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Angel Bat Dawid finds creative kinship in Sistazz of the Nitty Gritty

Brotherhood, meet sisterhood. Those who know clarinetist, composer, and self-described “sonic archaeologist” Angel Bat Dawid from the incisive October release LIVE likely associate her with her stalwart seven-piece band, Tha Brotherhood, which backs her on that album. It was recorded during a fraught, frustrating 2019 European tour, but when the pandemic shuttered venues and stilled […]

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In Trios From the City of Big Shoulders, the Lincoln Trio dusts off overlooked Chicago chamber works

It’s Leo Sowerby’s summer. Had 2020 gone as planned, musicians across the city likely would have launched into 125th-anniversary celebrations for the late Chicago composer (1895–1968) and onetime St. James Cathedral organist. Any such plans were obviously tabled, but luckily for us, quasquicentennial recordings of Sowerby’s chamber works are nonetheless bubbling to the top of […]

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Arc Mountain is the underground-label collaboration you’ve been waiting for

Like doesn’t necessarily breed like—just ask all the friends for whom I’ve tried (and failed) to play cupid. But similarity is bliss for underground labels Deathbomb Arc and Hausu Mountain, which collaborated to release the compilation Arc Mountain on May 7. Based respectively in Los Angeles and Chicago, these eclectic, irreverent labels might be separated […]

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Damon Locks & Black Monument Ensemble’s Now is an essential album of the moment

Flipping through television channels. Flicking through radio stations. They’re quotidian actions—until they’re not. When you’ve lived through a year like 2020, every frequency delivers the same nightmare from a different angle. On Now (International Anthem), Chicago sound collagist Damon Locks and his Black Monument Ensemble confidently grasp the tuning dial of history. Like 2019’s Where […]

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The generation-spanning Fountain of Time is an intriguing peek into Chicago new-music lab the Grossman Ensemble

The Grossman Ensemble could be thought of as a new-music incubator. The resident ensemble of the Chicago Center for Contemporary Composition (CCCC) at the University of Chicago, the 13-piece group—which comprises some of the best contemporary players in the city—rehearses extensively with composers over the course of several weeks. Some of their commissions emerge collaboratively […]