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Solange LIVE at The Guggenheim!

May 20, 2017
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sologuggPhoto: Krisanne Johnson/Red Bull Content Pool

Post by New York Correspondent Charles Moschos

On a steamy day this past Thursday on the Upper East Side in New York City’s Guggenheim museum, nearly 1000 lucky patrons were able to witness a true artistic achievement.

A performance that not only felt very much of the moment, but also perfectly tinged for today’s racial and political American climate.
Solange’s album “A Seat At The Table” to me represented her arrival, someone who was demanding to be taken seriously, as an artist, a performer, a woman, an African-American.
Needless to say, if you know who Solange is, you know who her older sister is.  Beyoncé sits at the head of the table, as an artist, performer, goddess, etc.
But what Solange has accomplished, is to pave her own lane, refusing to be boxed in while staying under the radar enough to not lose her cool.
Her first adult album “Sol-Angel and The Hadley Street Dreams”, was enjoyable, and had all the right names in terms of A-list producers and features, yet it somehow failed to stand out in the R&B post Neo-Soul world.
Her next offering, “True”, a shorter more concise effort, was on taste makers lips and garnered her artistic applause.
To say no one was expecting this latest album from Solange would be un-precise, but timing is everything, and if big sister Beyoncé made the best album of last year in “Lemonade”, Solange made the album that seems to best represent the cultural response needed to last year.  While Beyonce seemed to let us in more than ever and the songs on “Lemonade” were more hurtful, personal and powerful than usual, there was still a separation and a performance aspect to a woman whose life, and statuesque quality seem almost too perfect.  Solange on the other hand seemed to bleed and sweat through this album, from the interludes with her mother, and Master P, whose story she said reminded her of her father, to the lyrics, the listening experience was truly raw and emotional.
Which brings us back to Thursday, where she perfectly manifested the albums artistic qualities in a setting that seemed tailor-made for her to express herself.  The circular rotunda of the Guggenheim was lined with guests, all wearing white, including the ground floor where everyone sat Indian style.
The afternoon show started at 3pm, and most fans waited patiently mingling as if at a gallery opening until just before 4pm when museum staff started clearing a path for the performers to be able and make their way from the top down.
The band entered first on the ground floor, taking up their instruments and playing an eerie bass and Rhodes piano note that seemed to signal the start of something serious.
And sure enough around a dozen dancers in white, two back up singers in caramel, and Solange also in a caramel monochromatic outfit started making their way down in a line from the top.
It was a powerful entrance, and Solange who was in the middle of the pack coming down stood out immediately with her stature, hair and height.  She was noticeably taller than the back up singers and dancers.  All wearing no shoes.
When they arrived on the ground floor they flowed into simultaneous dance routines before starting the opening song, “Rise”.
The dancing as a whole was very Alvin Ailey-esque, and seemed to blur the lines between retro and modern.  High praise for boldly executing the originality and authenticity of the vision set forth. Especially since Solange herself designed, choreographed, and controlled every aspect of the performance.
At first people were in awe, and Solange seemed to revel in the energy, ferocious and animated in her actions, even as they were tempered at times by the choreography.
It should be noted that phones/cameras were not allowed in the museum, and were checked in at the door. This was managed well, and contributed to the intimacy and energy in the space.
By the time she got into the stand out track of the album “Cranes In The Sky”, it almost felt like the culmination of her performance only three songs in.
Needless to say by that point everyone started to loosen up and sing along, which allowed the performance to feel even more interactive and experimental.
From there the band seemed to hit a groove on the bass heavy “Mad”, which features Lil Wayne on the album version and states “you’ve got the right to be mad”, the live version literally screamed and let out a palpable social angst.
Continuing on that emotional wave Solange got into “F.U.B.U”, and waded through the crowd as she sang the lyrics, stopping and connecting individually with a few fans.  All while a 15 piece horn section appeared out of nowhere filing 3 levels of the rotunda behind the band, disappearing and reappearing throughout the song.  It’s effect, beyond musical, really brought in the buildings Frank Lloyd Wright designed space as part of the set.
The show finished with a flurry of dance moves, all of the shows performers taking part, and ended with Solange finally smiling, and exhaling. Taking it all in for herself and enjoying the moment.
Nobody’s little sister, she was the star of the show.

