Category Archives: Performers

Abena Motaboli (visual art, poetry

Abena Motaboli (she/her) is a Basotho – Ghanaian, educator, interdisciplinary artist, natural dyer, and writer based in Chicago – the unceded territories of the Three Fires Confederacy: Ojibwe, Odawa, and Potawatomi. She grew up in Lesotho, a landlocked country in Southern Africa, before moving to the U.S where she obtained her bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts at Columbia College Chicago and at L’institut Catholique de Paris in Paris, France. She is currently engaged with the Center For Humans and Nature as a Land Reciprocity Program Developer and in Land access research with the Kalliopeia Foundation. With a strong commitment to social and environmental justice work in the Chicago Land area and being an immigrant, her artwork explores themes of belonging, interconnectedness, and more. Central to her values is Ubuntu – our shared connection to land , each other, and this place we call home and she invites her audience to experience spaces to contemplate through installation, abstract work, or through vivid bright colors in mural work. She has exhibited her work in solo and group exhibits such as Confluence at Heaven Gallery – Chicago, The Other Art Fair Chicago, SOFA, Chicago, Bhavan Gallery – based in London, Woman Made Gallery – Chicago, DIFFA Pop-Up Gold Coast Gallery, and Aqua Art Miami to name a few. Her work is also placed in private collections throughout the U.S. Motaboli also has a few poems published with Northeastern Illinois University’s annual SEEDS Literary and Visual Arts Journal.


Andy McWain (piano, keyboards)—Signature Artist

mcwainis Assistant Chair of the Music Department, and a full-time lecturer in jazz studies, jazz piano, and theory. As an improvising pianist/keyboardist he has performed and/or recorded with such artists as Joe Giardullo, Karl Berger, Assif Tsahar, Tiger Okoshi, Santi Debriano, Brian Melvin, Daniel Levin, Tatsuya Nakatani, John Dirac, Jorrit Dijkstra, Albey Balgochian, Laurence Cook, Dino Govoni, Luther Gray, Jim Robitaille, Brooke Sofferman, Bruno Raberg, Reuben Radding, Dennis Warren’s Full Metal Revolutionary Jazz Ensemble, the Artie Shaw Orchestra (led by Dick Johnson), and the Zen Bastards, among others.

Andy McWain on iTunes

Play the Andy McWain Mix on Weblogmusic

Angela Morris (Saxophone)

angela-bwAngela Morris is saxophonist-composer rapidly making her presence felt in the Brooklyn avant-jazz community. Originally from Toronto, she has performed across the US, Canada, Mexico and Europe. 

Her band Rallidae will release their new album, “Turned, and Was,” in November 2016, following their debut “Paper Birds” which AllAboutJazz called “an exceptional debut by and exciting and innovative new band.” Some other projects include TMT Trio, Angela Morris Quartet, and composing and conducting for an 18-piece big band co-lead with fellow tenor saxophonist Anna Webber. 

Morris is an alumna of the BMI Jazz Composer’s Workshop lead by Jim McNeely, and received her Masters degree in jazz composition from the City University of New York where she studied with Darcy James Argue. She has been awarded the Marvin Hamlisch award for Jazz Composition and is a Canada Council for the Arts grant recipient.


Ben Zucker (Trumpet, Voice)

BenZuckerRecent phrases Ben Zucker has begun using in describing his work include “object relations”, “situation creation”, and “human algorithms”. Said work includes concert music, improvisation, electronica, installations, and performance art, which has been premiered all over the world, including the Berlin Audio Branding Academy, New York Fringe Festival, Northwestern University, and the Banff Centre. Ben performs as a percussionist, pianist, singer, and brass player, including as a founding member of the world-groove band Don Froot, the Improvers’ Choir in London, and the Apres-Garde Ensemble in New Haven, Connecticut. He has also collaborated with numerous individuals in over a dozen films, plays, and dances (including The Last Days Of The Old Wild Boy with Rinde Eckert). Ben is a recent graduate of Wesleyan University, where he studied composition with Anthony Braxton, David Behrman, and Neely Bruce; currently, he resides in London, and studies with Jennifer Walshe and Christopher Fox at Brunel University.


