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Ensemble dal Niente and Ken Vandermark explore the ties between chamber music and jazz

Ensemble dal Niente commissions and selects new music that earns the designation “new” not just because it’s freshly composed; it also challenges both players and audiences to experience performance in new ways. This program, jointly presented by Ear Taxi and the Hyde Park Jazz Festival, draws on the resources of Chicago in two ways. First, […]

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A multigenerational trio reaffirms the wide-open aesthetic of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians

Trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith has made recordings over the past decade that celebrate uplifting movements, such as the Occupy protests and the civil rights struggle, and great jazz musicians, including Thelonious Monk and Miles Davis. At first glance Sun Beans of Shimmering Light, a six-year-old concert recording of a group that played just a handful […]

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The Awakening’s reissue of 1972’s Hear, Sense and Feel still uplifts through jazz and R&B

When the Awakening formed in the early 1970s, they combined veterans of Chicago’s R&B sessions and jazz players affiliated with the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians. The sextet drew on these diverse sources for its 1972 debut album, Hear, Sense and Feel, which is being reissued domestically this month as part of Real […]

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Legendary percussionist Kahil El’Zabar brings the Afrocentric spiritual-jazz explorations of his Ethnic Heritage Ensemble to Evanston

Prolific musician Kahil El’Zabar has hardly gone unnoticed, but I wish every music fan knew about this living legend. The son of a drummer, El’Zabar was born Clifton Blackburn in Chicago in 1953, and raised on the city’s south side. He joined the Association of the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) at age 18, and […]

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George Lewis is the guest of honor at this year’s Experimental Sound Studio Gala

Experimental Sound Studio has been assisting boundary-pushing artists since 1986. It provides studio services, opportunities to perform and show work, events that facilitate dialogues between artists and audiences, and archiving resources for avant-garde and exploratory music materials that might otherwise be lost. This year’s ESS gala fund-raiser has a twofold purpose: to help finance upgrades […]