Posted inBest of Chicago

Best new west-side arts space

To activist Glen Kehrein, it was appalling that Austin lacked a center for fine and performing arts to showcase the neighborhood’s homegrown talent. His dream was to convert the unused auditorium in the former Siena High School expansion—one of the city’s finest remaining examples of midcentury modern architecture—into a professionally equipped community arts center. Kehrein’s […]

Posted inMusic Feature

Before Detroit had Motown, Chicago had Vee-Jay

Vivian Carter and James Bracken formed Vee-Jay Records in 1953 to produce the “good music” that listeners of Vivian’s radio broadcasts and customers of her record store in Gary, Indiana, wanted to hear. By “good music,” her audience—largely southern-born African American migrants to the Chicago region—didn’t mean classical or pop. They hungered for electric blues, […]

Posted inMusic

Chicago celebrates a century of Black gospel

Chicago has earned bragging rights as the birthplace of Black gospel music. It was here that gospel was first composed, sung, played, published, promoted, recorded, broadcast, and formalized—the last via a national convention with regional chapters. Migrants to Chicago from the south in particular found comfort in it, because it articulated their shared experiences as […]

Posted inMusic

Tasha Cobbs Leonard celebrates unity in the historic Ryman Auditorium on her new live album

Gospel singer Tasha Cobbs Leonard produced her latest full-length album, Royalty: Live at the Ryman, with a multiracial, multigenre crew of singers and musicians who joined her on the storied boards of Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium on August 3. Even though the pandemic eliminated the possibility of a live audience, the Ryman was an ideal location […]