Carole McCurdy (performance art)

Carole McCurdy is a Chicago-based artist whose work addresses grief and anxiety, duty and resistance, and the absurd mysteries of embodiment. She received a 2016 Lab Artist award from the Chicago Dancemakers Forum and was a Fall 2016 Sponsored Artist at High Concept Laboratories. She created and directed an ensemble piece, Waver, with support from CDF, HCL, and 3Arts Chicago. She has performed at spaces including the Chicago Cultural Center, Epiphany Dance, Links Hall, Hamlin Park, High Concept Laboratories, Defibrillator Gallery, and Movement Research (NY). In 2014 she danced under viaducts in downtown Chicago and then toured Indonesia with Nicole LeGette’s blushing poppy Dance Club. In 2008–09 she was awarded a six-month artistic residency at Links Hall, where she created and showed her ensemble piece Alas. For Redmoon Theater’s 2006 Twilight Orchard event, she created A Cure for Scurvy, a performance installation one reviewer described as “an example of the way dread can be created virtually out of thin air.”


David Bithell (trumpet, electronics)—Signature Artist

bithellis devoted to the exploration of the intersection between experimental music and theater.  His use of live performance, video, staging, music technology, and improvisation create abstract narratives that balance between the tragic and comic.  He has performed his compositions throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia in a variety of settings. As a trumpet player specializing in contemporary and improvised musics he has devoted himself to the exploration of new possibilities for that instrument.  He is the trumpet player and co-organizer for the sfSoundGroup (a West Coast experimental music collective) and has played with the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, the Berkeley Contemporary Chamber Players, and the La Jolla Symphony.


Play the David Bithell Mix on Weblogmusic

Edward Ratliff (Accordion, Trumpet)

EdwardRatliffEdward Ratliff is a New York City-based composer, bandleader and multi-instrumentalist (brass and accordion) who has been called “a wonderfully spunky and imperturbable trumpet player” (The New York Times) and “a fine musician who possesses a clever and crafty compositional pen” (  Edward has led his bands at festivals and clubs in Europe and Asia and throughout New York City. His music is also heard in shows on HBO, Nickelodeon, the Discovery Channel, ABC Family, MTV, VH1 and more — everything from a biography of Dostoyevsky to “Real Sex Xtra” and “Girls Gone Wild.” Edward is also a filmmaker and is on the faculty of the International Center of Photography in New York, co-teaching (with photographer Anja Hitzenberger) a class called “Let Movies Inspire Your Photography.”


Elisabeth Blair (Voice)

ElisabethBlairElisabeth Blair is a vocalist and composer currently working on an MM in Music Composition at Western Michigan University. She earned her BA in photography at a small university in London in 2004, then spent several years performing on the folk singer/songwriter circuit in Chicago while also collaborating frequently with performance and conceptual artists. She particularly enjoys vocal improvisation and writing for strings, and is passionate about raising awareness of classical and new music written by women. She runs a webpage showcasing these works, and is in the process of producing a podcast series based on interviews with female composers. 


Eric km Clark (violin)—Signature Artist

clarkis an accomplished violinist, composer, and improviser presenting many different styles of new music throughout the world, with the majority of his shows taking place in Los Angeles, Toronto, and New York City. He has worked with many of the world’s most innovative artists and ensembles, including the late James Tenney, Jurg Frey, Michael Gordon, Richard Foreman, Guy Maddin, Wadada Leo Smith, Christian Kesten, Michael Pisaro, and Butch Morris. Mr. Clark is a member of the genre setting new music ensemble The California E.A.R. Unit (LA), the Dog Star Orchestra (LA), neithernor (TOR), and the Kadima String Quartet (LA). His playing has been released on Innova, New World, Tonehole Music, Sundialtech and Tzadik (Spring 2012). His compositions have been released on Henceforth Records and CQB.


Play the Eric km Clark Mix on Weblogmusic