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A short interview with Medeski, Martin and Wood has been posted.

John Zorn, Lou Reed, and Laurie Anderson will play next year’s Montreal Jazz Fest.

Theo Bleckmann has a new album of Charles Ives songs coming out.

Phil Kline‘s latest two releases are reviewed in the Chicago Reader.

Caustic Reverie is an ambient-drone artist with 15 albums available for free download.

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ICE Cofounder Claire Chase Steps Out With Debut Solo Recording

From the Chicago Reader:

Is it just me, or is the killer new-music group and Chicago-New York presenting force International Contemporary Ensemble responsible for an inordinately large proportion of the exciting new music shows that happen in the city? A few weeks ago I saw violinist David Bowlin give a knockout performance of rarely performed work by Luigi Nono, and I’m super pumped about a program of works by the brilliant Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho happening next month at the MCA.

From the very start one of the key forces behind the organization has been the remarkable flutist Claire Chase, who plays a record release party at the Velvet Lounge tonight.

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4th Annual Umbrella Music Festival

The 4th Annual Umbrella Music Festival is coming to Chicago in November. Click through for a full lineup.

Umbrella Music is pleased to announce the final schedule for the fourth-annual Umbrella Music Festival, November 5th-8th. The event pcelebrates jazz and improvised music from Chicago and beyond.

Called by the Chicago Reader “perhaps the most important jazz festival in Chicago,” the Umbrella Music Festival features cutting-edge jazz and improvised music from around the world, with a particular focus on artists from the diverse, cooperative and thriving local scene.

The festival opens Thursday, November 5th with a special evening dubbed “European Jazz Meets Chicago,” co-presented by Umbrella Music, the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs, and several European consulates and cultural organizations. These concerts will feature some of the best improvising musicians on the European scene, some of them with their regular working groups, and some of them in first-time collaborations with their Chicago counterparts.

The concerts continue over the weekend at the regular Umbrella Music venues, and this year will feature three elder statesman of the improvised music world: legendary trumpeter Bobby Bradford, renowned multi-instrumentalist Joe McPhee, and the Chicago debut of Japanese alto-saxophone legend Akira Sakata.

The complete schedule, as well as all festival-related news and updates are available at

UMBRELLA MUSIC is a group of Chicago musicians and presenters working to provide performance opportunities for creative and improvising musicians. Umbrella members book weekly concert series on Wednesdays at the Hideout, Thursdays at Elastic, and Sundays at the Hungry Brain. More information on the festival, the group, and the events they coordinate is available at:

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Lukas Ligeti’s Postmodern Post-African Fusion

Ligeti’s upcoming Chicago show is previewed by the Reader:

On Thursday night Elastic plays host to an intriguing New York trio called Hypercolor. I’ve never seen the group live, and they only have a handful of tracks on their Myspace page, but the presence of percussionist and composer Lukas Ligeti, son of brilliant Hungarian composer György Ligeti, is enough to get me interested.

The group plays intricate, aggressive fusion that borders on math rock, weaving through frequent tempo shifts, dizzyingly jagged unison lines, and terse bits of improvisation at ear-popping volume. Rounding out the band are electric guitarist Eyal Maoz, a Sonny Sharrock-inspired shredder with a thing for the single-note curlicues of Gary Lucas, and electric bassist James Ilgenfritz, who also grounds the out-jazz grooves on Mysterium’s new album.

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Paul Hartsaw, Kristian Aspelin, Damon Smith, and Jerome Bryerton in Chicago

An upcoming show in Chicago, announced in the Reader:

Paul Hartsaw, Kristian Aspelin, Damon Smith, and Jerome Bryerton
When: Sat., Sept. 19, 10 p.m.
Price: donation requested

For the 2007 release Ausfegen (Balance Point Acoustics), this transcontinental quartet—bassist Damon Smith and guitarist Kristian Aspelin from the Bay Area and saxophonist Paul Hartsaw and drummer Jerome Bryerton from Chicago—set out to pay homage to German conceptual artist Joseph Beuys.

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Lampo: Homeless Again

The Chicago Reader informs us about Lampo once again being without a space.

Normally this is the time of year I look forward to learning Lampo’s fall lineup. One of the midwest’s greatest advocates for experimental music, Lampo has been presenting dynamic work, often in exclusive U.S. engagements, from some of the world’s most important sound artists and musicians for more than a decade. But no announcement of a fall schedule is coming: today Lampo director Andrew Fenchel informed me that the organization is once again without a home.

Lampo brings modern, experimental classical / electronic music to Chicago, and their shows have been very well-received. More details from Mr. Fenchel:

As you may know, we have been exceptionally lucky to call “216” home for the past two years. The space was generously donated by the building’s owner, and we are grateful for the time we had there. Now the owner has something different in mind for the space and we need to move on. Nothing but thanks and appreciation to him.

In the short term, this means our summer hiatus will continue through the fall — although we’ll do our best to surprise you with something before too long.

Looking ahead, we will find a new home and continue the Lampo series. We’ll certainly keep you updated on our search for space and report on new collaborations and projects. Separate from this announcement we have had some cool stuff in the works for a while, and we’ll be excited to tell you about our plans.

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Ken Vandermark in the Belly of the Beast

The Chicago Reader discusses Ken Vandermark‘s increased nationwide prominence.

“In North America the only thing that’s happened with festivals have been in Canada—Vancouver, Victoriaville,” he told me. “I’m invisible in the mainstream jazz world in the U.S. I’m generally never covered in mainstream American publications devoted to jazz.” While Vandermark has worked with American musicians who don’t live in Chicago—Joe McPhee, Joe Morris, and Adam Lane among them—they exist in the same sort of odd parallel world that he does, away from New York and criminally relegated to the margins. Of course, Vandermark has done just fine without the imprimatur of the establishment.

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The boundless sonic creativity of Okkyung Lee

From the Chicago Reader:

Okkyung Lee, who plays Sunday night at the Pritzker Pavilion in Min Xiao-Fen’s Asian Trio, is one of the most beguiling young figures in New York’s creative-music community. The Korean cellist—she came to the U.S. in 1993, at age 18—moves effortlessly between different worlds without changing her sound in any significant way. She plays in pianist Vijay Iyer’s multimedia project Still Life With Commentator as well as Laurie Anderson’s art-pop ensemble, but on her own she’s concerned mostly with improvisation.

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A Revamped AACM Steps Forward

From the Chicago Reader:

Chicago’s venerable AACM recently underwent an executive shuffle that brought in some young blood. Flutist Nicole Mitchell continues in the top spot, but drummer Mike Reed has signed on as vice chair, cellist Tomeka Reid is the new treasurer, and vocalist Saalik Ziyad has stepped in as secretary.

The revamped leadership recently announced its first new endeavor, the Nomadic Sound Experiment, a bimonthly concert series designed to bring the AACM’s music to different parts of the Chicago metropolitan area.

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