Avant-garde jazz musicians have been uniting to better control their opportunities to perform, record, and engage with their communities at least since the 1960s, when the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) first convened in Chicago and the shorter-lived Jazz Composers Guild (which included Carla Bley, Sun Ra, Bill Dixon, and Archie Shepp) […]
Flipping through television channels. Flicking through radio stations. They’re quotidian actions—until they’re not. When you’ve lived through a year like 2020, every frequency delivers the same nightmare from a different angle. On Now (International Anthem), Chicago sound collagist Damon Locks and his Black Monument Ensemble confidently grasp the tuning dial of history. Like 2019’s Where […]
With its ongoing Quarantine Concerts, ESS has built connections faster and cheaper than it could have in person.
Catalytic Sound launches a streaming service to support improvising musicians, rapper-producer Rashid Hadee collaborates with the Primeridian, and more
For decades, Danny’s nurtured a devoted and welcoming community of music lovers—but it couldn’t survive the pandemic.
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, […]
With short sets from small groups in unexpected spots, the Hyde Park Jazz Festival creates a communal experience that’s pandemic safe.
The Year of Chicago Music has had less music in it than anybody anticipated, but we still have plenty to celebrate.
Black Monument Ensemble founder Damon Locks still feels the ripples from Soul Train 50 years after its Chicago premiere.
“Right before the shelter-in-place got announced, we started thinking: OK, how can we help?”
Chicago jazz guitarist Tim Stine drops an engagingly off-kilter new trio album, a 26-track compilation benefits the staff of the shuttered Crown Liquors, and more.
Damon Locks’s Black Monument Ensemble drop a live video to buoy a locked-down city, self-described “bohemian electronics” act Sip releases its first studio album, and more.
Here’s where to see who voted for what and how the points got divvied up.
The Reader polled dozens of critics to arrive at an absolutely indisputable ranked list of several hundred records that will definitely not start any arguments.
In a 2016 interview for Lewis University’s online arts journal, Jet Fuel Review, Chicago polymath Damon Locks spoke about running into celebrated artist Kerry James Marshall in a local comic book store. Locks, a vocalist, musician, and visual and video artist, was gratified to discover that they share the habit of checking out the comics, […]