Legendary guitarist, singer, songwriter and Rock ‘N’ Roll Hall Of Famer Elvin Bishop will receive the Chris Strachwitz Legacy Award from The Arhoolie Foundation at the second annual Arhoolie Awards And Benefit Show in San Francisco on Friday, November 22.
Elvin Bishop’s Big Fun Trio (Elvin on guitar and vocals, Bob Welsh on piano and guitar and Willy Jordan on cajón and vocals) will headline the event which will take place at The Chapel, 770 Valencia Street, in San Francisco. More information can be found at arhoolie.org/2019benefit.
The honor, according to Arhoolie.org, “recognizes exceptional musicians, teachers, community organizations, documentarians, and individuals working creatively to help keep tradition-based styles of music alive and moving forward. Nominations are made by board members, friends, and experts in our field. Winners are chosen by Chris Strachwitz and the Arhoolie Foundation board of directors. This award is simply meant to encourage, support, and shine a light on extraordinary individuals and organizations, and to help them continue their good work.”
Bishop’s latest Alligator Records release (and second with The Big Fun Trio) is Something Smells Funky ‘Round Here.Living Blues calls it “joyously raunchy, fun-loving music.” Both Something Smells Funky ‘Round Here and their previous self-titled album, Elvin Bishop’s Big Fun Trio, received Grammy Award nominations. According to Bishop, “With a trio there’s no place to hide—you’ve got to be pourin’ everything you got right out front. You need to be totally into it all the time. It’s really cool to see how people react to the goin’-for-it feel of the music.”
Ever since Bishop first hit the scene with the Paul Butterfield Blues Band back in 1965, he’s blazed his own musical trail. Whether he was playing raw, eye-popping blues, or penning the evergreen radio hit Fooled Around And Fell In Love, or touring the world for decades delivering his original, good-time countrified blues, Bishop has always inspired his fans with his rowdy guitar playing and witty, slice-of-life songs. Rolling Stone calls Bishop “a legendary guitarist” whose playing is “impeccable and spirited…a distinguished American player.”
Jazz at Princeton University Announces Diverse and Compelling Season
October 12, 2019 – May 9, 2020
Guest artists include Portuguese vocalist/composer Sara Serpa with Nigerian writer Emmanuel Iduma, Chilean vocal sensation Claudia Acuña, & Grammy-nominated Cuban drummer & MacArthur Fellow Dafnis Prieto
Faculty groups are led by Jazz at Princeton head Rudresh Mahanthappa, Trineice Robinson-Martin, Jay Clayton, Matthew Parrish, Darcy James Argue
2nd annual Princeton University Jazz Festival slated for Saturday, April 18, 2020
Jazz at Princeton University, helmed by acclaimed saxophonist/composer Rudresh Mahanthappa, presents a thrilling and diverse 2019-2020 season, October 12, 2019 – May 9, 2020. Highlights include performances by student groups joined by guest artists including acclaimed Portuguese vocalist/composer Sara Serpa with her Intimate Strangers project, Chilean vocal sensation Claudia Acuña, and Grammy-nominated Cuban drummer Dafnis Prieto. After a resoundingly successful inaugural year, Jazz at Princeton will also present the second annual Princeton University Jazz Festival on April 18, 2020. “I’m very excited about the depth and breadth of this year’s Jazz at Princeton program,” says Mahanthappa. “With the contribution of some of jazz’s most inventive artists working alongside our accomplished students, we are hosting concerts that will engage, inspire and entertain. Last year’s launch of the annual Princeton University Jazz Festival was a great success, and the second edition promises to be just as outstanding.”
Jazz at Princeton’s six major student ensembles include the Creative Large Ensemble directed by Darcy James Argue, Small Groups I and A directed by Mahanthappa, Small Group X directed by Matthew Parrish, the Jazz Vocal Collective directed by Trineice Robinson–Martin, and the Vocal Improvisation Ensemble directed by Jay Clayton.
A collaboration between Portuguese vocalist-composer Sara Serpa and Nigerian writer Emmanuel Iduma that draws inspiration from Iduma’s latest book, A Stranger’s Pose, a unique blend of travelogue, musings and poetry, with a foreword by Teju Cole. In a combination of music, text, image and field recordings collected by Iduma during his travels, Intimate Strangers explores themes of movement, home, grief, absence and desire in what Iduma calls “an atlas of a borderless world.” Co-sponsored by Jazz at Princeton and the Program in African Studies.
