With the release of its sophomore album, Leaves, Sidewalk Chalk continues to lead the contemporary evolution of hip-hop, soul, and jazz. The band’s roots are firmly planted in Chicago where all eight members bring their respective talents together to update a sound first heralded in the Native Tongues era but never so musically diverse. The group’s unique arrangement allows them to incorporate numerous styles seamlessly: an MC and female vocalist; a trio of keys, bass, and drums; a horn section with trombone and trumpet; and a tap-dancer.
In contrast to the 2012 debut release, Corner Store, this new album finds the group venturing into a grittier space and capitalizing on a subtle approach that is at times hauntingly beautiful. Leaves represents change, both the loss of something dear and the excitement of exploring something new. “The album is about growth, growing pains, and letting go of the past if need be,” states MC Rico Sisney. Vocalist Maggie Vagle adds, “It’s also about unfolding into a new color. Shedding to shine brighter."
Sidewalk Chalk has created a live show that captivates a variety of audiences. The group has already shared stages with ?uestlove, De La Soul, Action Bronson, Jean Grae, Hiatus Kaiyote and other notables. Individually, band members have acted as musical director(s) for Brother Ali, toured with Jazzanova and played behind Buddy Guy and Talib Kweli. Sidewalk Chalk was named "Most Outstanding Group" at the 2012 Chicago Music Awards, and its MC represented Chicago at the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai, China.
Sidewalk Chalk is: Rico Sisney (MC), Maggie Vagle (Vocals), Charlie Coffeen (Keys), Garrett McGinn (Bass), Tyler Berg (Drums), Jumaane Taylor (Taps), Sam Trump (Trumpet), and David Ben-Porat (Trombone).
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"Sidewalk Chalk dispels all the neat little boxes that individuals like to place musicians in as their sound is a fruit salad of hip-hop, jazz, soul and a splash of funk." - SoulBounce
"Sidewalk Chalk have formulated a style and tone that is emphatic in nature. Their melodies are emblazoned with the soul of the past. And their lyrics are drenched in the fervor of the present without ever losing the foresight of the soothsayer. They are a stoic group that embodies the prophetic peripheral of the culturally relevant and socially aware. Both are characteristics that seemed to have recently faded from hip-hop. With names like Lupe Fiasco backing their art, it is hard to foresee a future where this group isn’t representing Chicago on a grander scale." - John Matthew Simon, Do312
"Chicago’s Sidewalk Chalk aren’t so much a hip-hop crew as they are an ensemble. MC Rico Sisney and gospel-tinged vocalist Maggie Vagle have impressive technique and feel, and their full jazz band, complete with horn section, lays down tight grooves that remind us of The Low End Theory." - Stephen Trageser, Nashville Scene