Demo2DeRo: Vertikal

If youre looking for a Chicago analog to Okayplayerthe loose-knit, Philadelphia-based musical community centered on the Roots but also embracing Jill Scott, Erykah Badu, DAngelo and many othersthe nine-piece band Vertikal is a strong contender. Founded by local guitarist Anthony Allamandola and featuring a DJ, a three-piece horn section and two diverse front people with the sultry-voiced Stacy Rene and the spoken-word artist Ben Butta Jones.

Dedicated to bridging the gap between hip-hop and jazz but also incorporating elements of funk, neo-soul, Latin, rock and blues, the mixed-gender, multi-ethnic band nonetheless churns out some surprisingly seamless and very accomplished grooves on tracks such as Ready or Not and Time Chasin, currently streaming from its Web site, http://www.myspace.com/VERTIKALCHICAGO, and definitely in need of wider release.

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