Bells, recorders, and watering cans craft a sound environment alongside more conventional instruments (trombone, saxophones, trumpet) on the title track of Roscoe Mitchell’s debut LP, Sound. The first record gathering together an iteration of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM), Sound, and especially “Sound,” was crafted, according to Mitchell, “[for] musicians to […]
John McCowen has made a career of transforming the contrabass clarinet into an instrument all his own. Born in Carbondale and now based in Reykjavik, Iceland, the composer got involved with music as a hardcore vocalist in the mid-2000s, then spent several years playing saxophone and flute with stoner outfit Tweak Bird before turning his […]
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 […]
Ensemble dal Niente commissions and selects new music that earns the designation “new” not just because it’s freshly composed; it also challenges both players and audiences to experience performance in new ways. This program, jointly presented by Ear Taxi and the Hyde Park Jazz Festival, draws on the resources of Chicago in two ways. First, […]
Burr Oak debuts with a long-gestating album of dreamy folk-pop, Experimental Sound Studio hosts an all-star fundraiser in its backyard, and more.
Ari Brown hasn’t often sought the spotlight, but his blend of bebop rigor and avant-garde daring puts him on par with the likes of Fred Anderson and Von Freeman.
For nearly 70 years, Bob Koester owned the Jazz Record Mart and Delmark Records—and though his businesses could be “crazy town,” they helped nurture thriving communities.
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 […]
When the Art Ensemble of Chicago reinvented itself as an orchestra for its 50th-anniversary recording, last year’s We Are on the Edge, the idea didn’t come out of thin air. It reflected a use of the classical methods and sounds that the ensemble’s lone surviving founder, woodwind and percussion player Roscoe Mitchell, has been pursuing […]
Moor Mother and Roscoe Mitchell met in 2017 when they played back-to-back at Skaņu Mežs, an experimental music festival in Riga, Latvia. Mitchell, who plays a vast assortment of woodwind and percussion instruments, got his start in the mid-60s as an early member of visionary Black arts organization the Association for the Advancement of Creative […]
Art Ensemble cofounders Roscoe Mitchell and Famoudou Don Moye expand the group into an 18-piece big band with the likes of Nicole Mitchell, Tomeka Reid, Jaribu Shahid, and Fred Berry.
Chicago singer, composer, and multi-instrumentalist Angel Bat Dawid talks about the improvisation and inspiration that shaped her new album, The Oracle.
The compelling characters at this year’s Jazz Festival include avant-garde elder Roscoe Mitchell, indefatigable experimenter Mary Halvorson, and defiantly joyful South African survivor Louis Moholo-Moholo.
AACM elder and Art Ensemble of Chicago founder Roscoe Mitchell honors a record label that helped his innovations reach the world.
On Meltframe she uses the compositions of others to say plenty about herself.