Ayana hosts Reclaimed Soul on Vocalo and WBEZ and co-produces Sound Opinions on WBEZ. She also can’t stop digging…
Top Chicago Releases of 2019
This has been an incredible year for Chicago music, so far. Here’s a short list of releases I’ve fallen for:
The Oracle – Angel Bat Dawid (International Anthem) This woman’s bright and powerful spirit is all over this record, as is her connection to the deep well of spiritual jazz that has come before her (particularly out of Chicago). The record feels very immediate, and was for the most part recorded and dubbed by Angel on her phone while touring. She is of this time, but out of this world.
Resavoir (International Anthem) A tight collective of musicians led by Will Miller, this album is absolutely refreshing. With features by Knox Fortune, Sen Morimoto and Brandee Younger, this album is full of freshness while steeped in a jazz-funk tradition that rings true to me.
Furthermore – Theaster Gates & The Black Monks (Vinyl Factory/Black Madonna) Blending field hollers, gospel, preaching, and thumping house, Furthermore flies a flag for the Southern-ness at the core of Black Chicago culture.
Where Future Unfolds– Damon Locks / Black Monument Ensemble (International Anthem) I first heard this album driving down the 405 in Los Angeles. Lushness and sky just beyond the road. It feels open like that. The record gives me flavors of Eddie Gale’s outstanding jazz-with-voices, wed with Damon’s inventive use of sampling and 808 programming. It feels huge and hopeful and keeps ringing in your head long after the songs are over.
Intellexual (Fantasy) – Nico Segal and Nate Fox deliver a laser-sharp, intricate mashup of yachtrock, hooky jazz and hip hop… which may sound strange to the uninitiated, but is perfect like guava and cheese empanadas. More please.
LEGACY! LEGACY! – Jamila Woods (Jagjaguwar) This album is both rumination and celebration of a wide variety of artists of all stripes, from MUDDY to BASQUIAT to ZORA. Extoling dimensional emotion, she plays with mood like a painter plays with color. And it bumps. The sonic palate pulses with a continuously fulfilling groove.
Stomping Off From Greenwood – Greg Ward Presents Rogue Parade (Greenleaf Music) This record might be situated off Greenwood, but it’s also at the delicious intersection of slightly glitchy art-rock and cinematically scaled bebop.
you can see the full list (including artists from around the globe) on vocalo.org