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Out Like A Lion: 3 days of Improvised Painting

I will try and let the work vibrate for itself.On March 26th, Chris Weller and I continued our collaboration at the Friendly Tap in Berwyn. The Weller/Drobka Duo sound was roughed and layered into a nice big 4X8 foot canvas. I’m comfortable with Weller’s experiments and building sonic style. Improvising visually with this Weller is creating many rewards. I can imagine myself hovering above the band, lifted by the physical sound. The Chris Weller/Devin Drobka Duo tours Europe this April/May with their cool new record Blues Town. I have my two copies (one to open, one to save).

March 28th, I found myself close to a new horn player (to my ears), Kentukyian Jacob Duncan at Café Mustache Chicago with True North’s Ashley Summers Baker on bass and Chris Baker on drums. Jacob is touring with a new record Busker. I have my signed copy. His sound is welcoming and strong. Ashley and Chris are also new collaborators. Fresh, grounded and inspiring.

The second act was Black Diamond; Hunter Diamond, Artie Black, Neil Hemphill and Anton Hatwich. The band brought power and stoked the creative fire. One of the joys of being on the scene, documenting, is revisiting a band. I get to paint Black Diamond again at Constellation for their record release on August 11th 2017. Collaboration is King.

Wayne Segal green lit my second visit with easel and canvas to the Jazz Showcase on May 29th for celebration upon special occasion with luminaries and movers and shakers in attendance. A giant Thank you to Sharon Friedman and Andy Pierce of BirdHouse Inc and (my favorite outdoor venue) Fred Anderson Park.

The Tatsu Aoki Quintet made praise to Fred Anderson and Paul Steinbeck introduced his University Press book Message To Our Folks; a labor of love about the Arts Ensemble of Chicago.

I can only communicate my love for the Aoki Quintet by painting. Words fail here. Wilkerson, Mosley, Sugimoto, Tatsu and Elysses were my sonic/scultpural muses (and at times it was all about Coco).

Paul Steinbeck and I had met a few years ago, and talked shop and Chicago creative music after a Roscoe Mitchell concert. I look forward to digging into the newly published work. The Arts Ensemble, as Edward Wilkerson said on stage at the Showcase, are a rare combination of artists supporting their scene through innovations musically and fiscally (hollowing out a bus for their spectacular equipment and running the business of making music work). We are nothing if not products of our forefathers in these arts. But we have to listen, revisit and question what we are doing. We are blessed that we have writers/educators and visionaries like Paul Steinbeck, Neil Tesser, Howard Mandel and Lauren Deutsch (to name a few in attendance) who put forth what we all need to see and hear.

I’m enjoying being a cog in this cool machine.

Next up for this live painter: Proyecto Libre on April 7th and Flesh & Bone on April 28th, both at Constellation. I’ll be the man creating in the shadows.


Feel free to engage in an email dialogue with me at about the sonic arts/visual arts movement.

Visit to view Jazz Occurrence Artwork.

Images all rights reserved 2016©lewisachenbach/ARS


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