Honoring Englewood’s musical history with a cast of hundreds | Gossip Wolf | Chicago Reader

Honoring Englewood’s musical history with a cast of hundreds 

Plus: Devin Shaffer outdoes her own dreamy folk on Yarrow’s latest, and throwback garage-pop act Cut Worms celebrates a cassette release of its debut full-length.

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click to enlarge Saxophonist and composer Ernest Dawkins is one of the creative engines behind the epic composition Quantum Englewood. - MARC MONAGHAN
  • Saxophonist and composer Ernest Dawkins is one of the creative engines behind the epic composition Quantum Englewood.
  • MARC MONAGHAN

Last year AACM chairman Ernest Dawkins, Funkadesi founder Rahul Sharma, and the Old Town School of Folk Music won a $50,000 grant from the Joyce Foundation to create an epic composition that journeys through 100 years in the musical history of Englewood. The piece was disseminated online to community groups that rehearsed it separately, and on Saturday, September 15, they'll come together at the Lindblom Academy auditorium (6130 S. Walcott) for the premiere of Quantum Englewood, presented by the Old Town School's Music Moves Chicago program and Dawkins's Live the Spirit Residency. It does indeed sound epic, with more than 100 instrumentalists and 250 singers, including Funkadesi (of course), Ben LaMar Gay, Maggie Brown, the Live the Spirit Jazz Ensemble, the Soul Children Gospel Choir, the Bucket Boys, and Fernando Jones's Blues Kids. The concert is free, but lots of proud parents will be angling for the good spots!

The dreamy, hazy bedroom folk that Chicago's Devin Shaffer records as Yarrow is sparse and spacious, with reverberant guitar, haunting vocals, and exquisite field recordings. Last week she dropped the cassette Cluster via downstate label Manic Static, and it's Yarrow's best yet—it can give you the uncanny feeling of eavesdropping on someone playing alone in the woods, surrounded by crickets and birds. The tape is available through Yarrow's Bandcamp page and limited to 100 copies.

As Cut Worms, garage-pop wonder Max Clarke reimagines the sounds of the 50s and 60s for the present day. Last year he signed with Indiana label Jagjaguwar, which in May released Cut Worms' debut full-length, Hollow Ground. Clarke lives in Brooklyn, but he got started while at Columbia College and maintains Chicago ties: Dumpster Tapes, which put out Cut Worms' At Home in 2015, will drop a cassette of Hollow Ground for Cut Worms' Schubas show on Thursday, September 20.  v

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