Chicago Sun-Times
Tuning in with Thomas Conner

Demo2DeRo: Vertikal

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If you’re looking for a Chicago analog to Okayplayer—the loose-knit, Philadelphia-based musical community centered on the Roots but also embracing Jill Scott, Erykah Badu, D’Angelo and many others—the 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,, and definitely in need of wider release.

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I discovered Vertikal a while ago and I agree that they need wider release. Great band!

The best Hiphop/jazz group that I know in chicago is VertiKal. They started in the basement and they're commin' up. They've come a long way and God bless them.

i saw Vertikal at Morseland cafe a last month.... they laid it DOWN. I am definitely going to be back to catch them sometime soon. Watch out for these guys....

Since their first show at Quenchers I knew that Vertikal would go far. They have played all around Chicago including the Metro, but the challenge is keeping them on a stage large enough for the whole band. Can't wait for the album.

I try to go to as many shows of Vertikal's as possible! I love every song they do, can't wait for the album and for more! I always have a great time at their shows and am proud to have them as representatives of contemporary Chicago!

This band is worth going to see live! Bring dancin' shoes--sneakers, that is.

Vertikal is one of the most exciting shows I have seen in a long time. The energy that all of the members bring with them is infectious. They are great in all different size venues too!

This band is simply amazing! They are a refreshing revitilization or "REAL" music in the midst of the same old same old....formula. It was be EXTREMELY dissapointing to have witnessed them but not see them reach MASS appeal.

The band is great, however, Butta is a completely amazing performer and artist. Rocking the mic from a sitting position, he can still get you on your feet. I often compare his talent to Prince in that he is multi talented and can pick up any instrument and master it (poetry, mcing, bass, turntables, etc). I'm definitely a fan.

Viva la Vertikal!

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This page contains a single entry by Jim DeRogatis published on May 6, 2008 4:54 PM.

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