When: Fri., Dec. 27, 8:30 p.m. 2013
Drummer Ted Sirota is a fixture on Chicago’s jazz scene in large part thanks to his tenure in organ combo Sabertooth, which has held down a late-night gig at the Green Mill for two decades. But in his own long-running Rebel Souls, Sirota has often displayed a love for styles far afield from Sabertooth’s postbop: reggae, Afrobeat, Brazilian pop, even punk rock. For him, what connects those styles is the spirit of protest wielded by some of their heaviest hitters—Bob Marley, Fela Kuti, Caetano Veloso, and the Clash, for example. Early this year he formed the reggae combo Heavyweight Dub, which balances outraged, insistent revolutionary songs against tunes that favor rootsy ebullience. For the band’s debut album, The Scientist Meets Ted Sirota’s Heavyweight Dub (Liberated Zone), Sirota enlisted producer and King Tubby protege Overton H. Brown, aka the Scientist, to dub out his original tunes, which include instrumental salutes to reggae greats (“Tubby,” “Jackie-Me-Too!”) and politically charged rockers such as “Stop and Frisk (The New Jim Crow)” and “Saro-Wiwa.” (The former features singing by Paul Mabin, and the latter showcases rhymes from Chicago rapper Diverse.) That’s not to say the group’s music is bereft of dub effects under ordinary circumstances: resident mixer Anthony Abbinanti mans the board at live concerts. Heavyweight Dub’s lineup often changes from show to show, and tonight’s crew includes plenty of strong musicians, among them reedist Cameron Pfiffner, bassist Matt Ferguson, guitarist Andrew Trim, and vocalist Yanira Marin, who also guests on the album (and is Sirota’s wife). —Peter Margasak Doctah X, Mobile Disco Unit, and Pressure Sound System open.