Sara Serpa – voice, composition | Emmanuel Iduma – text, spoken word Sofía Rei, Aubrey Johnson – voice | Matt Mitchell -piano | Qasim Naqvi – modular synth
Sara Serpa is a singer, composer, improviser who implements a unique instrumental approach to her vocal style. Recognized for her distinctive wordless singing, Serpa has been immersed in the field of jazz, improvised and experimental music since first arriving in New York in 2008. Described by JazzTimes as “a master of wordless landscapes” and by the New York Times as “a singer of silvery poise and cosmopolitan outlook,” Serpa started her recording and performing career with jazz luminaries such as Grammy-nominated pianist Danilo Perez, Guggenheim and MacArthur Fellow pianist Ran Blake, and Greg Osby. Her ethereal music draws from a broad variety of inspirations including literature, film, visual arts as well as history and nature. As a leader, she has produced and released nine albums, (with labels Sunnyside Records, Clean Feed, Tzadik and Inner Circle Music); the latest being “Close Up” in collaboration with saxophonist Ingrid Laubrock and cellist Erik Friedlander. Serpa has collaborated with an extensive array of musicians including John Zorn, Guillermo Klein, Zeena Parkins, Mark Turner, Tyshawn Sorey, and Nicole Mitchell, among many others. She has performed her own music in Europe, Australia, North and South America, singing at international festivals such as Festa do Jazz, the Panama Jazz Festival, Festival de Jazz de Montevideo, Wangaratta Jazz Festival and Adelaide Festival, Sopot Jazz Festival or venues like Bimhuis, Casa da Música, Village Vanguard, Jazz Standard, The Stone, Brooklyn Academy of Music, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Kennedy Center for the Arts, among others.
Emmanuel Iduma is a writer of fiction and nonfiction. Born and raised in Nigeria, he has contributed essays and stories to journals, magazines, artists’ books, and exhibition catalogues. He is the author of The Sound of Things to Come (first published as Farad in Nigeria), and received a 2017 Creative Capital/Warhol Foundation grant in arts writing, for his blog A Sum of Encounters. He is a faculty member at the School of Visual Arts, where he obtained an MFA in Art Criticism and Writing. In 2017, he was associate curator of the Nigerian pavilion at the Venice Biennale. He is the author, most recently, of A Stranger’s Pose.
Jazz at Princeton University’s Small Groups I and A, directed by award-winning saxophonist and program director Rudresh Mahanthappa, present an evening of jazz at its most intimate in a showcase of improvisation and inspiring interaction.
Jazz at Princeton University’s Jazz Vocal Collective (JVC), Princeton University’s elite small jazz ensemble that features solo voice, will join director Dr. Trineice Robinson-Martin and showcase their original arrangements of classic and contemporary jazz compositions.
Internationally recognized as one of the leading pedagogues in gospel and soul voice training, Dr. Trineice Robinson-Martin specializes in vocal pedagogy and performance practices for contemporary commercial music styles (i.e. jazz, pop, gospel, R&B, country, rock, music theater, etc.). As the creator of Soul Ingredients®, a methodology for nurturing vocal freedom and authentic musical interpretation and expression, Dr. Robinson-Martin regularly travels nationally and internationally teaching voice, lecturing and giving workshops.
Jazz at Princeton University’s Creative Large Ensemble led by Darcy James Argue continues to redefine the big band in an innovative program encompassing classic and contemporary repertoire.
Vancouver-born, Brooklyn-based composer and bandleader Darcy James Argue has toured nationally and internationally with his 18-piece ensemble, Secret Society. Argue made his mark with his critically acclaimed 2009 debut Infernal Machines. 2013 saw the release of Brooklyn Babylon, which, like Infernal Machines before it, earned the group nominations for both GRAMMY and JUNO Awards. His most recent recording, Real Enemies, released in the fall of 2016, earned a third consecutive GRAMMY nomination. Secret Society maintains a busy touring schedule, with European, Canadian, and South American tours and four appearances at the Newport Jazz Festival. Argue has also toured Australia and New Zealand leading the Jazzgroove Mothership Orchestra. He has led performances of his music by the WDR Big Band, the Danish Radio Big Band, the Frankfurt Radio Big Band, the Cologne Contemporary Jazz Orchestra, the Big Band Palácio das Artes, and the West Point Jazz Knights. Argue has composed works for chamber duo and string quartet, art songs for Newspeak, and created arrangements for the Atlanta Symphony. In 2015, Argue was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in Music Composition and a Doris Duke Artist Award. He has received commissions from the Fromm Music Foundation, the Jazz Gallery, the Manhattan New Music Project, the Jerome Foundation, and BAM, as well as ensembles including the Danish Radio Big Band, the Hard Rubber Orchestra, the West Point Jazz Knights, and the Orquestra Jazz de Matosinhos. He is the recipient of grants and fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts, New Music USA, the Aaron Copland Fund for Music, Composers Now, the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, the Canada Council for the Arts, and the MacDowell Colony.
