Jazz quartet Black Diamond debut their new album at eclectic show Zoetic | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

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Jazz quartet Black Diamond debut their new album at eclectic show Zoetic



Black Diamond recorded their brand-new album, Chant (Shifting Paradigm), during a five-week residency at beloved Logan Square venue the Whistler. But rather than host a traditional release show, the two-tenor-saxophone quartet, co-led by Artie Black and Hunter Diamond, are taking part in a multidisciplinary event called Zoetic: A Celebration of Visual, Aural, and Botanic Art. Just as Chicago’s jazz circles constantly break down barriers between genres, Zoetic hopes to break down barriers between artistic communities; its organizers realize how easy it can be to stay within one art circle. “The ultimate goal here is to celebrate new works in a space and manner that will invite tangential sectors of Chicago's creative arts communities together,” Diamond says. The group conjure a playful spirit through their performance, and that’ll be matched tonight by an exhibition featuring visual art from Marine Tempels (who created the album covers for Chant and Black Diamond’s 2017 debut, Mandala) and a botanic installation from Ebimera Vines founder Nyabweza Itaagi. Black Diamond’s program will include selections from the album (recontextualized and reworked for the event), improvisations influenced by the visual and botanic art around them, and a piece by Diamond that deals with the theme of sustainable urban agriculture. Chant proudly wears its creators' influences on its sleeve; "Henrylle" was created in response to a performance by saxophonist Bill McHenry and drummer Andrew Cyrille. At the same time it shows an evolution of the band's tenor-heavy style, which blurs composition and improvisation. But no matter which direction the quartet or the individual members go, their music always has a warm, welcoming feeling—hearing it is like running into an old friend who's ecstatic to see you. And at Zoetic, they're sure to affirm the importance of discovering the commonalities between mediums that are bound by creativity and growth.   v

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