Friday, March 4, is the 20th installment of what’s become known as Bandcamp Friday, when Bandcamp passes along its usual share of revenue to the independent artists and labels selling music through the site. But that occasion was overshadowed somewhat this morning, when Bandcamp CEO Ethan Diamond announced that the company is “joining” Epic Games. […]
Tag: Susan Alcorn
A concert-by-concert guide to the Frequency Festival
After a COVID gap year, the Frequency Festival returns on February 22. The six-day event is an outgrowth of the Frequency Series, which is programmed by former Chicago Reader staff music critic Peter Margasak and hosted by Constellation. Founded in 2013, shortly after drummer and promoter Mike Reed opened the north-side venue, the series presents […]
New-music feast the Frequency Festival returns after taking a COVID year
Former Reader staff writer Peter Margasak has been programming the Frequency Series at Constellation since 2013, bringing in artists from across the wide spectrum of experimental and new music for weekly showcases. Since 2016 Margasak has also booked the annual Frequency Festival, which skipped 2021 for obvious reasons; the festival will return for its sixth […]
Jonn Wallen of Oui Ennui marks his 17th post-COVID record with a live show
Jonn Wallen of Oui Ennui marks his 17th post-COVID record with a live show, the second Make Noise Myanmar comp rallies musicians against the military coup, and more.
Veteran pedal steel guitarist Susan Alcorn releases her first album as a bandleader
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 […]
Mary Halvorson recruits singer Robert Wyatt to take her Code Girl project to the next level
You don’t get a MacArthur “genius” grant just for thinking big; you get one because your big ideas work extraordinarily well. Mary Halvorson, who was awarded the grant last year, has earned hers by moving from strength to strength. Ever since she began recording in the mid-2000s, she’s projected a strikingly personal voice on the […]
Pedal steel virtuoso Susan Alcorn moves away from country toward free improvisation, tango, and more
Baltimore pedal-steel guitarist Susan Alcorn occupies a world unto herself in numerous ways that make the sounds she creates unlike anything else out there. Thanks to her parents, she was surrounded by music during her childhood in Florida, and she eventually took up the guitar. During a stint in Chicago in the mid-70s she became […]
New $50,000 prize in improvised music gives its first awards to Joe McPhee and Susan Alcorn
The Instant Award in Improvised Music, funded by an anonymous donor, recognizes the art form as a practice unto itself.
Mary Halvorson’s band keeps getting bigger—and better
New York guitarist Mary Halvorson brings her daring but sophisticated octet to Chicago for the first time.
The ten best jazz records of 2016
This year’s best jazz records include a large-ensemble concept album about conspiracy theories, a tug-of-war between loops and live-band grooves, and an amazing hybrid of jazz and hip-hop.