When the pandemic shut down live music, Chicago gallery Corbett vs. Dempsey began presenting great online gigs via Experimental Sound Studio’s Quarantine Concerts series. I remember the excitement I felt when the gallery made a last-minute, low-key announcement, mostly to friends and supporters, that the sixth of its Sequesterfest livestreaming events would also be open […]
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) […]
With its ongoing Quarantine Concerts, ESS has built connections faster and cheaper than it could have in person.
No one else plays the pedal steel guitar like Susan Alcorn. She combines a command of the instrument’s orchestral range with an improvisational fluency that lets her take the instrument far beyond its usual idiomatic settings. She began playing professionally in Chicago country bars in the mid-1970s, then went on to hone her chops in […]
Many musicians and labels will donate the day’s Bandcamp money to support the fight for Black lives.
When you want to put together an improvising ensemble whose interactions will be unpredictable as well as satisfying, it helps to recruit someone who has your back and someone else who isn’t afraid to push the music somewhere you didn’t think it would go. For one night in December 2018, Chicago alto, tenor, and baritone […]
In January the DKV Trio released The Fire Each Time (Not Two), a six-CD box set documenting a string of gigs that percussionist Hamid Drake, bassist Kent Kessler, and reedist Ken Vandermark played with multi-instrumentalist Joe McPhee in four different countries during the last two months of 2017. This set—and previous DKV recordings featuring the […]
The Instant Award in Improvised Music, funded by an anonymous donor, recognizes the art form as a practice unto itself.
John Snyder lays downs gnarly, surging, needling analog synthesizer tones alongside multihorn player Joe McPhee on The Willisau Concert, a 1975 concert recording originally released by Hat Hut and recently reissued by Chicago’s Corbett vs. Dempsey. The album, which also features the explosive drumming of South African Makaya Ntshoko, is a typically quizzical affair for […]
Stellar Scandinavian quintet Atomic plays two Chicago shows this weekend, and its bassist and pianist have even more music to offer on their own.
The holiday season in Chicago often means great things for the city’s musical institutions, as local musicians who spend much of their time on the road coalesce in their hometown. Both reedist Ken Vandermark and percussionist Hamid Drake are road dogs, but in December they’re known to come together with longtime collaborator and bassist Kent […]
On Thursday at Constellation, Astral Spirits celebrates tape releases by Billington/Shippy/Wyche and Matt Lux’s Communication Arts Quartet.
Norwegian bassist Ingebrigt Håker Flaten stays busy in collaborations on both sides of the Atlantic, but he plays alone on this visit to Chicago.
Over the next week Chicagoans can see shows by a free-jazz pioneer, an emerging guitarist with an original sound, and a supergroup connected the heyday of hard bop.
Hamid Drake’s fluid fusion of jazz, reggae, and world-music percussion styles has made him an invaluable part of countless groups.