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Mike Reed: Great expectations for Constellation


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For anyone who values innovation in music, the next few days could mark the beginning of a significant era in Chicago.

On Monday, Chicago jazz drummer and music producer Mike Reed will launch Constellation, a performing arts center that will feature an array of music—from experimental jazz to classical avant-garde — plus dance, film and other eclectic work.

Equally important, these genres often will intermingle at Constellation, as in the “Collision Theory" series produced by the Links Hall organization, which brings improvising dancers and jazz musicians onstage together.

Links Hall, in fact, will be moving into Constellation — located in the old Viaduct Theater at 3111 N. Western Ave. — and give the venue its debut performance with “Fraction: Dance in Progress" on Monday night. A few days later, the Instant Composers Pool Orchestra, a Dutch group of great renown and greater inventiveness, will launch the music offerings with a concert April 6.

From that point forth, music, dance, film and whatnot will rush into Constellation's three performance spaces: Studio A, with about 1,800 square feet and seating for 50 to 75; Studio B, with 2,800 square feet and seating for 100 to 150; and a lobby/bar area of about 1,000 square feet that will double as a performance space. Among the upcoming attractions will be the creative Chicago vocalist Dee Alexander on April 12; programming from the Chicago International Movies & Music Festival, April 18 to 20; a pairing of multi-instrumentalist Roscoe Mitchell with Reed on April 19; and venturesome pianist Craig Taborn on April 28.

An impressive first few weeks, at least on paper.

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