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Jackson, Keefe / Benjamin Vergara / Jim Baker / Phil Sudderberg: The Hallowed Plant (Relative Pitch)

During Chilean trumpeter Benjamn Vergara's visit to Chicago in 2016 he joined forces with multi-reedist Keefe Jackson, pianist and ARP synth player Jim Baker, and drummer Phil Sudderberg to record this album of collective free jazz, a mix of lyrical and abstract playing that references bop and the modern Chicago creative scene in sublime ways.

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product information:

UPC: 5902249001044

Label: Relative Pitch
Catalog ID: RPR 1073
Squidco Product Code: 26232

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2018
Country: USA
Packaging: Digipack
Recorded at Bel Air Sound Studio, in Chicago, Illinois, on December 13th, 2016, by Todd Carter.


Keefe Jackson-tenor saxophone, sopranino saxophone, bass clarinet

Benjamin Vergara-trumpet

Jim Baker-piano, synthesizer

Phil Sudderberg-drums

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Artist Biographies:

"Keefe Jackson, saxophonist/clarinetist/improvisor/composer, arrived in Chicago in 2001 from his native Fayettevile, Arkansas. He performs regularly in the U.S. and in Europe with many musicians including Pandelis Karayorgis, Tomeka Reid, Tim Daisy, Dave Rempis, Jeb Bishop, Jason Roebke, Jason Adasiewicz, Mike Reed, Jason Stein, Josh Berman, Fred Lonberg-Holm, Frank Rosaly, Oscar Jan Hoogland and Marc Unternaehrer. He has also appeared with Michael Moore, Ab Baars, Michiel Braam, Satoko Fujii, and Anthony Coleman. Bill Meyer (Chicago Reader): "...the impeccable logic of his lines and the richness of his tone leave you wanting more... Jackson's high-register squiggles and coarsely voiced, rippling runs push the limits of the tenor's tonal envelope." Frank van Herk, de Volkskrant (Amsterdam): "[Jackson] has an old-fashioned, warm-woolly sound, and a feeling for melodic lines that take their time in unfolding." He has been mentioned in the DownBeat Critics Poll in the Rising Star Tenor Saxophone category. Recordings are available on Delmark and Clean Feed Records."

-Keefe Jackson Website (

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"Benjamin Vergara: Trumpeter, improviser and educator, born in Santiago de Chile in 1982, based in the city of Valdivia, Chile.

His work focuses on improvised music, written contemporary music, free jazz and experimental music.

Director of Festival of experimental music -Relincha- occurring since 2014 in the city of Valdivia."

-Benjamin Vergara Website (

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"Jim Baker was born in Chicago a number of years ago and has been playing in and around Chicago and elsewhere in the world for a few decades, mostly on piano and analog synthesizer; mostly in improvisational contexts; in situations involving, amongst others, Fred Anderson, Ken Vandermark, Michael Zerang, Mars Williams, Brian Sandstrom, Steve Hunt, Edward WIlkerson Jr, David Boykin, Rob Mazurek, Guillermo Gregorio, Nicole Mitchell, Vincent Davis, the Thing XXL, Tortoise, Dave Rempis, Fred Lonberg-Holm, Paul Hartsaw, Janet Bean, Damon Short, and numerous others.

For a number of years, Mr Baker was the house pianist at the weekly jam sessions at Fred Anderson's Velvet Lounge; and for most of the past decade, has played weekly with the improvising quartet Extraordinary Popular Delusions (the other three Delusions: Messrs. Williams, Sandstrom, & Hunt) , who currently play nearly every monday night at Beat Kitchen in Chicago."

-Milk Factory Productions (

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Phil Sudderberg is a Chicago drummer, know for the band Marker with Ken Vandermark, Vibrating Skull Trio, Wei Zhongle, Grandkids, Dave Rempis / Peter Maunu / Aaron Zarzutzki / Phil Sudderberg, Barn Duet, &c.

-Phil Sudderberg Website (

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track listing:

1. The Halloween Plant 7:22

2. This Moves To That 9:29

3. Take The Sun 3:48

4. La Repentina Ola 7:52

5. North Cult 18:40
sample the album:

descriptions, reviews, &c.

"[...] Chilean trumpeter Benjamín Vergara, whom I hadn't previously heard, visited Chicago a couple of years ago armed with little more than some recommendations from his fellow trumpeter Jacob Wick, a former local. Among the configurations that arose from his stay was an agile quartet with reedist Keefe Jackson, pianist and ARP synth master Jim Baker, and drummer Phil Sudderberg, and the group was so convinced by the rapport among them that they made a recording after playing together only twice. The album that resulted, The Hallowed Plant (Relative Pitch), won't be released until September, but the quartet will reconvene when Vergara returns to Chicago this week. The phrases blown by the two horn men seem to arise from thin air on the album's title track, which is so naturally musical I assumed the group was playing a composition, but Jackson set me straight-everything was improvised. The musicians cover lots of ground together, from loosey-goosey postbop where Sudderberg's inherent swing sensibility brings an infectious propulsion to the multilinear attack: lines switch between abstract smears and abrasions and tart, terse tunefulness. The final part of "This Moves That" illustrates that the quartet can slow things down, delivering the feel of a tender ballad that's pushed along by Baker's austere chords. "La Repentina Ola" provides a much different atmosphere, with Baker moving to analog synthesizer to produce alien sound swells over which the horn players alternate between chatty rapid-fire staccato and sour long tones. But as Sudderberg ratchets up the energy and kinetic motion, Jackson and Vergara follow suit, taking an aggressive approach that's absent on the first half of the album. [...]"-Peter Margasak, Chicago Reader

Get additional information at The Chicago Reader
Related Categories of Interest:

Improvised Music
Free Improvisation
Chicago Jazz & Improvisation
Quartet Recordings
New in Improvised Music
Recent Releases and Best Sellers

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