Mark Grant | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Now one of Chicago's most widely respected house producers and DJs, Mark Grant made his reputation in the mid- to late 90s as an artist on the Cajual label. Though he released a few solo sides, he did his best-known work either as a collaborator--recording "Dancin'" with label head Cajmere (under the name Chicago Connection) and "Revival" and "Psychotic Pimpin'" with Braxton Holmes--or as a remixer, on tracks like Green Velvet's "Answering Machine" and Glenn Underground's "House Music Will Never Die." Grant also helmed 1997's A Taste of Cajual, the label's superb story-so-far mix CD. Since then his three-turntable style--heavy on a cappella vocals mixed live over lush instrumental backgrounds--has made him a club favorite worldwide. Whereas even the most polished Cajual productions on Taste have a raw, relatively "tracky" style, minimal and unfussy, Grant's latest release, Sound Design/v2 (Om), brims with voluptuous jazz and Latin flavors--particularly in its final third, which moves from the skittering beats and Brazilian chants of Truby Trio's "Carajillo" to two overlapping versions of Chichi Peralta's flamenco-tinged "Un dia mas" to the preachy, neo-Latin soul of Osunlade's "Tree of Life." And the selections indebted instead to the typical R & B-rooted club sound--Freak Sensation's synth-happy "Kickflip," Inland Knights' filter-disco "Feel This Way"--have the same insinuating insistence, even without the undulating piano and Afro-Latin percussion. Saturday, January 26, 10 PM, Smart Bar, 3730 N. Clark; 773-549-4140. Grant also shares a residency every Monday at 10 PM at Red Dog, 1958 W. North; 773-278-1009.

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