Sunday, June 26, 2016

Chicago Jazz, DJ Spooky & A Neon Liquor Bottle, How I Spent Summer Solstice

Last Monday night June 20 was the longest day of the year. The six month march of more daylight every day that began back in December is over and the days now shorten until December comes again and yada yada yada. It was a beautiful, if somewhat hot, day that promised to be a pleasant evening so I decided to go down to Millennium Park for a free concert. For the past several years the city has presented free music on Monday & Thursday evening at the Petrillo music shell. The offerings are usually interesting and the music can come from all over the world.

Mondays lineup was Chicago jazz underground legend Phil Cohran along with DJ Spooky who was presenting his video remix of D.W. Griffith's controversial masterpiece “Birth Of A Nation” which he calls “Re Birth....” eclectic to be sure. When I got down there at starting time of 6:30 there were plenty of seats with most people spread out on the lawn picnicking.

Phil Cohran started as a trumpet player for Jay McShan in the early 1950's then after a hitch in the navy he moved to Chicago and became part of Sun Ra's Arkestra. When Sun Ra moved from Chicago in 1961 Phil stayed behind working with a number of local musicians including future members of Earth, Wind & Fire.

In 1965 Phil was one of the founding members of AACM orAssociation for the Advancement of Creative Musicians a non for profit organization working to help jazz musicians. He also formed the Artistic Heritage Ensemble and is an educator who teaches voice and music at Northeastern Illinois University's Center for Inner City Studies. If that isn't enough he has invented invented an instrument he calls the Frankiphone or Space Harp which is an electrified mbira or kalimba.

Phil opened the show with a piece for the solstice that was accompanied by a video. After another number he was joined by The Hypnotic Horn ensemble. They are an nontet eight of which are son's of Phil. So it was a real family event which included the very young to the very old. The clip we've posted here is the solstice number if you'd like to see more visit our ChiTownSoundzYouTube station.

Paul D. Miller A.K.A. DJ Spooky &That Subliminal Kid is a multimedia artist who began his career in the 1990's as a writer of science fiction. Since then he has worked on a variety of projects as a solo artist and in collaboration with other artists like; Ryuichi Sakamoto  ,  Iannis Xenakis ,  Dave Lombardo of Slayer and others. Rebirth of a Nation was commissioned in 2004 by the Lincoln Center Festival; Spoleto Festival USA; Wiener Festwochen; and the Festival d'Automne a Paris. Below I've posted the scenes surrounding Lincoln's assassination.

To be honest the presentation didn't do much for me. I sat through an hour and a half of it and it was nice enough but in the end not a lot of video remixing going on. Maybe I should have stayed for the second half but I got bored and wandered off.

I ended the night as the sun was setting looking for some neon signs that I haven't filmed yet. North of the river I found a number of signs to add the the Chicago Neon Tour playlist on ChiTownView. Below is the one that finished my night.

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