A prolific bassist on the Chicago scene, Joshua Abrams has played in and recorded with any number of important bands over the past 15 years including Nicole Mitchell’s Black Earth Ensemble, Mike Reed’s Loose Assembly and Dave Rempis’ Aphelion trio. Abrams also has made his mark as a leader. The New York Times praised his 2010 album, Natural Information, as “one of the rough gems of the post-everything musical era.” On his acclaimed 2012 effort, Represencing, he played the guimbri, a three-stringed, lute-like instrument from North Africa.
The Joshua Abrams Quartet features vibraphonist Jason Adasiewicz, tenor saxophonist/bass clarinetist David Boykin and drummer Frank Rosaly, all of whom lead their own exceptional bands, two of which also are featured at this year’s festival. As heard on the acclaimed 2013 album, Unknown Known, this foursome applies exquisitely controlled free improvising to a chamber-style setting, creating a floating, dreamlike sound that is both ethereal and deeply soulful. It’s a sunrise sound: senses wide open, all notes vivid and clear.