DOVETAIL SERIES: An Unexpected Audience Response

photo credit: Justin Fennert

photo credit: Justin Fennert

We were still riding high from the audience turnout and enthusiasm at our DOVETAIL SERIES launch this past Saturday when we received a ping via Twitter. Justin Fennert, a creative marketer, community builder, and photographer based in Chicago, happened to be visiting the Stony Island Arts Bank the day of our performance and made the snap decision to stick around for the show. 

Even more unexpectedly, Justin decided to capture and blog about his reactions to our collaboration. We LOVE it when listeners decide to dive a little deeper and write down their thoughts. For us, it's tangible evidence that the singular relationship that we build with an audience at each concert hasn't evaporated once we all head through the doors and out onto the street. 

Here's one of our favorite excerpts:

"What I loved about this event was the fact that you could see vividly the impact fearless collaboration could have on a group of people. Not only did it bring two different styles of music together on one stage, it also brought two communities together in one room. You can learn a lot by looking at how these two groups worked together. Both from drastically different backgrounds who used instruments not often seen together on the same stage to communicate those stories. As expected, both were great independently, but destroyed expectations in coming together creating a piece that was both unified and powerful."

You can read Justin's entire post over at his website, oh, and you are forever and always invited to send us your reflections, poetic or otherwise, to

Inside the 'Dovetail Series': Oscar Brown, Jr.

So. We're launching a new series in partnership with Theaster Gates's Rebuild Foundation, titled The Dovetail Series, and our first collaboration is with vocalist/spoken-word artist Maggie Brown. The thing about Ms. Brown is that in addition to her own creative efforts, she has become a champion for the legacy of her father–the brilliant Chicago songwriter/poet/activist Oscar Brown, Jr. If this is a new name for you, you're not alone. Oscar Brown, Jr. was fiercely protective of his creative freedom and profoundly adverse to the commercialization of music, so despite having penned lyrics for the likes of Miles Davis and Max Roach, drawing Muhammed Ali to star in one of his theatrical productions on Broadway, running for a seat in the Illinois state legislature, and releasing a critically-acclaimed debut album–he passed away in 2005 with far less recognition than he deserved.

We thought we'd take a moment, as we gear up for our show with Maggie this Sunday (which you can attend for FREE if you RSVP here) by immersing you in her father's work, which will feature prominently during the performance. Collaborating with Maggie has been everything we'd hoped the Dovetail Series would be–inspirational, educational, thought-provoking, and fun (she will break into song and dance with little provocation in our meetings)–and we hope our fledgeling effort will help expose the brilliant songwriting and beautiful (and devastating) poetry of Oscar Brown, Jr. to a wider array of listeners. Dig in!

Oscar Brown Jr.'s brilliant debut album, 'Sin & Soul'


One of the first jazz records to engage with the Civil Rights movement: Max Roach's 'We Insist!' (with lyrics by Oscar Brown, Jr.)


A total stunner: Oscar Brown, Jr. on Def Poetry performing his 'I Apologize'


One of the most jaw-dropping stories from Oscar Brown, Jr.'s career: creating the show 'Opportunity Please Knock' for one of Chicago's most feared gangs, the Blackstone Rangers


And to bring it full-circle: a touching exchange between Maggie and Oscar as she honors her father's artistry