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Rumback, Charles (w/ Jim Baker / James Singleton / Greg Ward): Cadillac Turns (Astral Spirits)

After a chance encounter between bassist James Singleton and drummer Rumback, Steve Marquette, organizer of the Chicago-based Instigation Festival, paired the two to perform in the 2017 fest, Rumback adding Jim Baker on piano and Greg Ward on alto saxophone as they perform live versions of some of Rumback's finest and most lyrical compositions.

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product information:

UPC: 713289325299

Label: Astral Spirits
Catalog ID: AS097
Squidco Product Code: 27383

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2019
Country: USA
Packaging: Digipack
Recorded at Constellation, for the Instigation Festival, in Chicago, Illinois, on September 7, 2017, by David Zuchowski.


Jim Baker-piano

Charles Rumback-drums

James Singleton-bass

Greg Ward-alto saxophone

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Artist Biographies:

"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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Charles Rumback is a Chicago drummer, composer, and bandleader. He has performed in the groups Colorlist, From Beyond, Stirrup, and Who Cares How Long You Sink, and his own bands with sidemen like bassist John Tate, pianist Jim Baker, saxophonist Greg Ward, and bassist James Singleton.

-Squidco 9/22/2021

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"James Singleton is an acoustic bassist, composer, and producer. He is a member of the New Orleans-based jazz group Astral Project with Johnny Vidacovich, Tony Dagradi, and Steve Masakowski. He has been described as one of the best and most sought after bassists in New Orleans.

He has performed with John Scofield, Stanton Moore, and John Medeski as well as John Abercrombie, Art Baron, Ellis Marsalis, Earl Turbinton, Eddie Harris, Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown, Lionel Hampton, Arnett Cobb and Banu Gibson among others. He has recorded with Chet Baker, Alvin "Red" Tyler, James Booker, Johnny "Tan Canary" Adams, Charlie Rich and Zachary Richard among others.

He produced Astral Project's Elvado which won OffBeat magazine's 1998 Best Modern Jazz Album of the year award. Although Elvado has been described as "straight-ahead bop-influenced jazz with a Crescent City ambiance" Astral Project's live performances are also known for improvisation which Singleton has described as "composing in the groove."

He has led projects such as "3 Now 4," "The James Singleton Orchestra" and "The James Singleton Trio."

Some of Singleton's recent projects include playing as a member of the New Orleans saxophonist Robert Wagner Trio and the New Orleans keyboardist Robert Walter Trio. In early 2007 he toured nationally with Skerik and Mike Dillon. In 2008 various projects included an experimental jazz string quartet composed of two former Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra members Dave Rebeck and Matt Rhody as well as cellist Helen Gillet. Singleton moved to Los Angeles after Hurricane Katrina, but continued to perform frequently in New Orleans. In December 2008, Singleton returned to New Orleans."

-Wikipedia (

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"Greg Ward is a saxophonist and composer that was born in Peoria, IL. Currently based in Chicago, Ward has had the opportunity to perform and record with a varied group of artists like Prefuse 73, Lupe Fiasco, Tortoise, William Parker, Andrew D'Angelo, and Mike Reed.

In 2000, Ward began his studies at Northern Illinois University where he worked with Steve Duke, Fareed Haque, Ron Carter, and Joey Sellers. Already interested in composition, having the opportunity to compose for NIU's jazz combos deepened his understanding of the inner-workings of music. Also, working with composer and arranger, Joey Sellers, equipped Ward with some important tools to further explore this new love.

Around his sophomore year in college, Ward started spending many nights performing in the jazz clubs of Chicago. Soon, he would meet another one of his mentors, saxophonist, Fred Anderson, who would later select him to host a jam session at the Velvet Lounge for four years. During this time period, Ward experienced much growth as a performer and composer and developed a vibrant community of performers, artists, dancers, and listeners.

After graduating from NIU in 2004 with a degree in Jazz Studies/Saxophone Performance, Ward moved to Chicago and took advantage of every opportunity that was offered to him. Composing two pieces for the International Contemporary Ensemble, performing a quartet composition for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra's Chamber Music Series, composing Wings for the Peoria Ballet Company, and being commissioned by the Jazz Institute of Chicago for a new composition, which was performed at the Chicago Jazz Festival in 2009, are just a few of the many experiences that shaped Ward during his years in Chicago.

