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Chicago cellist and composer Tomeka Reid was commissioned to create original music for the first documentary of the Imagists, mid 60's Chicago post-surrealists artists who exhibited together; Reid reworked the music into a fully realized suite for this CD release.

Reid, Tomeka
Hairy Who & The Chicago Imagists

Reid, Tomeka : Hairy Who & The Chicago Imagists (Corbett vs. Dempsey)

Label: Corbett vs. Dempsey    
Released in: USA    

"Chicago-based cellist and composer Tomeka Reid, a mainstay on the Windy City scene and an important contemporary member of the A.A.C.M., was commissioned to create original music for the first documentary to chronicle the Imagists, Chicago's hometown post-surrealists who exhibited together starting in the mid-1960s. Reid composed theme music for the film and made a wide range of multi-track improvisations based on moods, creating a tableau from which the film drew as it unwound the artists' circuitous tale. For the CD, Reid returned to the studio to make new versions of some of the tracks and to transform the extant material into a fully realized suite of music. It retains a sense of light-heartedness and depth, whimsy and melancholy, adding voice and percussion to her indelible cello."-John Corbett

The Chicago Imagists are a group of representational artists associated with the School of the Art Institute of Chicago who exhibited at the Hyde Park Art Center in the late 1960s. Their work was known for grotesquerie, surrealism and complete uninvolvement with New York art world trends. Critic Ken Johnson referred to Chicago Imagism as "the postwar tradition of fantasy-based art making." Senior "Chicago" Magazine editor Christine Newman said, "Even with the Beatles and the Vietnam War in the forefront, the artists made their own way, staking out their time, their place, and their work as an unforgettable happening in art history." The Imagists had an unusually high proportion of female artists.


Many of the later Chicago Imagists were mentored by School of the Art Institute teacher and artist Ray Yoshida and art history professor Whitney Halstead.

In 1964, Jim Nutt and Gladys Nilsson began to teach children's classes at the Hyde Park Art Center in Chicago. They and James Falconer approached the center's exhibitions director, Don Baum, with the idea of a group show consisting of the three of them and Art Green and Suellen Rocca. Baum agreed, and also suggested they include Karl Wirsum.

The six artists held exhibitions at the Hyde Park Art Center in 1966, 1967, and 1968. They named the exhibitions "Hairy Who?" but never intended to organize themselves together as a unified group. The naming of the exhibition was explained in an interview conducted by Dan Nadel with artist Jim Nutt; "At the time art show names were very cool, the less they said about the work the cooler (better). There had been a number of shows at MoMA... titled "Sixteen Americans" or "Thirteen Americans"... All of us were determined not to emulate such suave coolness, but didn't have a clue what would work. At our first get-together to discuss the show we were getting nowhere with this problem. This was also our first exposure to Karl in the flesh for the five of us. As frustration mounted from not solving the dilemma, group discussion disintegrated into smaller units, when Karl was heard saying plaintively, "Harry who? Who is this guy?" At which point some of us were hysterically incredulous that he didn't know about Harry Bouras, the exceptionally self-important artist who was the art critic for WFMT, the cultural FM station in Chicago. All of us found this very funny, including Karl, and as we bantered about variations of the situation, we realized the potential for the name, especially if we changed Harry to Hairy."

The Hairy Who included: Art Green; Gladys Nilsson; Jim Nutt; Jim Falconer; Suellen Rocca; Karl Wirsum"-Wikipedia

Related Categories of Interest:

Improvised Music
Free Improvisation
Chicago Jazz & Improvisation
Trio Recordings
Soundtracks, Movie Scores, &c.

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Product Information:


Label: Corbett vs. Dempsey
Catalog ID: CvsDCD017
Squidco Product Code: 19870

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2014
Country: USA
Packaging: Cardboard Gatefold
Recorded at Experimental Sound Studio in Chicago, Illinois on May 2013 and April and May 2014 by ALex Inglizian.


Tomeka Reid-cello, vocals

Kiara Lanier-vocals

Adam Vida-percussion

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Track Listing:

1. Imaginist Theme 3:03

2. Hairy Shoes (Ed Paschke) 2:49

3. Tin Eared Tenor (Karl Wirsum) 1:58

4. The Enterprize Encounterized By The Spydar People (Gladys Nilsson) 1:48

5. Morbid Sunshine By A Miner's Artist (Jim Falconer) 1:14

6. 3-D Do (Barbara Rossi) 2:48

7. Jizz And Jazz (Ray Yoshida) 1:30

8. Imaginst Theme (Reprise) 0:54

9. Glass Light 2:07

10. Palm Tree Lampshade (Suellen Rocca) 1:29

11. Bridged (Christina Ramberg) 2:49

12. Snooper Trooper (Jim Nutt) 1:32

13. Buttermilk Sky (Roger Brown) 1:11

14. Zero Dead Hero (Ed Flood) 2:46

15. The Design And The Dilemma (Art Green) 1:18

16. O, Number I (Don Baum) 0:59

17. Double Take (Sarah Canright) 3:10

18. Dappled Pleasure Dress (Philip Hanson) 0:48

19. Imagist Theme (Revised) 3:12