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Chicago indie-rock mainstays Eleventh Dream Day celebrate their 14th album, Since Grazed

When Chicago indie-rock stalwarts Eleventh Dream Day released their 14th album (and first in five years), Since Grazed, in April 2021, the pandemic prevented them from having a proper release party. The group, formed in 1983, are creeping up on their 40th anniversary, and though they didn’t hold together this long by being impatient, they […]

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Joshua Abrams and Chad Taylor concentrate their shared history in Mind Maintenance

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 […]

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Versatile instrumental trio Bitchin Bajas unspool new material at their first concert since 2019

For the past decade, local trio Bitchin Bajas have exemplified the virtues of patience and versatility. All three members play synthesizers, Cooper Crain and Daniel Quinlivan play organ, and Rob Frye plays woodwinds and percussion. They create plush, pulsing instrumentals with melodies that evolve at such a leisurely pace that you might not notice the […]

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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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Chicago squares off against New York City on the fourth volume of Mars Williams’s Ayler Xmas project

Among the myriad injuries inflicted upon Americans by COVID-19 (though admittedly one of the mildest) is the impossibility of attending your favorite holiday concert. For the past dozen years, Chicago-based saxophonist Mars Williams has hosted a unique variation on that seasonal tradition. Each December he convenes Witches & Devils, his combo devoted to the music […]