Constellation hasn’t hosted a New Year’s Eve bash since the Sun Ra Arkestra’s legendary fete in 2017. This year, the intimate venue ushers in 2023 with homegrown talents who could be considered Constellation all-stars. The evening is headlined by Natural Information Society, led by multi-instrumentalist Joshua Abrams; the five-piece ensemble realizes his teeming compositions (often […]
Since the 1950s, Chicago has hosted a succession of visionary Black musical groups and societies. They’re best known as purveyors of avant-garde jazz, but that characterization sells short Sun Ra and his Arkestra, the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM), and Phil Cohran’s Artistic Heritage Ensemble. Each was—and in some cases still is—a […]
Flutist Nicole Mitchell, cellist Tomeka Reid, and drummer Mike Reed initially formed Artifacts as a repertory group; the music on their 2015 debut album, Artifacts (482 Music), includes compositions by founding or early members of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians, among them Anthony Braxton, Muhal Richard Abrams, Amina Claudine Myers, and Roscoe […]
The 15th Hyde Park Jazz Festival, which took place last Saturday and Sunday, may have been the best ever. That’s a tall statement, given how many great ones there have been—but it’s less about ranking favorites and more about how good it felt to see such a beloved event getting back to its old self. […]
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 […]
I’m a live-music addict, and it sometimes feels completely unreal that I haven’t been to a concert in almost a year. But one of the pandemic’s few silver linings is that some musicians are digging into their archives and issuing old live material that might otherwise have stayed on the shelf. Such is the case […]
With short sets from small groups in unexpected spots, the Hyde Park Jazz Festival creates a communal experience that’s pandemic safe.
Staff from 22 Chicago music venues talk about how far they still are from normal—and what it’ll take to keep them around till we all get there.
Highlights of the 2020 Frequency Festival include a fusion of Carnatic music and jazz, a solo vocal piece for Diamond Reynolds, and programs of work by Eliane Radigue and Annea Lockwood.
It’s not hard to tell the difference between New Orleans and Chicago: open a window in the wintertime, or take back-to-back bites of gumbo and a hot dog. Each city has its own proud and particular musical traditions, including distinctive past and present approaches to jazz. Just like a meal of gumbo and a hot […]
This year’s lineup details a sprawling cross section of the genre, including world-changing explorers the Art Ensemble of Chicago, trad band the Fat Babies, venerable guitarist George Freeman, and restless experimenter Rob Mazurek.
Bandleader and drummer Mike Reed assembles an ensemble of composer-performers from The City Was Yellow, a “real book” documenting 30 years of the city’s jazz scene.
Jazz Fest’s ten days of neighborhood concerts, satellite shows, and aftersets include Kidd Jordan, Angel Bat Dawid, Jeff Parker, Marc Ribot, and Ben Sidran.
And how does the festival stack up against its peers on the sustainability front?
The Artifacts Trio first convened in 2015 in response to the 50th anniversary of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians. Flutist, vocalist, and electronicist Nicole Mitchell, cellist Tomeka Reid, and drummer Mike Reed have all held leadership roles in the organization; they also have a history more than a decade long of playing […]