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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 improvising trio of Jim Baker, Keefe Jackson, and Julian Kirshner specializes in surprise

Chicago’s improvisational music community has launched plenty of transformational figures over the decades. But while iconic individuals such as Sun Ra, Roscoe Mitchell, and Henry Threadgill have all changed the way people around the world approach music, a thriving scene also needs players who keep the fires burning every week in local clubs. Keefe Jackson […]

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Quin Kirchner merges eclectic sounds into transcendent jazz on The Shadows and the Light

The Shadows and the Light, the new album from Chicago drummer Quin Kirchner, is an eclectic collection of freewheeling studio performances with a diverse range of sounds. On its second track, “Batá Chop,” the album features influences of West African batá drum and traces of Afro-Cuban drumming (which Kirchner learned as a teenager while studying […]

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Charles Rumback’s trio reconciles freedom and lyricism on June Holiday

Like many other participants in Chicago’s contemporary jazz scene, drummer Charles Rumback is both a sideman and a leader. Whether backing singer-songwriters such as Steve Dawson and Angela James, playing space-bound Americana with guitarist Ryley Walker, swinging behind jazz saxophonist Dustin Laurenzi, or leading this trio with bassist John Tate and pianist Jim Baker, he […]