Theo Parrish, Specter | Smart Bar | Dance | Chicago Reader
This is a past event.

Theo Parrish, Specter 

When: Fri., Oct. 3, 10 p.m. 2014
Price: $16, $14 before midnight, $5 with Metro wristband
Despite growing up in Chicago and residing in Detroit, Theo Parrish hasn’t performed here since 2006. It’s unclear why that’s the case, but hopefully this DJ set at Smart Bar portends more appearances, because Parrish is one of contemporary dance music’s greatest living artists. As part of a Detroit musical tradition that includes J Dilla (hip-hop) and Moodymann (house), Parrish’s music is an audible tapestry that weaves together samples of jazz, soul, funk, disco, and various electronic music, simultaneously referencing the genres that form techno’s historical context. Trained as a sculptor at a Kansas City art school, Parrish makes music that resembles sculptures of sound, either elegant, sumptuous creations (Sound Sculptures Vol. 1) or crude, gritty ones (his “Ugly Edits” series). His DJ sets are totally unpredictable—he’s been known to play entire sets of jazz fusion or soul ballads. This iconoclasm has ties to the radical politics of Detroit techno, but Parrish reminds me more of New York DJs of the late 70s and 80s like Larry Levan and Grandmaster Flash, who were similarly uncompromising about DJing and had more visible connections to the art world. —Tal Rosenberg



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