The first thing you might notice is the lawns: carefully manicured, they bring to mind a preserved vision of the ideal American suburb of the 1950s. It’s not an accident. Block clubs in Chatham maintain a genial atmosphere and preserve a long-standing community within the neighborhood. It’s a feel that neighborhood citizens work hard to preserve in a time when the families of Chatham have begun greeting newcomers, renters, and unaffiliated buyers who nevertheless want to be a part of what is one of the most tight-knit communities in the South Side.
“The only way you can play jazz music is you gotta listen to it.”
“This will not be a traditional academic conference.”
“‘Who’s Thelonious Martin?’ He’s the soul producer, from Chicago, Illinois”
When I sit down to talk with Gabriel Hubert (or Hudah, as he prefers to be called), one of the four trumpet players in the eight-piece Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, he is wearing a standard set of black and grey jeans and jacket, an unassuming outfit punctuated by a pair of carefully chosen bright red boots. He speaks with precision and concision on topics like entrepreneurship, education, and how to make a living in the music business. Now, he chooses his words carefully and doesn’t rush into a topic. But when I saw Hudah a week earlier, he was shouting “She makin’ it hot” over and over again onstage with a crowd of other band members over a funk-laced trumpet line. Continue reading
Jean Deaux, now nineteen years old, began recording music when she was sixteen. After school, she would leave home to “work on a group project,” so she could go record tracks with her friends. These early recordings were low-fidelity and casual—and according to Deaux in our interview, “kind of horrible.” However, upon gaining access to a real studio, one owned by her cousin Saba, her then-hobby of songwriting began to develop into a potentially sustainable career. Continue reading
Ramon Norwood, known online as Radius Etc., creates hip-hop beats with few to no words, but his presence, both online and in interviews, is effusive.
Despite the visible age of the West Point Baptist Church in Bronzeville, there’s a sense of vitality there, of coming together. Fluorescent bulbs plugged into old chandeliers and other recent renovations give a sense of the reinvigoration of the old, of the rekindling of extinguished flames in new ways. That’s something the South Side African immigrant community wants to promote with the long-awaited return of Diblo Dibala and his current backing band, Matchatcha, to Chicago. Continue reading