Music News

Free-Jazz Gurus Abbey Rader and John McMinn Get Wild at PAX August 24

The slick, jet-black spirit of cool jazz is embodied by the mythological street corner saxophonist. We picture him as a guy in fedora and shades, knees bent in ecstasy, torso shaking back and forth as his lungs push air through his pursed lips to rip forth some of the cheesiest sax this side of being put on hold with tech support.

He's got his saxophone case open on the floor in front of him. It's filled only with a few quarters and an eschatological Jews For Jesus pamphlet. But he doesn't care. The moon is rising. The alley cats are rousing and this cool cat is illuminated by the corner streetlight like a cornball virtuoso under the soft gaze of a nightclub's spotlight.

Less familiar than this iconic, archetypal goof is the free-jazz wildman, a lone-wolf sonic shaman who charges down a city street blaring "End Is Near!" freakouts for heads to feel and squares to fear.

On August 24, PAX gets a taste of jazz's wild side with percussionist Abbey Rader and saxophonist John McMinn.

Both gentleman vigorously engage free jazz's linear, improv-based dialogue.

Rader is a Bronx kid whose love of swing and bop led him to an Alice in Wonderland-style rabbit hole that yielded two decades' worth of gigging around Europe in various ensembles, not to mention a little side work as a jazz drumming professor at a German university.

Matching Rader's rolling, free-flowing spurts of rhythm is John McMinn's blend of multidirectional -- syncopated to wailing -- sax styling. McMinn is a veteran of big-name jazz events like the Newport Jazz Festival and the London Saxophone Festival. And as evident in the above video, he and Rader have been vibing together for quite some time.

Abbey Rader and John McMinn as part of PAX Presents: Jazz Without the Sauerkraut. Wednesday, August 24. PAX, 337 SW Eighth St., Miami. The concert begins at 8 p.m. and cover costs $7 for adults or $5 for students. Call 305-640-5847 or visit

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Matt Preira