In November 2020, Chicago multi-instrumentalist Ben LaMar Gay debuted his long-form composition Certain Reveries at a London Jazz Festival livestream show. The performance was no mere park-and-play: wearing a black hooded shawl that recalled the grim reaper, Gay played electronics, synths, and of course his cornet, and in collaboration with brilliant percussionist Tommaso Moretti, he […]
Tag: Chicago Jazz
Matt Ulery’s Become Giant is a towering addition to the bassist-composer’s catalog
Most bassists have to be chameleons. It’s more or less in the job description when your instrument can be played upright or electric, be bowed or plucked, and appear in settings as disparate as minimal jazz trios and full-blown symphony orchestras. But few bassists shape-shift as effortlessly and as often as Matt Ulery, a Chicago […]
With the spiritual jazz of I AM, Isaiah Collier and Michael Shekwoaga Ode go Beyond the cosmos
Saxophonist Isaiah Collier and his celebrated quartet, the Chosen Few, are among our city’s mightiest conduits of spiritual jazz. So when Collier and Chosen Few percussionist Michael Shekwoaga Ode shared a wildfire studio improvisation while recording last year’s Cosmic Transitions, they knew immediately they wanted to keep that heat blazing. Thus their duo project, I […]
Saxophonist and former Chicagoan Aram Shelton is back in town and playing better than ever
Early experiences count for a lot. After reedist Aram Shelton moved to Chicago in 1999, fresh out of college, he became an integral part of an interdependent community of jazz musicians who were ready to realize one another’s concepts. Shelton left town in 2005, but he’s continued his practice of embedding himself in a scene, […]
Isaiah Collier & the Chosen Few take an intergalactic jazz journey on Cosmic Transitions
In fall 2019, WTTW arts producer Marc Vitali profiled young jazz visionary Isaiah Collier, who has become a vital force in the Chicago scene. “We should not let anything limit us,” Collier said. “People say the sky’s the limit, I don’t think that’s true either. There’s a whole galaxy above all this atmosphere. No matter […]
Local drummer and bandleader Tim Daisy introduces two new bands
In January 2021, I profiled local percussionist Tim Daisy by detailing his creative response to the limitations imposed by COVID-19. At the time, he had just issued a virtual collaboration with electronic musician Ikue Mori on his own label, Relay Recordings. While Daisy has continued to exploit the potentialities of home recording and technologically facilitated […]
Dave Rempis and Avreeayl Ra’s saxophone-drums duo comes in from the COVID cold
Bennu, the first duo recording by saxophonist Dave Rempis and drummer Avreeayl Ra, takes its name from an avian Egyptian divinity that created itself and also helped bring the world into being. It’s a fitting title for a completely improvised performance, especially one that ended the longest stretch without a gig that either had endured […]
Hot jazz saxophonist Boyce Brown ended his career as a Servite monk
Alto saxist Boyce Brown, aka Brother Matthew, won a Down Beat readers’ poll in 1940, but because he recorded so rarely he’s all but forgotten today.
Local pianist Matt Piet drops a dazzling new trio album
He celebrates the release of Of Sound Mind with a performance Saturday at Constellation
An exit interview with departing clarinetist James Falzone and a rare set by Chris Dammann’s Restroy
Clarinetist James Falzone is moving to Seattle after landing a gig at Cornish College of the Arts.
3.5.7. Ensemble is Chicago’s incredible shrinking (or growing) jazz band
The group’s new album Amongst the Smokestacks and Steeples deserves to net them greater visibility.
Recently discovered vintage Chicago bebop from George Davis
Corbett vs. Dempsey unleash rare Chicago bebop from 1949.
Chicago reedist and composer Keefe Jackson steps up his game
The compositional beauty and skillful arrangements on his new album, A Round Goal, match the musician’s talents as an improviser.
Downloadable jazz from Tim Daisy and Dave Rempis for your weekend
New music from Tim Daisy’s Relay label and a free download of a rare session by the Rempis Percussion Quartet