Category Archives: Uncategorized

Sonic Healing Ministries’ Free Jazz Jam

This Sunday Afternoon 2p-4pm, it’s a Free Jazz Jam in the Chatham section of Chicago. 7534 South Eberhart (home of Sonic Healing Ministries) is the place. David Boykin (saxophone, et al) and the Microcosmic Sound Orchestra host. DJ Ayana spins. The Free Jazz services will also be streaming live here.

About Sonic Healing Ministries:

Everything in existence on the physical plane, all energy/matter, vibrates at a particular frequency that defines it.

Love is the force that harmonizes this myriad of frequencies and binds everything together into a functioning whole.

Creative music, spiritual jazz, free jazz, avant garde jazz, experimental music, improvised music, etc., is a sonic representation of this love.  It is a unified expression and celebration of each individuated experience of creation simultaneously.  It is a reverberation of the macrocosmic sound.

DJ Ayana and Simeon Viltz spin… and it’ll be a Groovy Situation

Dancefloor of Chicago Club, Michael Abramson (circa 1970s)

THIS Thursday, January 19, 2012. 10:00pm at Morseland. It’ll be a groovy situation laid down on wax. All Soul Lovers. No Cover. I’m ready, are you?

Above, partake in the Jones Girls singing “I Need You”. Before they found their fortunes in Philadelphia with classics like “Nights Over Egypt” and “Who Can I Run To”, the Detroit natives were getting down in Chicago with some killer cuts like 1973’s “I Need You”… just a sampling of what I’ll spin (as DJ Ayana) on Thursday. Rarities, Vintage Local Gems, Bluesy Groovers, and Jazzy Madness will abound.

The Groove Conspiracy (Simeon Viltz and Ayana Contreras)

Morseland / 1218 West Morse

Chicago, IL

10pm til 1pm

Darkjive’s Early December Dance Card

So, this week or so, here’s where you can catch DJ Ayana in action:

Monday, December  5th @ Danny’s Tavern

Folks in the know love this spot for its nice sound system and dancing scene. I plan to spin an exciting mix of mod, latin, blues, and soul to swoon and move to. Of course, heavy on the local sounds, heavy on the heavy sounds.

Danny’s Tavern

1951 West Dickens, Chicago starting at 10pm

Friday, December 9th… I’ll be spinning at the opening of The Listening Room, Theaster Gates’ Art installation at the Seattle Art Museum (SAM), Seattle. Image above: Records from Theaster’s “Dr. Wax Collection” taken at the Dorchester Projects, Chicago.

More about The Listening Room: [from the art newspaper]

The installation will feature a collection of vinyl albums from the now closed Dr Wax record store in Chicago to create a space in which visitors can gather to listen and learn about “a cultural archive that was getting lost”, says Gates.

Around 4,000 records, including recordings of Martin Luther King, Jr, James Brown, the Isaac Brothers and vaudeville comedienne “Moms” Mabley, will be embedded in the gallery wall.

Gates says the records can be used to examine African-American politics through history: “When were our voices radical, when were they pacifist? Do we sing about things we can’t scream about?” A DJ [me] will play selections in a pulpit-like station built by Gates from reclaimed materials. “The DJ is the minister of music, the albums are the choir…”

Seattle Art Museum

100 University Street, Seattle 98101-2902, USA
+1 206 625 8900

Jive on!

Tomorrow, we groove.

Below, one of the grooves I’ll spin: “Love so Strong” from the Lovelites (pictured, left). Fronted by Patti Hamilton, the group of ladies from Chicago’s South Side  recorded a gaggle of groovin’ steppers (including one of their biggest hits, “My Conscience”).

The Lovelites are, in my humble opinion, one of the most consistent female groups in all of Chicago Soul, thanks to a string of sassy-sweet records mainly composed by Hamilton and produced by Clarence Johnson. Enjoy and jive on!

Blackstone Bicycle Works teaches South Side Kids to build bikes (and dreams, too)


Blackstone Bicycle Works is an offshoot of the creative incubator known at the Experimental Station (located at 61st and Blackstone). Recent recipients of Seattle’s Best Coffee’s Brew-lanthropy Award, the Bicycle Works has been teaching local youth Bike Mechanic skills as well as healthy life lessons since 1994. They offer reasonable bike repairs and sell refurbished bikes in the space starting at $90.



The program is just one cog amidst all the good things going on at the Experimental Station…

Maria’s Packaged Goods and Community Bar: a Righteous Revamp

I was at this Bridgeport Bar/Packaged Goods’ Grand Reopening a while back, and really liked the space. Somewhat dim, brown beer bottle chandeliers and a framed black and white photo of Al Capone set a down to business mood.

Thursday night I DJ’ed there, so I was able to see the ebb and flow of clientele.  The crowd was a fresh mix of Old Bridgeport, New Bridgeport, and representatives from all the diverse neighborhoods adjacent.

Ed Marszewski of the Lumpen Art Media empire runs this cozy spot with his mother, Maria (who had run the space pre-revamp since the 80s). Great, well-curated bar selections, and a makeshift kitchen courtesy of  Pleasant House Bakery who delivers delicious savory Royal Pies from their digs next door.

Check Maria’s website for updates on a variety of cool special events. Jive on!

come get artsy/dance. dj ayana at the geolofts.

Gallery 400 and threewalls present a ceremony honoring the 15 winners of the 2011 Propeller Fund awards, which serve to promote informal and self-organized creative activity in the Chicago area. Come celebrate the grant recipients and the community with food, drink, and music at the Geolofts. The awards ceremony is presented in conjunction with the Hand in Glove Conference and MDW Fair.

Alfresco Dining at Harold’s Chicken

During these last strains of summer, I find myself seeking out ways to absorb the outdoor life. Generally speaking, there aren’t a whole lot of opportunities for alfresco dining on the South Side of Chicago. Imagine my surprise when I passed by this Harold’s Chicken (a Chicago tradition) at 64th and Cottage Grove. Get it while it’s hot. Jive on.

Imaginations: good stuff!

The Imaginations were a mid-seventies Chicago-based vocal group that rose out of the ashes of Brighter Side of Darkness (best known for “Love Jones”, their story can be found here).  In 1974-1975 they put out a flurry of singles and one album, “Good Stuff”.  I originally bought the album because I had to hear “Love Jones ’75” (which didn’t disappoint) and because a number of very strong local songwriters and arrangers were involved (Maurice Commander/Jerline Shelton, Tom Tom Washington, Benjamin Wright, Clarence Johnson, etc.). The album features a bit too much filler for my taste, but some pretty fresh cuts, as well… Including this sweet, upbeat stepper, “Sweet Mona”. Jive on!

Groove Conspiracy… coming this Thursday.

Join DJ Ayana and Simeon Viltz (of the Primeridian) as we stretch out musically at Morseland.  I’ll be spinning with a Chicago accent, as always, and will be featuring local treasures including a cut or two by Leroy Hutson.  A college friend of both Donny Hathaway and Roberta Flack (all attended Howard University), Hutson was on Curtis Mayfield’s Curtom Records in the 1970s (listen below to 1976’s “Lover’s Holiday”, and for more on Leroy, click here).

Groove Conspiracy. All vinyl, no cover. Jive on!