It’s 2019, and clarinetist, composer and pianist Angel Bat Dawid explodes onto the Chicago scene with her debut album, “The Oracle.” The album was recorded, overdubbed, and arranged almost entirely on a smartphone app—and initially intended as just a demo tape for assembling a larger project. Two years later in 2021, she is already considered a luminary in her field: the Chicago Tribune has declared her the city’s jazz musician of the year; she is a featured artist in Pitchfork’s 25 artists shaping the future; and she joins the lineup of critically acclaimed festivals such as Le Guess Who?, Big Ears, and Primavera Sound.
Angel’s unexpected success speaks to her remarkable voice—she delivers raw and unfiltered emotion with flood-like energy and honesty. “The Oracle” echoes ancestral agonies and reinterprets them through blues and spirituals, with influences ranging from Yusef Lateef to Mozart to George Clinton, Rahsaan Roland Kirk and Sun Ra. Now at the helm of her eight-piece ensemble, Tha Brothahood, Angel sets out to map the Black experience in an ecstatic polyphonic performance that both liberates and exorcizes.