Powerhouse Sound, Ken Vandermark’s excellent electric quartet with guitarist Jeff Parker, drummer John Herndon, and bassist Nate McBride, debuts two new pieces in a rare appearance tonight at the Empty Bottle. The free show is presented by Stop Smiling magazine to celebrate its latest issue, which is devoted to jazz.

I can’t help but scoff a little at the declaration “Start appreciating America’s greatest art form” on the cover of a Chicago publication, and the issue’s design romanticizes a long-gone vision of jazz epitomized by the black-and-white photography of William Claxton and Francis Wolff, both of whom are prominently featured here. An interview with Ornette Coleman, for example, includes four photos shot by Wolff in the late 60s, as if Coleman’s work of the last four decades doesn’t really count.

On the other hand, it’s hard to complain when slick lifestyle mags pay any attention whatsoever to jazz. There’s a good piece on vibist Bobby Hutcherson, a thoughtful discussion between Eternals singer Damon Locks and guitarist Parker, and an excerpt from the forthcoming biography of Peter Brötzmann by John Corbett, who guest-edited the issue.

The band plays at 10:30 PM and bassist Josh Abrams–who interviewed drummers Robert Barry and Avreeayl Ra for the issue–and the magazine’s marketing director Ben Fasman will both DJ.

Today’s playlist:

Steve Nelson, Sound-Effect (HighNote)
Cave Singers, Invitation Songs (Matador)
Clint Eastwood & General Saint, Stop That Train (Greensleeves)
Various Artists, I Can’t Be Satisfied: The XL and Sounds of Memphis Story (Kent)
Steve Lantner Quartet, Paradise Road (Skycap)