Mind Maintenance is Joshua Abrams and Chad Taylor, two musicians whose concord transcends time, distance, genre, and instrumentation. They’ve been playing together since the 1990s, when they both lived in Chicago, and their collaborative relationship has endured since Taylor headed east 20 years ago. They’ve jointly backed the likes of singer Sam Prekop and cosmic […]
Tag: Chad Taylor
Fly or Die Live catches Jaimie Branch’s quartet reaching new heights
If the world can agree on one thing, it’s that 2020 was not our best year on record. For former Chicagoan Jaimie Branch, it should’ve been a time of triumph for her current quartet, Fly or Die. The group were riding the wave of a splendid sophomore LP, where Branch added vocals with tragically topical […]
Rob Mazurek’s latest with his Exploding Star Orchestra finds hope in the cosmos
Dimensional Stardust is a splendid sonic antidote for the spirit-damping insults of a year that can’t end soon enough—growth and transcendence are programmed into the album’s DNA. The Exploding Star Orchestra’s leader, multi-instrumentalist Rob Mazurek, started out playing idiomatically correct hard bop in Chicago’s jazz bars in the 1980s. These days he lives in Marfa, […]
Brooklyn saxophonist James Brandon Lewis finds inspiration in DNA on Molecular
On his new album, Molecular, Brooklyn saxophonist James Brandon Lewis showcases a vision that’s both microscopic and immense. In the liner notes he describes a compositional model that draws inspiration from the structural components of DNA, comparing the shape of the music to a double helix: “Within a single melodic line emerges a counter line […]
The Chicago Underground Quartet bottle their lightning again
For 19 years, the Chicago Underground Quartet’s first album was their only album—but now longtime collaborators Rob Mazurek, Jeff Parker, and Chad Taylor have recaptured the group’s freewheeling jazz spirit.
Jaimie Branch’s Fly or Die band celebrates a new record that nixes the sophomore jinx
Jaimie Branch’s 2017 debut LP, Fly or Die, heralded the arrival of an already mature talent. While it wasn’t a secret that she’s a superb trumpeter, it was her chops as a composer and bandleader that made the record stand out. She devised bold themes and galvanic grooves that inspired a band of elder musicians, […]
Rob Mazurek refracts melody and groove through cosmic complexity
Trumpeter and polymath Rob Mazurek returns to his old hometown with the adventurous quartet Desert Encrypts Vol. 1.
Genre-defying composer and improviser Rob Mazurek explores different parts of the world across three new recordings
Rob Mazurek came up through Chicago’s jazz community, and the Chicago Underground Duo (his long-standing partnership with drummer Chad Taylor, which has past lives as a trio, a quartet, and an orchestra) attests to his ongoing identification with the city’s heritage of genre-defying improvisational music. But Mazurek, whose artistic practice encompasses free improvisation, large-scale composition, […]
Bassist Eric Revis works at the conflux of the mainstream and its far-out tributaries
The quartet that bassist Eric Revis brings to Jazz Fest is packed with inside-outside explorers: pianist Kris Davis, reedist Ken Vandermark, and drummer Chad Taylor.
Breeders at the Vic and more of the best things to do in Chicago this week
Until the Flood at the Goodman and more goings-on 5/7-5/10.
Drummer Chad Taylor, a quintessential ensemble player, creates atmosphere and color on his solo debut
Over the past couple years, drummer Chad Taylor has been on fire, contributing to some of my favorite recordings, among them albums by trumpeter Jaimie Branch, bassist Eric Revis, and pianist Mara Rosenbloom. This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who’s been paying attention to jazz. In the late 90s Taylor cofounded the Chicago […]
Trumpeter Jaimie Branch finally spreads her wings
More than 12 years after her blazing debut on the Chicago jazz scene, trumpeter Jaimie Branch releases Fly or Die, her first album as a bandleader.
Victor Nwankwo of DJ duo We Theory on his Nigerian parents’ old records
Current musical obsessions of Rob Garmer and Victor Nwankwo (both halves of DJ duo We Theory)
12 O’Clock Track: Chicago Underground Duo, “Moon Debris”
New music from the Chicago Underground Duo
Matana Roberts releases the first chapter of a 12-part epic that traces African-American history back across the Atlantic.