A few days ago reedist, bandleader, and composer Ken Vandermark announced the formation of his own record label, Audiographic. The move follows on the heels of similar projects by two of his collaborators: drummer Tim Daisy’s Relay Recordings and saxophonist Dave Rempis’s Aerophonic Records. The new imprint will release new recordings in editions of 500, on LP and/or CD, as with the first two releases (out yesterday), both by Vandermark’s latest large band, Audio One—Vandermark, Daisy, Rempis, vibist Jason Adasiewicz, trombonist Jeb Bishop, cornetist Josh Berman, bassist Nick Macri, saxophonist Nick Mazzarella, violist Jen Paulson, and reedist Mars Williams. Releases will also be available as high-quality digital downloads, which will be included for free with the purchase of a physical format. Audiographic will also produce books combining text and photography, which Vandermark hopes to make available in the fall. In an e-mail he writes that one of the forthcoming books “will combine images and a scenario created for a ‘fictitious film’, which I will compose a soundtrack for. The soundtrack will be included with the book.”

Regular readers probably know that Audio One started out as Celebrating the Midwest School, a band originally launched to explore the music of important composers from the region like Anthony Braxton, Henry Threadgill, Roscoe Mitchell, and Julius Hemphill. Recordings made by that band live at the Green Mill this past winter turn up on the album called The Midwest School. But as that project evolved, Vandermark began writing new material, and that stuff turns up on the other release, An International Report. Down the road Vandermark plans a duo recording with trumpeter Nate Wooley to be recorded at the upcoming Okka Fest 6 in Milwaukee, and a release by Misale Legesse—a quartet with Rempis, Daisy, Vandermark, and drummer Paal Nilssen-Love—recorded live at last year’s Okka Fest 5. Below you can check out Audio One’s raucous version of the Art Ensemble of Chicago classic “Theme de YoYo.”

Following a nice six-and-a-half-year run, the weekly Ratchet Series at the Skylark came to an end this past April. A new tenant living atop the Pilsen bar complained about the noise, and one of the scene’s more relaxed Monday jazz weeklies was soon kaput. Luckily, the crew (drummer Frank Rosaly, saxophonist Nick Mazzarella, and bassist Anton Hatwich) has found a new home at the Charleston. The series will now be monthly, running the first Monday of each, beginning June 2, when Sabertooth makes a rare appearance outside of its two-decades-plus Saturday-night slot at the Green Mill. The organizers plan to document each performance with photos and sound recordings, both of which will later be posted on the series website for free viewing and listening. I’m delighted to announce that I accepted their offer to spin music at the inaugural Charleston event, which begins at 9 PM.

Dark Matters Astro-Black blend
  • courtesy of Dark Matter Coffee
  • Dark Matter’s Astro-Black blend

Speaking of things I have my hands in, on Wednesday the Chicago Jazz Festival (I volunteer for the committee that programs the music) copresents a free performance by Philadelphia producer and DJ King Britt at Constellation that serves several promotional functions. It will serve as a launch for the festival’s Neighborhood Nights programming (a series of free concerts taking place around the city during the summer, leading up to the Labor Day weekend festival) as well as the introduction of a new coffee blend developed by local roasters Dark Matter to celebrate the centennial of jazz visionary Sun Ra—the blend is called Astro-Black, and the packaging was designed by the Wicker Park gallery Corbett vs. Dempsey. Corbett will also spin Sun Ra music at the event. Ra’s Arkestra, led by saxophonist Marshall Allen since the keyboardist died in 1993, will play the final set of this year’s festival on Sunday, August 31. Britt will perform a new work called “The Fholston Paradigm Live Transmission Mix,” which weaves a random CB radio transmission into a musical interpretation of Ra’s classic “Space is the Place.” Check it out below.

Dark Matter Coffee Presents: SPACE IS THE PLACE (KING BRITT FHLOSTON PARADIGM TRANSMISSION) by Dark Matter Coffee™ on Mixcloud

Today’s playlist:

Sean Bergin, Nansika (Data)
Otis Redding, Pain in My Heart (Atco)
Natalie Maines, Mother (Columbia)
Jam da Silva, Dia Santo (independent)
1982, Pintura (Hubro)