The term “world music” has never been adequate to the task we’ve set it—even in its most benign reading, it implies a division between the listener and the rest of […]
When Sandra Cisneros talked about romance, writing, and faith over Zoom from her bright home in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, she discussed her own poetry but also referred to […]
Before Pilsen welcomed gallery spaces and Little Village became La Villita, the city’s Mexican population fought to make their voices heard and for places to live. Georgetown University historian Mike […]
Chicago shaped Jimmy and Syl Johnson, and the brothers stayed grounded here even as they became global heroes. The singer-guitarists moved up from Mississippi after World War II and played […]
Foday Musa Suso absorbed centuries of tradition growing up in Gambia. As part of the griot caste, his family had performed a centuries-long role in Gambian society, narrating historical epics […]
Eddie Thomas was one of Chicago’s greatest music promoters, and he might’ve been the most humble. While his name is linked in more ways than one to Curtis Mayfield’s, throughout […]
Black cartoonists from Chicago are featured in a new book and included in a new exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago.
After saxophonist Archie Shepp became known in the 1960s as a fierce musical and political voice in what was then called the avant-garde, he charted a different path. In 1977, […]
For the past few months, bassist Dezron Douglas and harpist Brandee Younger have dealt with the necessity of social distancing with their own kind of intimate gigs: a series of […]
Trombonist Papo Vázquez had plenty of reasons to feel reflective this past spring. He was about to record Breaking Cover, his tenth album under his own name, and he’d spent […]
On his new album, Molecular, Brooklyn saxophonist James Brandon Lewis showcases a vision that’s both microscopic and immense. In the liner notes he describes a compositional model that draws inspiration […]
Dayna Stephens’s melodic feel and versatility have made the New York-based saxophonist a key player in a wide range of ensembles. Veteran pianist Kenny Barron and inventive Australian bassist and […]
In the early 1970s, singer Paulette McWilliams quit ascending Chicago R&B group Rufus and recommended that her friend, Chaka Khan, take over the lead spot. The decision benefited everyone, even […]
When the Awakening formed in the early 1970s, they combined veterans of Chicago’s R&B sessions and jazz players affiliated with the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians. The sextet […]
Chicago funk superhero Captain Sky releases his first album in 40 years—and this time his mission includes mentoring Black teenagers on the south side.