 

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Allen Toussaint-Gentlemen, Scholar, Composer and Gift to the World-1938-2015

November 10, 2015

allen-toussaintEarly this morning a true miracle of the music world left us. He was a renaissance man, songwriter/composer, record producer, and influential figure in New Orleans R&B.

Many of Allen Toussaint’s songs became familiar through versions by other musicians, including “Working in the Coal Mine“, “Ride Your Pony”, “Fortune Teller“, “Play Something Sweet (Brickyard Blues)“, “Southern Nights“, “Everything I Do Gonna Be Funky”, “I’ll Take a Melody”, “Get Out of My Life, Woman” and “Mother-in-Law“.

We will always remember the music and the magic of Mr. Allen Toussaint.

Jane Monheit is LIVE at Birdland October 13th through October 17th Celebrating the Music of Ella Fitzgerald!

October 12, 2015
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janeCritically acclaimed vocalist Jane Monheit’s silky phrasing and natural knack for storytelling have established her as one of the most beloved and accomplished vocalists on the scene. See her perform The Songbook Sessions: Music of Ella Fitzgerald at Birdland!

Jane Monheit is a jazz and pop vocalist for Concord Records. She has collaborated with artists such as John Pizzarelli, Michael Bublé, Ivan Lins, Terence Blanchard and Tom Harrell, and has received Grammy nominations for two of her recordings. We are very excited to be in attendance for this wonderful performance.

Get your tickets here! And we will see you there!

TONIGHT! LIVE! Noah Preminger is Celebrating the Release of Pivot: Live at the 55 Bar!

October 7, 2015
Noah-PermingerNate Chinen of the NY Times says: “On his often ecstatic new album, ‘Pivot: Live at the 55 Bar,’ the tenor saxophonist Noah Preminger leads his new band in a pair of incantatory half-hour extemporizations on classic blues by Bukka White.”
Preminger celebrates the release in NYC on Wednesday, October 7 that’s TONIGHT at the 55 Bar.
Exploring both his obsession with age-old Delta blues and his desire for a more fluid, intense way of playing jazz, Preminger’s new recording features a kindred-spirit quartet with Jason Palmer on trumpet, Kim Cass on bass and Ian Froman on drums. The group is captured performing two thrilling half-hour rhapsodies based on songs by one of the saxophonist’s favorite blues singers, Bukka White, by way of Ornette Coleman’s Free Jazz, Sonny Rollins’ wide-open Our Man in Jazz and the John Coltrane Quartet’s last, envelope-pushing flights, all the while transmuting past into present for a 21st-century vision of free-minded but hard-swinging jazz.
Here are a few words about the recording from the man himself;
This new record, Pivot: Live at the 55 Bar, has a few different concepts that I’ve been exploring over the past few years. I stopped listening to music a number of years ago, but occasionally I will put on the blues. The region of blues music that seems to touch me the most is from the Mississippi Delta – The cats sang and played with such a sense of urgency, honesty and grit! That is exactly what I want my playing to portray when one listens. The musicians also had a very natural way of phrasing that I seem to have always been able to relate to. Because their storytelling is so brilliant and truthful, I decided my band (comprised of my favorite storytellers) would record two lengthy songs where we improvise based on melodies by the blues singer Bukka White, using chordal pivoting as a tool to dig more deeply into each story.
We know you’re gonna love THIS! See you at 55 Bar!

TONIGHT! LIVE! CARNEGIE HALL!! We Celebrate the Incredible Artistry of Mr. Bill Withers!

October 1, 2015

bill!

In his brief career, Bill Withers wrote some indelible hits, enough to get him inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this year. But since quitting the music business in the mid-1980s, Withers has been so low-key, so media-shy, that most people wouldn’t recognize him if he sat down next to them. In fact that happened once at a restaurant in Los Angeles.

“Yeah, Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles up on Pico. These ladies looked like they had just come from church or something, and they were talking about this Bill Withers song — so, I was going to have some fun with them,” he explains. “I said, ‘I’m Bill Withers.’ And this lady said, ‘You ain’t no Bill Withers. You too light-skinned to be Bill Withers.’ Even after I showed them my driver’s license, they weren’t buying it.”

