From the Archives: Chicago Jazz Scene, Turn of the Century

poster from 2nd Jazz and Improvised fest at Empty Bottle Chicago 1998It’s often dawned on me that my early scribblings on the web may someday disappear without a trace yet I continuously forget to archive said posts — for posterity if nothing else. Well today I listened to this blistering set from last week’s Newport Jazz Festival and was transported to ten years ago, Empty Bottle, Tuesday night Vandermark Five sessions and the frenetic rhythm from the band set up living room style disrupting the magic in the air. Love how that sound pumps through my veins and so does the rest of the world.

Ken Vandermark continues blazing trails across Europe, Africa, and the Middle East while basing himself in Chicago with many of the same cats. I keep up with Ken via his daily Twitter and Facebook updates which highlight the daily undertakings of a creative troubadour in brief, diary-like entries. I still subscribe to the chi-improv Yahoo! group for sentiment. Little has changed in Chicago I imagine — although my visits are too rare. (Save for the tragic death of Malachi Ritscher and the recent passing of Fred Anderson). Still a few active venues and occasional improv backrooms shifted throughout the town and Peter Brötzmann, Ab Baars and the finest European improvisers still come over almost every year and the Chicago contingent of the Tentet visits Europe at least once a year.

Thanks to NPR for recording this set by Vandermark’s Powerhouse Sound combo and making it available for download, you can listen to it right here.

Powerhouse Sound features Vandermark on reeds with longtime collaborator Nate McBride on electric bass; Jeff Parker, guitar and John Herndon, drums – both of whom are known for their work with Tortoise.

Below, three articles I wrote in 1998 for Centerstage.net relating to the Chicago Jazz scene. Still buried in some closet — minidiscs of interviews that I conducted with several of the players for a piece I never completed. There’s a nice long interview with Fred Anderson there and hopefully i’ll find it and when I do I’ll post it for all to share.

Poster above by Dan Grzeca via this webpage Continue reading “From the Archives: Chicago Jazz Scene, Turn of the Century”

Suggest Songs for Gulf Coast Benefit Mixes!

Like many on the #CitizenGulf team, I’m powered in part by listening to a great deal of music. Now that we’re focused on raising funds for the families of the fishermen whose livelihoods are affected by the Gulf Coast Oil Spill, we must look to the sounds of the Gulf Coast and the Louisiana Bayou for inspiration and motivation.

Here is the first in a series of digital mixtapes. I’d love your input and suggestions on upcoming mixes. You can suggest a song very easily:

  1. Go to Blip.fm (login or register)
  2. Search for a song and click “Blip”
  3. Include @gulfbenefit in the text and/or #CitizenGulf

Can’t find it on Blip.fm? You can also tweet a song to us via Grooveshark, Twt.fm, Song.ly, or Tinysong.

For more information on #CitizenGulf Gulf Coast Benefit’s August 25th National Day of Action visit gulfcoastbenefit.com.

VIDEO: They Played an All Time Favorite Jam: Miles Davis’ ‘Black Satin’


Disrupting lunch in downtown LA with one of my all-time favorite jams from Miles Davis’ On the Corner
Live at Grand Performances, California Plaza, Los Angeles, August 6, 2010, noon. Indus Valley Civilization is:
Ndugu Chancler: drums
Badal Roy: tablas
Anantha Krishnan: mridhangam, khanjira
Alphonso Johnson: bass
Omar Ruiz: keyboards
Justo Almario: reeds