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Chicago has nurtured jazz since its infancy

There’s been jazz in Chicago for nearly as long as there’s been jazz. While jazz is commonly said to have ridden the rails to Chicago around 1916, when the Great Migration of African Americans from the south to the north kicked into gear, Dixieland bandleader Wilbur Sweatman had played gigs on the city’s south side […]

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Nicole Mitchell and Lisa E. Harris explore soulful Afrofuturist visions on EarthSeed

A friend in Houston recently described multidisciplinary artist and space goddess Lisa E. Harris as a “force of nature” in the Texas scene and beyond. Upon investigation, I had to concur. Harris channels the Afrofuturism of Sun Ra, the transcendent devotionals of Alice Coltrane, and the deep-listening experiments of Pauline Oliveros—all while maintaining her own […]

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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 […]