Friday, June 19, 2009
AccuJazz News: Roll-Out Continues With "Regions: Chicago"
It's been a few weeks since I've treated you all to a new channel post, and the reason for that is not quite clear. Somehow, I managed not to get around to it. For this, I apologize. The two neglected new channels were "Regions: Europe" and "Good Vibes," the former playing all sorts of great jazz from across the pond, and the latter highlighting the many talented jazz musicians who use the vibraphone as their instrument of choice. Check 'em out.
But it's time to stop dwelling on the past: I have important news to impart! Today (yesterday, actually -- more procrastination) marks the launch of the highly anticipated "Regions: Chicago" channel! Now, when I say "highly anticipated," I am mostly referring to myself, but I'm hoping some other people out there share in the excitement.
As you may know, AccuRadio (the company that birthed AccuJazz) is based in Chicago. I am a [very small] part of the Chicago jazz community, and therefore Chicago jazz is a mild obsession. I have been working on building up a collection of current Chicago jazz for over a year now through a few different methods: personal contact with jazz musicians, in person or over the phone/email, building relationships with record labels like Delmark, Ears & Eyes, Origin, Atavistic, Blujazz, Chicago Sessions, and Bigfoot Jazz, and culling some stuff from my own personal collection. The channel currently spins about 1,200 different tracks by musicians as diverse as Louis Armstrong and Roscoe Mitchell.
Chicago has been home to many of jazz's most important movements. In the 1920's, New Orleans expatriates like Armstrong and Jelly Roll Morton developed their sound here, and the '60s saw the rise of Chicago's legendary Avant-Garde scene, headed up by Mitchell, Fred Anderson, Joseph Jarman and others. Swing kings Gene Krupa and Benny Goodman were Chi Town natives, as were bebop masters Gene Ammons and Johnny Griffin. Herbie Hancock and Jack DeJohnette even grew up here!
Nowadays, there are hundreds of musicians making high quality music -- it's dizzying trying to think of them all. New York may still be the jazz mecca, but we've got a lot going for us here in the Midwest.
World-famous vocalists Patricia Barber and Kurt Elling still make their homes here, and play at the city's premier jazz room, The Green Mill, quite often. Other Chicagoans who have gained international reputations include reedman Ken Vandermark, flutist Nicole Mitchell, trumpeters Corey Wilkes and Orbert Davis, pianist Ryan Cohan, guitarists Fareed Haque and Bobby Broom, and drummers Hamid Drake and Kahil El'Zabar. The channel doesn't just focus on these folks, though. You'll hear a lot of really, really good music that's been self-released by hard-working cats who haven't gotten much exposure. It's like being in a Chicago jazz club, but you're sitting at a computer! There's no cover charge, and it's BYOB!
Well, that's enough out of me; get listening, and then let me know what you think of the channel, either here, or on Twitter, MySpace, Facebook, or the ShoutBox on the AccuJazz homepage.