Withers is getting some proper recognition this week with a Thursday-night tribute concert at Carnegie Hall called “Lean On Him.” Artists will perform songs Withers played in that very space four decades ago, the recordings of which would becomeLive at Carnegie Hall, which Rolling Stone included in its list of the 50 Greatest Live Albums of All Time.

It’s a safe bet the show will include a rendition of its namesake, “Lean on Me,” a song Withers says he wrote about his friends and neighbors as a child. The singer grew up in a coal town in West Virginia, and was first man in his family not to work in the mines. And tonight you can catch Bill Withers and friends old and new at one of the most exciting musical events to hit this town in a very long time.

Here is the amazzzzing line up;

Ed Sheeran
Aloe Blacc
Amos Lee
Keb’ Mo’
Michael McDonald
Gregory Porter
Kathy Mattea
Ledisi
Dr. John
Branford Marsalis
Jonathan Butler
Anthony Hamilton

…and many more surprises….

Get up, Get out, and Get there!

Eric Revis, Kurt Rosenwinkel, and Nasheet Waits are LIVE at The Village Vanguard TONIGHT!!

September 25, 2015
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bassOne of the most talented and accomplished musicians of his generation, Grammy Award-winning bassist and composer Eric Revis has, over the past 15 years, become an important voice in jazz. Branford Marsalis states, “Eric’s sound is the sound of doom; big, thick, percussive.” Scores of musicians across various disciplines agree.  Revis has performed and recorded with Betty Carter, Peter Brotzmann, Jeff “Tain” Watts, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Steve Coleman, Ralph Peterson, Lionel Hampton, McCoy Tyner, Andrew Cyrille, and Tarbaby (the experimental trio he tri-leads with Orrin Evans and Nasheet Waits).

Manning the bass chair with Branford Marsalis’ powerfully flexible quartet since 1997, Revis has also recorded four brilliant albums as a leader.  2004’s Tales of the Stuttering Mime and 2009’s Laughter’s Necklace of Tears have both revealed his startling range as a musician and composer. Informed by his past but not tethered to it, a glimpse into the musical trajectory of this artist is indelibly clear on his latest release Parallax (Clean Feed ) and the soon to be released City of Asylum (Clean Feed).

And may catch Mr. Revis LIVE thru Sunday with Kurt Rosenwinkel on Guitar and Nasheet Waits on Drums. You’re gonna LOVE this! See you at the Vanguard!

The Royal Bopsters CD Release Celebration is LIVE at Birdland September 15th through the 19th!!

September 15, 2015

royal_bopsters_cover
The Royal Bopsters are Amy London, Darmon Meader, Dylan Pramuk, Holli Ross
& Trio + Special Guests:
With singers ranging from age 33 to 93 (Jon Hendricks 94th Birthday is 9/16!), The Royal Bopsters Project is a multi-generational vocal summit on which the talents of singers Amy London, Darmon Meader, Dylan Pramuk and Holli Ross unite in harmony to pay tribute to the art of vocalese singing. The five vocalese pioneers featured on The Royal Bopsters each helped to invent the ‘vocalese’ art form: NEA Jazz Masters and Grammy Award-winners Jon Hendricks and Annie Ross (b.1930) who together represent two thirds of the pioneering vocalese group Lambert, Hendricks & Ross; NEA Jazz Master Sheila Jordan (b.1928); and Arkansas Hall of Famer and Schoolhouse Rock mastermind Bob Dorough (b. 1923) each take a turn in the guest spotlight. *Legendary vocalist Andy Bey fills in for Bopster Mark Murphy who is unable to perform. With Steve Schmidt (piano) Sean Smith (bass) Steve Williams (drums) Steve Kroon (percussion) Roni Ben Hur (guitar).
Call
birdland-logo

@212.581.3080 for reservations.

Here is the amazing line-up;

9/15 & 17: Andy Bey & Sheila Jordan
9/16: Andy Bey, Bob Dorough, Jon Hendricks, Sheila Jordan & Annie Ross
9/18 & 19: Bob Dorough & Annie Ross