On March 22, 2022—what would’ve been Fred Anderson’s 93rd birthday—Experimental Sound Studio and its Creative Audio Archive announced the acquisition of a collection devoted to the beloved Chicago saxophonist, venue owner, scene anchor, and mentor. The CAA describes itself as “formed for the historical preservation of recordings, print, and visual ephemera related to avant-garde and […]
Foday Musa Suso absorbed centuries of tradition growing up in Gambia. As part of the griot caste, his family had performed a centuries-long role in Gambian society, narrating historical epics and singing praise songs while playing the kora, a harplike 21-string instrument his distant ancestors invented. Suso dreamed of bringing his music to places far […]
Since the 1950s, Chicago has hosted a succession of visionary Black musical groups and societies. They’re best known as purveyors of avant-garde jazz, but that characterization sells short Sun Ra and his Arkestra, the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM), and Phil Cohran’s Artistic Heritage Ensemble. Each was—and in some cases still is—a […]
Flutist Nicole Mitchell, cellist Tomeka Reid, and drummer Mike Reed initially formed Artifacts as a repertory group; the music on their 2015 debut album, Artifacts (482 Music), includes compositions by founding or early members of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians, among them Anthony Braxton, Muhal Richard Abrams, Amina Claudine Myers, and Roscoe […]
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, […]
There’s been jazz in Chicago for nearly as long as there’s been jazz. While jazz is commonly said to have ridden the rails to Chicago around 1916, when the Great Migration of African Americans from the south to the north kicked into gear, Dixieland bandleader Wilbur Sweatman had played gigs on the city’s south side […]
Ari Brown hasn’t often sought the spotlight, but his blend of bebop rigor and avant-garde daring puts him on par with the likes of Fred Anderson and Von Freeman.
My mother always told me, “When you get older, you’ll begin to see the world in shades of gray.” Generally speaking, she was right (as usual), but I often find that idiom falling short of my personal experience. Listening to the prismatic 12 Comp (ZIM) 2017, I finally understood why: I’d much rather see the […]
For nearly 70 years, Bob Koester owned the Jazz Record Mart and Delmark Records—and though his businesses could be “crazy town,” they helped nurture thriving communities.
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 […]
Tatsu Aoki left his native Tokyo in 1977 to study experimental film and settled in Chicago two years later. In addition to making films, he improvises, composes, and conducts music, playing bass, shamisen, and taiko drums, and by the early 1990s he’d connected with the local jazz scene, developing a particular affinity with past and […]
“I’ve been on this journey to be able to present within the jazz community. . . . To be a union of creative beauty.”
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 […]
The Year of Chicago Music has had less music in it than anybody anticipated, but we still have plenty to celebrate.
The band is already midflight as the sound fades up at the beginning of “You Are Free to Choose,” the opening track of the Junius Paul double LP Ism (International Anthem). Perhaps unintentionally, this parallels his career, which has also been in motion for some time. The Chicago-born-and-raised bassist first performed in 2002 at Fred […]