JAZZ | Peter Margasak
Jazz drummer Tim Daisy is a Chicago fixture who can finesse a swinging groove or detonate a free-improv blowout with equal aplomb. The many bands he plays with include international improvising quartet Inner Ear, the brawny Engines, and James Falzone’s shape-shifting Klang. He’s written chamber jazz for Vox Arcana and postbop with the New Fracture Trio, and this weekend he unveils his first composition for a significantly bigger group: Gestures for Large Ensemble, for 12 musicians, will score a new work called This Is Not a Dance Concert by Chicago dance company the Seldoms. They’ll present it three times on Sat 2/4 at the Harris Theater, at 7:00, 8:15, and 9:30 PM; for more, see Laura Molzahn’s Reader Recommends.
Daisy met the Seldoms’ artistic director, Carrie Hanson, in summer 2009, when he was giving a solo concert at Experimental Sound Studio. He ended up writing and performing a solo percussion piece for Marchland, which the company premiered in March 2010 at the Museum of Contemporary Art. For This Is Not a Dance Concert, Daisy and Hanson began working independently, but for the past month they’ve been rehearsing together, editing and reshaping their material. Daisy paid for rehearsal space and recording with a $1,100 grant from New Music USA, and he raised $3,630 through Kickstarter to cover artist fees.
Joining Daisy in the ensemble, where he’ll play percussion and marimba, are clarinetist James Falzone, trombonist Jeb Bishop, trumpeter Jaimie Branch, pianist Paul Giallorenzo, bassist Anton Hatwich, bass clarinetist Jeff Kimmel, violist Jen Clare Paulson, pianist Marc Riordan (who’ll double on percussion), drummer Frank Rosaly, percussionist Lilliana Wosko, and bassoonist Katie Young. They’re all accomplished improvisers, and Daisy’s composition calls for plenty of improvising. Every performer has some written material to work through at his or her own pace, and to help create thematic consistency some of that material turns up in everyone’s parts.
The musicians will be broken up into four subgroups for most of the performance—two in the lobby, one backstage, and one in the main stage area. The audience, also in four groups, will be guided around the theater with the dancers, and everyone, crowd included, will end up onstage. Daisy has already recorded three short versions of the piece and plans to collect them on a release from his CD-R label Relay in the fall.
HIP-HOP | Leor Galil
Chicago is full of young rappers with great potential, and two of them are making big moves. Last week Donald Pullen (aka Rockie Fresh) dropped his third mix tape, Driving 88, and next week Marcale Lewis (aka Calez) of the 2008ighties crew will release his first official album, Kid With Raps.
Rockie Fresh has gotten plenty of buzz from outlets like XXL and URB since his previous mix tape, The Otherside, and on Driving 88 he sounds ready for the national spotlight. With its road-to-success lyrics and Back to the Future theme—88 miles per hour is the speed Doc Brown’s DeLorean had to reach to travel through time—Driving 88 could hardly be clearer about Rockie’s ambitions for the future. Its sleek production and smooth pop sound ought to help—and so will guest drops from the likes of Phil Ade and King Louie.
Calez is even younger than Rockie—he turns 20 on Saturday—but he’s already released three mix tapes. He’s dreamed of being a rapper for years: on album opener “Play First,” he tells the story of his third-grade teacher’s perplexed reaction to his career choice. “You’re probably gonna have to have a plan B,” she says.
Once Calez’s mom got called to school for a parent-teacher conference because he’d been caught passing a note to a friend filled with rap lyrics—and he hadn’t exactly skimped on the profanity. “I thought I was gonna get an ass whooping,” he says. “I was praying and shit right before they went in. I was like, I’ll never rap again . . . but I didn’t get in trouble.”
He didn’t stop rapping either. Calez sounds confident on Kid With Raps, delivering rhymes about his grind with a drive that’s just as impressive as Rockie’s. Kid With Raps drops Mon 2/6, and Calez will celebrate its release on his birthday, Sat 2/4, with a 6 PM listening party at Jugrnaut, 427 S. Dearborn.
METAL | Kevin Warwick
When guitarist Mat Arluck lost his battle with cancer and died at his parents’ Seattle home on Thanksgiving 2009, his friend and Sweet Cobra bandmate Jason Gagovski knew right away that Chicago owed him a show of thanks for his contributions to the local metal scene. He helped put together a bill at the Beat Kitchen called Arluck Time on February 4, 2010 (what would’ve been Arluck’s 40th birthday), where all the bands were either tight buddies of Arluck’s or groups he’d been in; Lynyrd’s Innards, for instance, reprised a set of Black Flag covers they’d played with Arluck as a guest member, this time calling it “Mat Flag.” Gagovski says, “Mat had to move once things took a turn for the worse, but because he’d lived in Chicago for over a decade and most of his friends were here, the show served as a memorial and a celebration.”
The whole thing was captured on video that’s since been edited into a DVD, and this weekend—exactly two years later—Arluck Time returns as a combination concert, benefit, and release party. The DVD will sell for seven bucks and includes footage from Sweet Cobra, Cooler by the Lake, and Deminer, all of whom are playing this year’s Arluck Time show; it’s being released by Gagovski’s label, Hawthorne Street, in association with Deminer’s Randoman imprint. (There’s also a CD compilation of studio recordings from Arluck’s bands.) Records, shirts, and skateboard merch will be raffled off throughout the night. The show starts at 9:30 PM on Sat 2/4 at the Empty Bottle, and cover is $8. Cooler by the Lake headlines; Sweet Cobra, Deminer, Full On, and the Party Downers open. Proceeds benefit Grind for Life, an organization founded by skateboarder Mike Rogers that provides financial help to cancer patients and their families.