Jazz guitarist Dave Miller drops an album of brainy feel-good groovesJ.R. Nelsonon May 19, 2020 at 8:15 pm

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Dave Miller - COURTESY THE ARTIST

In 2016 Gossip Wolf described jazz guitarist Dave Miller as a Chicago expat based in NYC, but even then he seemed to do as much recording and gigging here as he did there. He’s since moved back to Chicago, and his new self-titled album, which comes out Friday, May 22, via Tompkins Square, would make any hometown scene proud! The funk- and soul-inflected grooves on Dave Miller feature standout local players such as Chicago bassist Matt Ulery, Milwaukee drummer Devin Drobka (whose groups include Field Report and Bell Dance Songs), and V.V. Lightbody keyboardist Dan Pierson (who helps run Miller’s new studio, Whiskey Point Recording, where the album was made). “Fellow Man” sets the tone early, with a gentle, loping shuffle that would fit in fine on a classic early-70s Hi Records single.

On Monday, May 18, unstoppable Chicago underground hip-hop label Why? Records dropped Art Is Love Vol. 1. The Why? team also assembled a Justice League of local DIY acts for the 20-track compilation, including psychedelic indie-rock band Glad Rags, R&B up-and-comer Jordanna, arty jazz-fusion unit Cordoba, and scene pillars Rich Jones and Nnamdi. The comp also features the four MCs who run the label–Malci, Davis, Joshua Virtue, and Ruby Watson–who collaborate on two cuts as Why Footclan. Art Is Love is a pay-what-you-want Bandcamp release, and all proceeds benefit the Chicago Community Bond Fund.

Jeff Pezzati’s cast-iron shout and indelible vocal melodies helped make Chicago punk forefathers Naked Raygun one of the most anthem-friendly hardcore bands of all time–so don’t be surprised if you’re immediately humming along to his tuneful new solo EP, The First EP, self-released on Tuesday, May 19. Gossip Wolf digs lo-fi Billy Bragg-style shout-along “It’s Late” and epic, winding opener “Make Me Whole (Chinese Wall Song),” which features stately piano and lovely synthesized strings. v

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