Milford Graves

The Empty Bottle

1035 North Western Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60622

In his Chicago debut, Milford Graves uses his own, hand-painted, hand-carved instruments, brought here by Lampo especially for this concert.

From John Corbett:

It’s not too often that you say someone single-handedly changed music. Of course, with Milford Graves that would be a lie—he used both hands both feet to do it!

In the mid-60s, Graves sprung on the scene, replete with a background in various Latin and jazz contexts (he’s on some killing Mongo Santamaria records), having played on Hugh Masekela and Miriam Mekeba sessions. What he introduced was not only the concept of non-metrical drumming, which Rashied Ali and Sunny Murray were also working on, but a whole range of startling new techniques and a basic sensibility toward sound and energy that catalyzed a generation of percussionists, particularly European ones. Working with the New York Art Quartet, in duets with Don Pullen, and in contexts with Albert Ayler, Graves helped transform the role of the drummer in jazz, and in the process he created a vivid, absolutely unique musical persona that touched anyone who let it get near them.

His solo performances have been the stuff of legend for decades, and it’s a great testament to John Zorn that he issued Graves’ first ever solo recording on Tzadik last year; that disc, Grand Unification, shows that far from being a historical figure, Graves is continuing to push the envelope.

We are beside ourselves that Milford Graves will be playing for us. He’s never been in Chicago before. He’s one of the all-time greats. Anyone with an ounce of sense will be there.

Presented in conjunction with the Empty Bottle Jazz Series