In 2009, Ward decided to move to New York City. Almost immediately after he arrived in NYC, he began working with JazzReach, an NYC-based jazz education organization that shares multi-media programs throughout the US. In 2010, he would produce his first CD as a leader with his Chicago-based band, Fitted Shards. South Side Story received much critical acclaim, including "Recording of the Year" by the Chicago Tribune. Next, in 2011, Ward formed Phonic Juggernaut, which features Damion Reid on drums and Joe Sanders on bass. Together, they recorded and released a CD on Thirsty Ear Recordings that same year. Also, in 2011, Ward composed and performed a commission from the Brazos Valley Symphony Orchestra for a concerto for jazz quartet and string orchestra. In 2012, Ward was selected as one of the two New Music USA Van Lier Fellows. In 2014, he received a commission/residency from the Jazz Gallery and premiered Capturing Sunlight, which was an hour-long work for septet and included a short documentary by Diana Quinones Rivera. The Capturing Sunlight project was inspired by the life and work of Preston Jackson.

Recently, Ward has collaborated with another composer, sound designer, and performer, Caleb Willitz. First, they composed the film score for Beresford Bennett's film, Pinch, which was an official selection of the 2015 San Diego Black Film Festival. Second, Ward and Willitz will be releasing an electro-acoustic project, Gaps and Spaces: Synoptic Optiks."

-Greg Ward Website (

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track listing:

1. Dragons In Denver 14:43

2. Salt Lines / Storybook Skyline 21:34

3. Convulsive 9:29

4. Too Toney 8:54
sample the album:

descriptions, reviews, &c.

"Are you Charles Rumback?

A chance encounter, if such a thing exists, found the drummer/composer, jet-lagged on a barstool, post-soundcheck, on a Friday in a tiny Sydney club. Calling out of context, like an incredulous kid recognizing their grade school teacher in line at the grocery store, was renowned New Orleans bassist James Singleton, having recognized Rumback from a gig just 5 days prior at the Skylark way back in Chicago. Little did Singleton know however, earlier that same Skylark Monday, Rumback overheard him reading the riot act to a young studio intern for walking in and disrupting his live recording session mid-song at Strobe Studios.

A ruined take or a promising beginning? It was too early to tell whether it was harmonic convergence or mere coincidence, but a random recognition a world away from one of New Orleans' top flight musicians was notable to Rumback. After all, this was the same guy who, besides backing everyone from Professor Longhair to Chet Baker, a teenage Charles had seen perform in Kansas City with his long-running group Astral Project nearly 20 years ago.

At the behest of two close musician friends, Chicago guitarist Steve Marquette and New Orleans trombonist Jeff Albert, a seed was planted to pair Singleton in a "first meeting" with Rumback's working trio with saxophone titan Greg Ward and intrepid piano player Jim Baker at the 2017 edition of the Instigation Festival - a sort of Chicago/NOLA free (jazz?) trade agreement founded my Marquette celebrating the century-plus cross-pollination of the two storied jazz cities.

Rumback initially hoped to write and record brand new tunes for the date, but his other working trio - the one consisting of his 2-year-old son and newborn twin daughters - was taking up too much time to get any new ideas on paper. So what transpires on Cadillac Turns are off-the-cuff, live versions of some of Rumback's finest compositions rendered anew by the Crescent City bounce that SIngleton is known far and wide for. The inherent X factor that James brings to the date is only heightened by the fact that he was reading Rumback's charts for the first time on the bandstand, bringing new blooms to seeds planted so long ago.

Often times, an emerging artist seems in a hurry to get somewhere, with nodestination, looking for a vehicle that can start and stop on a dime and give nine cents change. Now arguably a mid-career artist, Rumback knows which direction he is headed, slows his roll (but doesn't let up) just enough to recognize the beauty of the trip itself. And, with Baker, Ward, and Singleton in tow, he makes it seems easy, like the wide swing of a Cadillac pulling a u-ey in the middle of Western Ave., Chicago's longest road."-Astral Spirits

Related Categories of Interest:

Improvised Music
Free Improvisation
Chicago Jazz & Improvisation
Quartet Recordings
Melodic and Lyrical Jazz
Friends of Squid

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