September 13, 2013

Friday night live at Transistor: Astrohillbillies and the Caroline Davis Quartet. Sound by Jon Monteverde.

Chicago-based The Astrohillbillies play original outlaw country, folk and jazz standards. Like most hillbillies, they draw deep from the roots of rural American heritage; unlike most hillbillies, they also embody an eclecticism only obtained by traveling through time and space. Each of their songs is a story, bringing points of view from unlikely characters such as a demoted dwarf planet and George Herriman's Krazy Kat. Founded on the songwriting duo of Julie Jurgens (vocals, banjo, pocket trumpet, German horn) and Rob Reid (vocals, guitar, clarinet, tin whistle), the group is often joined by a rhythm section for local Chicago gigs. They are ever-willing to pack as many instruments and band mates as they can possibly fit in Julie's tiny Toyota Corolla and take their show on the road.

For their Transistor set The Astrohillbillies were joined by low-frequency fanatic Eric Hill on bass, Raul Cotaquispe on drums and Kevin Florian on electric guitar for a mostly original set, featuring a balance of amorous train wrecks, numismatic show tunes, and murder jazz.

Visit The Astrohillbillies' website.

Born in Singapore to Swedish and British parents, Caroline Davis finds her creative voice as an active musician in the Chicago area. On the performance front, she has enjoyed performances with Matt Wilson, Ellis Marsalis, Dennis Carroll and Bobby Broom. She was invited to perform in IAJEs Sisters in Jazz Collegiate All-Stars (2006), the Kennedy Center's Betty Carter Jazz Ahead Program (2011), and received an Outstanding Soloist award from Downbeat (2007). In addition to playing with her original music projects (Caroline Davis Quartet, bass-less trio Whirlpool, and soul group Maitri), Caroline frequently appears with local bands Fatbook, Deep Fayed and oRSo. She has also received wide recognition in the academic sector, including invitations to conferences in Portugal, England, Japan, Italy, Canada and Finland. She holds a Ph.D. from Northwestern University in Music Cognition and has recently been an adjunct instructor at both DePaul and Northwestern Universities, and a teaching assistant at the UTA Summer Music, Litchfield Jazz and Birch Creek Jazz Camps.

For this Transistor performance Caroline was joined by Russ Johnson on trumpet, Matt Ferguson on bass, and Jeremy Cunningham on drums. The music was a mix of modern and traditional jazz, mostly original compositions.

Visit Caroline's website.

Find more live performance recordings on our archive page.