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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Chicago / London Underground: A Night Walking Through Mirrors

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Rob Mazurek (cornet, sampler & electronics) and Chad Taylor (drums, mbira & electronics) represent the Chicago delegation, aligning within Londoners Alexander Hawkins (piano) and John Edwards (bass) for a meeting of the experimental jazz minds on this exuberant live set. Hence, these prominent improvisers and progressive jazz laureates execute a surfeit of soul-jarring motifs, spiced with off-center EFX articulations and fractured segments amid a horde of protracted developments and synergistic improv. Other than Mazurek's Sao Paulo Underground and Exploding Star ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Chicago: Chicago II

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Chicago II deserves its stereo remix and mastering by British audiophile extraordinaire Steven Wilson for any number of reasons, the most prominent of which is that, at this early juncture in the band's career, its creativity was at full flower, minus the pedantic tendencies or self-conscious pretension that would arise on later records. Everything was in balance on this sophomore effort, from the composing credits shared by guitarist/vocalist Terry Kath, keyboardist/vocalist Robert Lamm and bassist/vocalist Peter Cetera (who ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Chicago II (Steven Wilson Remix)

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It's rare that an opportunity presents itself to directly compare a high resolution remaster with a high resolution remix, but with last year's Quadio (Rhino) box set containing Blu Ray Audio versions (at 24-bit/192KHz) of its first nine studio recordings (including, curiously, a completely superfluous, early Greatest Hits package) and the recent, single-disc reissue of Chicago II, featuring a brand new stereo mix by remix go-to-guy, Porcupine Tree founder and now-successful solo artist Steven Wilson, there's a chance to do ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Chicago / London Underground: A Night Walking Through Mirrors

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As an artist and a surveyor of a broader universe, Rob Mazurek focuses on the journey rather than on planting a flag in undiscovered territories. Whether on his multi-instrumental solo work Mother Ode (Corbett vs Dempsey, 2014) or in the large ensemble formation of his most recent Exploding Star Orchestra project, Galactic Parables: Volume 1 (Cuneiform, 2015), Mazurek has left his creative intuitions open to the influence of a deeply personal life force that often serves as his guide. More ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Chicago Jazz Philharmonic Chamber Ensemble: Havana Blue

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With diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba warming, the chances for musical reciprocity have escalated apace. As one who has long admired the music of our neighboring island the the south, Chicago-based trumpeter / composer Orbert Davis was quick to seize the initiative, spending nine days in Havana with Cuban-born choreographer Frank Chavez in October 2012 and returning with the outline of his seven-part “Havana Blue Suite," which explores and delineates the tantalizing harmonies and rhythms that are a ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Chicago Reed Quartet: Western Automatic

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After a heyday in the late 1970s which saw the World Saxophone Quartet, ROVA and the 29th Street Saxophone Quartet, to list but three of the more celebrated, strutting their stuff, the format has undergone a hiatus more recently. However it remains firmly established as an instrumental configuration and perhaps the only surprise is that it has taken so long for a Chicago version to emerge. That deficit has been filled by saxophonist Dave Rempis, who has convened a foursome ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Chicago at the Walmart Arkansas Music Pavilion

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Chicago Walmart Arkansas Music Pavilion Rogers, Arkansas May 3, 2015 I saw the Eagles with Yes in 1975 at Barton Coliseum and then saw them both 25 years later at our river amphitheater. I saw Chicago 35 years ago at Barton Coliseum and then recently. While I am not an authority...I do know from where I come. Musical acts from the 1960s and '70s have made a cottage industry and cash ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Spiral Mercury - Chicago/Sao Paulo Underground featuring Pharoah Sanders: Pharoah & The Underground

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Renowned tenor saxophonist Pharoah Sanders and new music, jazz-centric pioneer, cornetist Rob Mazurek bridge alternate generations of avant-gard-isms with this highly persuasive and indubitably, audacious production. It's an electro-acoustic meeting of futuristic minds, intersecting the trumpeter's Sao Paulo Underground and Chicago Underground ensembles. Moreover, they yield intergalactic nods to classic space rock via Guilherme Granado's inventive electronics, synths and samples permutations along with Matthew Lux's pumped up bass lines and Chad Taylor's sweeping drums patterns amid several distinctive indicators throughout. ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Chicago Jazz Philharmonic: Sketches of Spain Revisited

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One by one, the trio of classic big-band collaborations by Miles Davis and Gil Evans is being rediscovered and reinvented by contemporary jazz ensembles: Miles Ahead, Porgy & Bess and last but not least, the tasteful and picturesque Sketches of Spain, reappraised here by trumpeter Orbert Davis (no relation to Miles) and the splendid Chicago Jazz Philharmonic. Besides composing, adapting and orchestrating the music, Orbert Davis sits in for his celebrated namesake on solo trumpet. What makes ...


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