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Regular readers probably know that Audio One started out as Celebrating the Midwest School, a band originally launched to explore the music of important composers from the region like Anthony Braxton, Henry Threadgill, Roscoe Mitchell, and Julius Hemphill. Recordings made by that band live at the Green Mill this past winter turn up on the album called The Midwest School. But as that project evolved, Vandermark began writing new material, and that stuff turns up on the other release, An International Report. Down the road Vandermark plans a duo recording with trumpeter Nate Wooley to be recorded at the upcoming Okka Fest 6 in Milwaukee, and a release by Misale Legesse—a quartet with Rempis, Daisy, Vandermark, and drummer Paal Nilssen-Love—recorded live at last year's Okka Fest 5. Below you can check out Audio One's raucous version of the Art Ensemble of Chicago classic "Theme de YoYo."
Following a nice six-and-a-half-year run, the weekly Ratchet Series at the Skylark came to an end this past April. A new tenant living atop the Pilsen bar complained about the noise, and one of the scene's more relaxed Monday jazz weeklies was soon kaput. Luckily, the crew (drummer Frank Rosaly, saxophonist Nick Mazzarella, and bassist Anton Hatwich) has found a new home at the Charleston. The series will now be monthly, running the first Monday of each, beginning June 2, when Sabertooth makes a rare appearance outside of its two-decades-plus Saturday-night slot at the Green Mill. The organizers plan to document each performance with photos and sound recordings, both of which will later be posted on the series website for free viewing and listening. I'm delighted to announce that I accepted their offer to spin music at the inaugural Charleston event, which begins at 9 PM.King Britt at Constellation that serves several promotional functions. It will serve as a launch for the festival's Neighborhood Nights programming (a series of free concerts taking place around the city during the summer, leading up to the Labor Day weekend festival) as well as the introduction of a new coffee blend developed by local roasters Dark Matter to celebrate the centennial of jazz visionary Sun Ra—the blend is called Astro-Black, and the packaging was designed by the Wicker Park gallery Corbett vs. Dempsey. Corbett will also spin Sun Ra music at the event. Ra's Arkestra, led by saxophonist Marshall Allen since the keyboardist died in 1993, will play the final set of this year's festival on Sunday, August 31. Britt will perform a new work called "The Fholston Paradigm Live Transmission Mix," which weaves a random CB radio transmission into a musical interpretation of Ra's classic "Space is the Place." Check it out below.