Angel Bat Dawid & Sistazz of the Nitty Gritty
For Angel Bat Dawid, music is not just the work of the hands, the breath, and the ears. It is all that and more, involving the entire body. When the Chicago multi-instrumentalist plays the keyboard, she strafes it with forearms and pounds it with fists. When she plays the clarinet, she bends tactile grooves into the air. When she sings, she wrenches the words from great depths, sometimes collapsing or convulsing as if seized by prophecies of Black solidarity and survival. Whenever she improvises or composes, she bodies forth free-jazz soundscapes of rattling intensity and soothing beauty.
Bat Dawid’s 2019 album, The Oracle, is a chimera of opera, gospel, and jazz that she multitracked on her phone. A supremely original entry in the experimental lineage of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians and the Art Ensemble of Chicago, it was praised for being “futuristic in tone but hardwired to an ancient and deeply spiritual vision of what music can achieve” by The Guardian, which dubbed Bat Dawid “jazz’s brightest new star.”
Those recordings were initially meant as a sketch for Bat Dawid’s ensemble, Tha Brothahood, but that vision didn’t flower until LIVE in 2020, which Pitchfork hailed as a “revelatory and confrontational” vessel for ecstatic, holistic group improvisation. She brings another, newer ensemble, The Sistazz of the Nitty Gritty, to Big Ears, featuring two very young and gifted musicians, the bassist Brooklynn Skye Scott and the pianist Anaiet Sivad.