Carlos Niño and Miguel Atwood-Ferguson Credit: Kristie Kahns

In 2005, Los Angeles percussionist, DJ, arranger, and producer Carlos Niño began collaborating with fellow Angeleno Miguel Atwood-Ferguson, a multi-instrumentalist, composer, and music director. That year, Atwood-Ferguson joined Niño’s expansive soul-jazz collective, Build an Ark, and helped record studio albums by two of Niño’s other projects: With Voices, the final full-length from progressive hip-hop production duo AmmonContact, and Living Room, from jazzy downtempo unit the Life Force Trio (both were released in 2006). Chicago drummer Makaya McCraven clearly understood their partnership when he brought in Niño and Atwood-Ferguson to augment the hip-hop electricity and downtempo elasticity on the D side of his monumental 2018 double LP, Universal Beings. When McCraven celebrated the album’s release in November 2018, Niño and Atwood-Ferguson flew to Chicago to perform, and in their free time, the two of them played an improvised set opening for drummer Jeremy Cunningham at Co-Prosperity Sphere. Thus was birthed Chicago Waves (International Anthem), a live recording of that show that rests on the interplay between Atwood-Ferguson’s wafting violin and Niño’s minimal, trembling percussion. The musicians’ telepathic connection enlivens even the most hushed moments, lending an arresting charge to every microscopic shift.   v