Formed in 2008, the collaborative trio Chicago Goes West features three young musicians based in different North American locations. The group's founder, Calgary-based drummer Kari Schwonik, first met Montréal bassist Nic Bédard while studying at McGill University, and later Chicago saxophonist James Davis, teaching at a jazz camp in Connecticut. The award-winning drummer created Chicago Goes West soon after, inspired by the two musicians' versatility and technique. After a cross-Canada tour in 2009, stopping at the J.F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C., the traditional jazz trio released their debut, self-titled album that same year.