Tag Archives: Ajay Heble

Ep. #285: Chicago Underground Duo

Chicago Underground Duo consists of two very notable musicians: Rob Mazurek (also of Exploding Star Orchestra, Starlicker, Pulsar Quartet, Rob Mazurek Octet, São Paulo Underground) and Chad Taylor (also of Marc Ribot Trio, Side A, Digital Primitives), who formed the group in 1997. When asked to describe their work together, they suggested their music is “an organic mixture of African, Electronic, Coloristic, Jazz influenced life supporting systematic, non-systematic feeling from two humans trying ever to expand outward and inward for the people and ourselves.” The duo’s seventh album is called Locus, which was released by Northern Spy Records in 2014, and Chicago Underground Duo played the 2016 Guelph Jazz Festival this past September, which is when we caught up for this conversation. Here, we discuss why Rob thinks Guelph is friendly and full of free hamburgers, playing small cities with cool music scenes, Peterborough New Hampshire, Ajay Heble and Julie Hastings and the Guelph Jazz Festival, how some festivals go safe, when B.B. King would play at jazz festivals, open-ended and creative music, opening for Stereolab, what indie-rock might mean these days, what 20 years ago was like for outsider musicians, social music networks, music marketing and music media that can’t figure out story angles, jazz and intellectualism, the origins of jazz as a process, the relationship between niche and big budget, general audience festivals, Esmerine, competition and cultural cores, the future of the Guelph Jazz Festival, underground culture will always thrive, Mike Reed in Chicago who founded the Pitchfork Music Festival, Rob’s fascination with the Underground, when 24 year-old Rob encountered 16 year-old Chad, Chad’s history with classical guitar playing, how both attended jazz school in Chicago, Henry Threadgill, Steve McCall, Fred Hopkins, and Air, a personal meltdown at a recital, jazz and authority and parameters and freedom and improvisation, trouble with a lower case ‘t,’ playing drums and hearing Marc Ribot play guitar, introducing electronics to CUD and musique concrete, Chad’s resistance, ‘no fear,’ samplers and modulators, the windy city, when Rob and Chad each left Chicago, gentrification and displacement, how Chicago was designed, poor communities have been pushed further out of the core of the city, the vilification of Chicago and its correspondence with the terms of President Barack Obama, when Tortoise discussed their experiences with gun violence on this show, living in Sao Paulo, the proliferation of fear in American mass media, the surreal U.S. election and its lingering impact, Bernie Sanders and the Clintons, Chad’s grandmother and declining wages, the Chicago Underground Duo record Locus, a Chicago London Underground record with Alexander Hawkins and John Edwards that’s coming out in January, the new São Paulo Underground record, Cantos Invisíveis, which is out now via Cuneiform Records, Rob’s new record with Emmett Kelly, Alien Flower Sutra that’s out now, the Chicago Underground Duo song “Yaa Yaa Kole,” and then we went underground.

Related links: northernspyrecords.com/artist/chicago-underground-duo vishkhanna.com

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Ep. #278: Jane Bunnett

Jane Bunnett is a world-renowned jazz musician and composer who lives in Toronto, Ontario. A Juno award winner and Grammy award nominee, Bunnett is a highly accomplished saxophonist and piano player well known for her incorporation of Cuban music and collaborations with Cuban musicians; her 1991 album, Spirits of Havana, is considered one of the greatest jazz records ever. Her group, Jane Bunnett and Maqueque, release their new album, Oddara, is out October 14 via Linus Entertainment and will be touring throughout Canada and the U.S. between September and November. Bunnett will be appearing at the Guelph Jazz Festival on September 16, as part of Song Everlasting, an all-star tribute to the late pianist, Don Pullen. Jane and I met on the terrace of her Toronto home recently to discuss raccoons, spices, the evolution of a rooming house in Parkdale, where goes the neighbourhood, chains, the Gardiner Expressway, the stupid annual Toronto Air Show, Yours to Discover, attending five different Toronto high schools after attending a free school, painting and clarinet, street tough, music in the family and a new house with a piano, sister Sarah, the youngest kids don’t seem to matter as much, big brother’s music collection, piano lessons and bailing, too much playing and jazz, off she went to San Francisco, Charles Mingus, The Colonial Tavern, Don Pullen, improvisation and the flute, Toronto’s New School of Music and Howard Spring, “Nostalgia in Times Square,” snobby record store employees, Toronto’s underappreciated history as a jazz mecca, Claude Ranger, Mark Miller, ahistorical, a range of instruments, the social aspect of music, Mexico and Cuba, discovering greatness in Santiago de Cuba and Havana in 1982, the great percussionist Guillermo Barreto, her partner and collaborator Larry Cramer, the stories behind her all-female Cuban group Maqueque and their new album Oddara, David Virelles, the spirit and fiery energy of a little girl, NPR’s Tiny Desk Concerts, remembering Don Pullen, In Dew Time, Ajay Heble, the esteemed ensemble playing this tribute, Howard Johnson and Saturday Night Live, the Maqueque song, “Dream,” and that was that.

Related links: janebunnett.com guelphjazzfestival.com vishkhanna.com

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