Posted inMusic

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 […]

Posted inMusic

Expatriates Fred Lonberg-Holm and Jaimie Branch return to Chicago, and they’re ready to party

Cello and electronics player Fred Lonberg-Holm, who lived in Chicago until 2017, and Norwegian drummer Ståle Liavik Solberg are the Party Knüllers. The name of the duo is a bit deceptive; their freewheeling approach to improvising is more like a friendly (but not too friendly) game of street ball than Andrew W.K.-style headbanging. But they […]

Posted inMusic

As Anteloper, Jaimie Branch and Jason Nazary push in a bruising, electronics-kissed direction

Former Chicago trumpeter Jaimie Branch was one of last year’s big success stories in jazz. Her long-overdue debut as a leader, Fly or Die (International Anthem), captured her protean strength and melodic vision with stunning concision and soul, and synthesized some of her many musical interests into a cogent postbop direction that allowed for plenty […]