Not long after Marshall Jefferson returned to house music with “It’s Alright” in November, he’s brought an old friend along for another release. The seminal Chicago house figurehead has reunited with vocalist Byron Stingily to deliver “Be Free,” the first track in over 25 years under their Ten City project.
Out via Ultra Records, “Be Free” follows a creative approach similar to those recently taken by other early Chicago mainstays like Vince Lawrence and Anthony Thomas by fusing house music with the disco that originally paved the way for it. Stingily’s soulful vocal is framed by vivacious horns and a funky, jazzy bass line, with lyrics that touch on relatable themes. Also credited are Emmaculate and Shannon Chambers, each of whom boast Chicago house credentials of their own.
A Tale of Ten City
Ten City originally went by the name Ragtyme and was comprised of Byron Stingily, Byron Burke, and Herb Lawson. The rebrand followed 1987 singles like “I Can’t Stay Away” and “Fix It Man” via Bright Star Records, and the group went on to achieve mainstream success uncommon to house artists when their songs “Devotion,” “Right Back to You,” and “That’s the Way Love Is,” each hit #1 on Billboard‘s Dance Club Songs chart.
Big Shot Magazine notes that Marshall Jefferson was an unofficial member of Ten City despite producing their music. For the foreseeable future, however, he and Stingily will be the artists associated with the moniker.
“’Be Free’ encompasses the spirit of dance and house music,” Stingily said of the single. “Many times people focus on our differences but ‘Be Free’ speaks to how we are more alike than different. It is a song about respecting and appreciating our differences.”
Stream or download “Be Free” across platforms here.