Gapers Block has ceased publication.

Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
 Thank you for your readership and contributions. 


Thursday, December 7

Gapers Block

Gapers Block on Facebook Gapers Block on Flickr Gapers Block on Twitter The Gapers Block Tumblr

« Next Stop: Mongolia (Canasta Heads East...Way East) Pulling Strings: For classical music in Chicago, you got a guy - February 2012 »

Concert Wed Feb 01 2012

Ode to the Artificial Will to Flow In the Cave of Self-Inception

George Lewis

The musical career of trombonist/composer/professor George Lewis looks very different depending on where you put your finger on the timeline. In the middle 1970s, he came onto the scene as a teenager in Anthony Braxton's first classic quartet, taking up the brass mantle from Kenny Wheeler. Wheeler's smoky, moody tone was a nice foil for Braxton's multi-directional compositional style of the time, but it also sounded sometimes like he had trouble with the fast charts. Not so Lewis, whose trombone lines dart and pivot, hummingbird-like, in the air around Braxton, speeding the group's development immeasurably. A few years later, Lewis' Homage to Charles Parker LP includes other unexpected elements, like Richard Teitelbaum's Moog synths and Lewis' own electronic processing on his trombone. Lewis' compositions at the time, like Braxton's, came from a personal, genre-less place, born just as much of jazz and improv as classical composition and experimental music forms. He was also one of the earliest jazz musicians to work regularly with computer-assisted composition and music forms.

Throughout the '80s, Lewis could be heard on loads of free improv recordings, including the News For Lulu records (with Bill Frisell and John Zorn), and Yankees (Zorn and Derek Bailey), his brass speeding through impromptu chord sequences one moment, squawking like authority figures in Peanuts cartoons the next. Though his recorded output never really slowed, Lewis spent more time in the coming decades developing computer-music software like the Voyager program, which creates sound shapes and reactions to live music inputs.

Since the mid-2000s, Lewis has taught at Columbia University in New York, and just a few years, he authored A Power Stronger Than Itself, a 700+ page behemoth chronicling the development of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM), an organization founded in Chicago with the intent of fostering African-American musical creativity. The group, now passing 40 years of existence, is one of the most enduring musical organizations of the modern era.

This Sunday (yes, as in "Super Bowl _____"), The International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) will present George Lewis & Friends at the Museum of Contemporary Art (220 E. Chicago Ave.) at 3 p.m. The program includes five pieces:

  • George Lewis (b. 1952): Artificial Life 2007 (2007)
  • Steve Lehman: Impossible Flow for flute, clarinet, horn, trombone, piano, bass, percussion, drum set (2011) CHICAGO PREMIERE
  • Nicole Mitchell: The Cave of Self-Inception for two flutes and percussion (2012) WORLD PREMIERE
  • Tyshawn Sorey (b.1980): Ode to Gust Burns for bassoon, piano, percussion, guitar and trombone (2012) WORLD PREMIERE
  • George Lewis: Will to Adorn, for ensemble (2011) CHICAGO PREMIERE

The event will also include time for the composers to discuss their pieces midway through.

Tickets are $28, $22 for MCA members. The program is scheduled to be 75 minutes, so yes, you'll still have time to get home and watch that kicking-throwing thing on TV, if you are so inclined.

GB store
GB store

Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

Our Final Transmission Days

By The Gapers Block Transmission Staff

Transmission staffers share their most cherished memories and moments while writing for Gapers Block.

Read this feature »


  Chicago Music Media

Alarm Magazine
Big Rock Candy Mountain
Boxx Magazine
Brooklyn Vegan Chicago
Can You See The Sunset From The Southside
Chicago Reader Music
Chicagoist Arts & Events
Chicago Music Guide
Chicago Singles Club
Country Music Chicago
Cream Team
Dark Jive
The Deli Chicago
Jim DeRogatis
Fake Shore Drive
Gowhere Hip Hop
The Hood Internet
Jaded in Chicago
Largehearted Boy
Little White Earbuds
Live Fix Blog
Live Music Blog
Loud Loop Press
Oh My Rockness
Pop 'stache
Pop Matters
Resident Advisor
Sound Opinions
Sun-Times Music Blog
Theft Liable to Prosecution
Tribune Music
UR Chicago
Victim Of Time
WFMU's Beware of the Blog
Windy City Rock


Abbey Pub
Andy's Jazz Club
Aragon Ballroom
Auditorium Theatre
Beat Kitchen
Bottom Lounge
Buddy Guy's Legends
The Burlington
California Clipper
Concord Music Hall
Congress Theater
Cubby Bear
Double Door
Elbo Room
Empty Bottle
Green Mill
The Hideout
Honky Tonk BBQ
House of Blues
Kingston Mines
Lincoln Hall
Logan Square Auditorium
Mayne Stage
The Mutiny
Old Town School of Folk Music
Park West
The Promontory
Red Line Tap
Reggie's Rock Club & Music Joint
The Riviera
Thalia Hall
The Shrine
Symphony Center
Tonic Room
Uncommon Ground
The Vic
The Whistler

  Labels, Promoters
  & Shops:

Alligator Records
Beverly Records
Bloodshot Records
Dave's Records
Delmark Records
Drag City
Dusty Groove
Flameshovel Records
Groove Distribution
He Who Corrupts
Jam Productions
Jazz Record Mart
Kranky Records
Laurie's Planet of Sound
Minty Fresh
Numero Group
mP Shows
Permanent Records
Reckless Records
Smog Veil Records
Southport & Northport Records
Thick Records
Thrill Jockey Records Touch & Go/Quarterstick Records
Victory Records

GB store


Featured Series


Transmission on Flickr

Join the Transmission Flickr Pool.

About Transmission

Transmission is the music section of Gapers Block. It aims to highlight Chicago music in its many varied forms, as well as cover touring acts performing in the city. More...
Please see our submission guidelines.

Editor: Sarah Brooks,
Transmission staff inbox:



Transmission Flickr Pool
 Subscribe in a reader.

GB store

GB Store

GB Buttons $1.50

GB T-Shirt $12

I ✶ Chi T-Shirts $15