Saxophonist Hunter Diamond debuts four free shows’ worth of new material at the Whistler | Gossip Wolf | Chicago Reader

Saxophonist Hunter Diamond debuts four free shows’ worth of new material at the Whistler 

Plus: Matthew Rachman Gallery opens a new exhibit of Wesley Willis’s artwork, and Camp Smokey Bear returns with another free day of top-shelf local hip-hop.

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click to enlarge Hunter Diamond is in the midst of a monthlong Tuesday-night residency at the Whistler. - MIKEL PATRICK AVERY
  • Hunter Diamond is in the midst of a monthlong Tuesday-night residency at the Whistler.
  • Mikel Patrick Avery

This summer, local jazz saxophonist and clarinetist Hunter Diamond spent three weeks studying composition with flutist Nicole Mitchell at the Atlantic Center for the Arts in Florida—and now that he's back in town, he has a bounty of new jams to share! Diamond is playing a free weekly Tuesday residency at the Whistler in September to debut that material: on September 10, he'll lead a trio "conducted" by movement artist B'Rael Ali Thunder; on September 17, he'll set poems by his father to music with a septet that includes reedist Cameron Pfiffner and bassist Katie Ernst; and on September 24, he'll play with a quintet that includes saxophonist Nick Mazzarella and drummer Dana Hall.

  • Nothing that Hunter Diamond is performing at his residency has been recorded yet, but his group Black Diamond released this album in February 2019.

Outsider musician Wesley Willis died in 2003, but Gossip Wolf still can't walk through Wicker Park without remembering him posted up in front of the long-gone Burger King at Milwaukee and Honore, drawing one of his lovely, idiosyncratic cityscapes. These days, Willis's artworks are harder to see—they fetch thousands of dollars apiece—so it'll be a special treat when Matthew Rachman Gallery opens the exhibit "City of Many Dreams" on Friday, September 13, at 6 PM. It features dozens of Willis's drawings from the collection of architect Paul Young, plus sculptures by Willis's brother Ricky that use found objects to re-create buses, trains, water towers, and other buildings. Proceeds from sales of the sculptures will benefit Project Onward, a local nonprofit that offers professional guidance to artists with mental or developmental disabilities.

click to enlarge Chimeka performs at last year's Camp Smokey Bear. - HALEY SCOTT
  • Chimeka performs at last year's Camp Smokey Bear.
  • Haley Scott

There's no festival in town like Chimeka's Camp Smokey Bear. Last year, the Chicago rapper launched this daylong all-ages celebration of hip-hop culture, and it returns to South Holland's Camp Shabbona Woods on Saturday, September 14. Chimeka recruited a stellar lineup of local rappers for the second camp, including ZMoney, Queen Key, Solo the Dweeb, Happy Birthday Calvin, and Kidd Kenn—who just signed a deal with Island. General admission is free, and VIP passes start at $25.  v

  • A recap video from the inaugural Camp Smokey Bear in 2018
  • The new Kidd Kenn single “Bougie Fellow”

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