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Edgefest 2018: Chicago-Out Kind of Town

“The annual rite of fall in Michigan music…running off the beaten tracks.” – Downbeat


Kerrytown Concert House (KCH) presents its 22nd annual avant-garde jazz and creative new music festival Edgefest 2018: Chicago-Out Kind of Town.  Almost a century ago the Russian poet Vladimir Mayakovski wrote: “Then there is Chicago and this Chicago is different from all other cities—different not by its houses or its people, but by its very own, Chicago-style centered energy.” This metropolis has long attracted people from all over the world and music has always played an important role, be it early jazz, blues, house music, or avant-garde improvisation. Edgefest 2018 celebrates the experimental sounds of Chicago, including artists of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) and the iconic Art Ensemble of Chicago (AEC).  Since the 1960’s these artists have established new forms of music and new avenues for artistic self-determination and social involvement. Artists who currently populate the improvising scene in Chicago will be featured along with those whose creativity will always be associated with the city. All share that illusive “Chicago-style centered energy” that has existed since King Oliver brought his music there a century ago.

Community Impact

Diverse audiences from the region and beyond are exposed to this oft-ignored, category-defying musical genre through a series of free and ticketed public concerts in downtown Ann Arbor with related educational activities.

Edgefest creates a community spirit making engagement the lifeblood of the festival with in-depth school workshops and an improvised music parade offering the next generation fun and accessible introductions to uncompromising creativity.

At KCH, one cannot avoid “meeting the composer”! One is never more than 8 rows from composer/performers as they speak/perform. Post-receptions encourage more interaction.

Funding and awards: ASCAP/CMA award- adventurous programming; NEA; Chamber Music America; Foundations/individuals.


Ticketed concerts: KCH (115) and nearby church (400). Concerts are recorded. 2 concerts are broadcast live by WCBN radio.

Project Media

Light on the Path
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Artists: Nicole Mitchell, flute and electronics; Tomeka Reid, cello; Mike Reed, drums | Album: Artifacts | Date Released: 2015 | The trio is confirmed as a featured ensemble for Edgefest 2018.

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Features: Roscoe Mitchell

Artists: Roscoe Mitchell, saxophone; Craig Taborn, piano; Kikanju Baku, drums/percussion | Album: Conversations I | Date Released: 2014 |

A confirmed artist for Edgefest ’18, Mr. Mitchell will write music for large ensemble based on compositions of former AEC members; celebrating the 50th Anniversary and paying tribute to the now deceased members Lester Bowie, Joseph Jarman and Malachi Favors for their lasting contributions to “Great Black Music-Ancient to the Future”.

No recent AEC recordings; A new release of AEC is expected in 2019

Start and End Dates



Ann Arbor, Michigan

Project Created By

Ann Arbor, Michigan
Mission Statement: Kerrytown Concert House exists to support the artistic community; artists, music teachers, audience members. “Kerrytown has filled an important niche in Ann Arbor’s musical culture . . . the House has proved so invaluable that one wonders how Ann Arbor ever survived without it…a musical Mecca…” – Ann Arbor News Founded in June 1984…

In Collaboration With

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Chicago, Illinois


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