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Improvising trio Icepick renew jazz’s love affair with the El on their third LP, Hellraiser

Sun Ra may have told everyone he was from Saturn, but the Afrofuturistic avant-gardist spent the 1950s in Chicago. While he was here, he recorded “El Is a Sound of Joy,” jazz’s greatest tribute to the city’s public transport system. No one in improvising trio Icepick—bassist Ingebrigt Håker Flaten, trumpeter Nate Wooley, and drummer Chris […]

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A pair of Italian experimentalists help Ken Vandermark and Hamid Drake cross into new territory

For decades, percussionist Hamid Drake and reedist Ken Vandermark have sustained a partnership founded upon a deep engagement with the history of free jazz. Both within and outside the DKV Trio, their long-running ensemble with bassist Kent Kessler, their improvisations often arise from rhythmic foundations. But they’re also restless explorers, and on Open Border a […]

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Texan interdisciplinary artist and guitarist Sandy Ewen releases her first solo LP

Sandy Ewen’s music is a constant series of negotiations. She’s constantly seeing what new sounds she can get out of her guitar, using found objects such as steel-wool scrubbing pads, dowels, bolts, cat-grooming brushes, and lengths of chalk. She’s also an inveterate collaborator who relishes chances to test her compatibility with new acquaintances or to […]

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Three restless musicians—Ken Vandermark, Nate Wooley, and Paul Lytton—push one another to new horizons

Update: The Nate Wooley/Ken Vandermark/Paul Lytton trio have canceled their tour. This show will proceed with Kuzu and a duo of Vandermark and Lytton. Local clarinet and saxophone player Ken Vandermark, Brooklyn-based trumpeter Nate Wooley, and English percussionist Paul Lytton played their only handful of gigs as a trio in 2011, but their collective history […]

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Franco-Japanese quartet Kaze use dueling trumpets and contrasting compositional approaches to open up improvisational possibilities

Whether she’s playing keyboards or leading a jazz orchestra, Satoko Fujii revels in the dynamic range of the sounds at her disposal. On Fukushima (Libra 2017), she elicits sounds of forlorn birdsong and mass destruction from a group of New York musicians, and with her band Gato Libre, the most recent to visit Chicago, her […]

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Brooklyn-based saxophone and drum duo meld composition and improvisation seamlessly

Saxophonist Ingrid Laubrock and drummer Tom Rainey have been married to each other since 2010 and playing together since 2007, working as a duo as well as within larger ensembles, where they’ve collaborated with avant-garde jazz musicians such as Tim Berne and Mary Halvorson. Though the duo initially focused on improvisational music, a 2016 tour […]