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Mako Sica & Hamid Drake: Ronda (Feeding Tube/Astral Spirits)

Since 2007, the free-improv-minded rock trio Mako Sica has been a vital cog in Chicago’s eclectic avant-garde scene, meandering through similar astral planes to the ones that beguiled John Coltrane, Sonny Sharrock, and hometown heroes the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM). The cosmic kinship that guitarist/trumpeter Przemyslaw Drazek, vocalist/guitarist Brent Fuscaldo, and … Read More “Mako Sica & Hamid Drake: Ronda (Feeding Tube/Astral Spirits)”

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Live Review: 2018 Chicago Jazz Festival

Nicole Mitchell’s Mandorla Awakening II: Emerging Worlds, which her Black Earth Ensemble performed at the Pritzker Pavilion on the first day of the 2018 Chicago Jazz Festival, is a visionary Afrofuturistic fable of new beauty arising from old—“merging,” as Mitchell has said, “the chalice with the blade, the urban with the earth-focused, the electronic/electric with … Read More “Live Review: 2018 Chicago Jazz Festival”

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Live Review: Red Bull Music Presents Round Robin in Chicago

Apparently, it was a total coincidence that Red Bull Music scheduled its Chicago “round robin” improvisation during the Chicago Jazz Festival. Perhaps also by coincidence, none of the 16 musicians participating at Thalia Hall on Aug. 30 were headliners at the festival in Millennium Park—although each of them, capped by the legendary saxophonist Roscoe Mitchell, … Read More “Live Review: Red Bull Music Presents Round Robin in Chicago”

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Chicago/Sao Paulo Underground Featuring Pharoah Sanders: Pharoah & the Underground: Spiral Mercury

Unlike many of his contemporaries, saxophonist Pharoah Sanders has never hesitated to embrace new technological trends, nor has he seemed to worry much about high art/low art distinctions. So it shouldn’t be surprising that this set, recorded live at the Jazz em Agosto Festival in Lisbon in 2013, finds him insinuating himself into the acoustic/electronic … Read More “Chicago/Sao Paulo Underground Featuring Pharoah Sanders: Pharoah & the Underground: Spiral Mercury”

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