-century politics “Fall Dog Bombs the Moon” and focuses the languorous vibe of Rumback’s “Regina.” Everyone but Hughes will join Rumback in the ten-piece ensemble performing at this record-release concert. On Sunday, November 21, a different Rumback group—his trio with Baker and Tate—plays an Astral Spirits label showcase at the Hungry Brain with the Quin Kirchner Group.
Charles Rumback Update Fri 11/12: This show is canceled. No rescheduled date has been announced. Sat 11/20, 8:30 PM, Constellation, 3111 N. Western, $20, 18+
Quin Kirchner Group, Charles Rumback Trio Sun 11/21, 9:30 PM, Hungry Brain, 2319 W. Belmont, $10, 21+