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In Praise of Shadows:Chicago Underground Duo

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Artist: Chicago Underground Duo

Date Released: February 21, 2006

Label: Thrill Jockey

Produced By:


  1. Falling Awake
  2. In Praise of Shadows
  3. The Glass House
  4. Cities Without Citadels
  5. Pangea
  6. Funeral of Dreams
  7. The Light in Between


In Praise of Shadows, the 9th album recorded between Rob Mazurek (cornet, keyboards, electronics) and Chad Taylor (drums, vibraphone, percussion), and the 4th as the Chicago Underground Duo, continues their fluid evolution from young jazz experimenters to mature musicians who have a firm grasp on the possibilities of free-flowing music and the means of bringing them to life. The 7 songs making up the album does not really stray from their usual influences ranging from European, Asian and African styles of music, but does find the Duo reflecting back on their first release, 12 Degrees of Freedom on conceptual terms. Recorded in four days (two for laying down tracks, two for post and mixing), In Praise plays as one stream of consciousness, expelling a myriad of feelings and focuses throughout. Each song comes off as a study of sound in itself, whether it is the high frequency tone experience of The Glass House or the juxtaposition of a deep bass drum and flaring high hats and cymbals on Funeral of Dreams. Most of the album is based around minimalist free jazz compositions, peaking with the 12-minute title track, which echoes Don Cherry or Cecil Taylor in their prime. Though living on different hemispheres (with Mazurek in Brazil and Taylor in New York), the Duo collaborate effortlessly, each commanding attention in their own right, while letting the other respond naturally. The challenging In Praise continues to keep the fruitful Chicago Underground Duo sessions alive in a world where essential modern free jazz is nearly impossible to find. Mpardaiolo

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