Jazz at Princeton University’s Vocal Improvisation Ensemble (VIE), directed by world-renowned Jay Clayton, presents its first performance of the year.
Jay Clayton is an internationally acclaimed vocalist, composer, and educator, whose work boldly spans the terrain between jazz and new music. Jay has gained worldwide attention as both performer and teacher. With more than 40 recordings to her credit, Clayton has appeared alongside such formidable artists as Muhal Richard Abrams, Steve Reich, Kirk Nurock, Julian Priester, Jerry Granelli, Jane Ira Bloom, Gary Bartz, Jack Wilkins, George Cables, Fred Hersch, Gary Thomas, tap dancer Brenda Bufalino as well as fellow vocalists Jeanne Lee, Norma Winstone, Urszula Dudziak and Bobby McFerrin. She has taught extensively throughout the world and was on the jazz faculty of Cornish College of the Arts for 20 years. She is currently on the jazz faculty at Peabody Institute in Baltimore. Her book, “Sing Your Story: A Practical Guide for Learning and Teaching the Art of Jazz Singing,” was published by Advance Music in 2001.
The Princeton University Jazz ‘Ensemble X’ performs under the direction of master bassist Matthew Parrish. This ensemble evokes the small group tradition of the Art Blakey groups of the 50’s and 60’s where improvisation and inspiring interaction are key. The group performs as a septet with several featured trio performances.
Matthew Parrish is a sought-after performer, arranger, composer, producer, and instructor. Matthew’s warmth in his playing and loyalty to delivering heartfelt, passionate works is apparent in every note, every tune, and every interaction with his fellow musicians. Born in central California, Matthew has performed and recorded with top names in jazz including Regina Carter, Wynton Marsalis, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Paquito D’Rivera, Clark Terry, Etta Jones, Orrin Evans, Clark Terry, Dr. Jonnie Smith, Savion Glover, Bill Charlap, Houston Person, and many others. He has recorded over sixty works, including his debut CD Circles (2000) and his most recent recordings with Karine Aguiar.
Saturday, February 22 – Jazz Vocal Collective with Claudia Acuña Hear the renowned Chilean jazz singer, songwriter, and arranger share the stage with Jazz at Princeton University’s Jazz Vocal Collective Ensemble (JVC) in a concert that bridges cultures and traditions. The JVC is Princeton University’s elite small jazz student ensemble that features solo voice, directed by Dr. Trineice Robinson-Martin.
Chilean singer/songwriter/arranger Claudia Acuña possesses one of the most beautiful and compelling voices in jazz and creative music. While singing primarily in Spanish, her music crosses language barriers to communicate with power and deep feeling. Born July 3, 1971 in Santiago and raised in Concepcion, Acuña established herself on the Chilean jazz scene in her early 20s. When she arrived in New York City in 1995, Acuña quickly gained recognition as a leading voice on a scene rapidly being transformed by a wave of brilliant Latin American musicians. She plunged into collaborations with masters such as Jason Lindner, Harry Whitaker, Arturo O’Farrill, Guillermo Klein, and bassist Avishai Cohen, who co-produced her critically hailed 2000 debut Wind From the South (Verve). Her five albums as a leader established Acuña as a creative force, from 2002’s Rhythm of Life (Verve) and 2004’s Luna (MaxJazz) through 2008’s In These Shoes (Zoho Music) and 2009’s strikingly beautiful En Este Momento (Marsalis Music). Whether putting her stamp on popular Latin American ballads, reimagining jazz standards from a South American perspective, or infusing Afro-Caribbean material with a wide rhythmic sensibility, Acuña stands out as a passionate and emotionally incisive singer with a gleaming, burnished bronze tone. For much of the past decade she’s put her recording career on the backburner to focus on raising her son. Instead of touring, she’s stayed closer to home, where her keen intelligence and intrepid spirit has made her the vocalist of choice for many of jazz’s most creative figures. She’s thrived by pursuing multiple musical directions with artists such as Susie Ibarra, Billy Childs, Henry Threadgill, the Rodriguez Brothers, and Elio Villa-Franca. Acuña brings all of her far-flung experiences to bear on Turning Pages, an album that documents a major creative leap. Her key collaborator was Colombian-born string wizard Juancho Herrera, who produced the album, co-wrote several songs, and had a major hand in most of the arrangements. As much as Turning Pages points toward the future, the album is also an act of reclamation and recovery, as Acuña takes stock of her past via songs new and old. It’s the work of a woman reborn from the ashes, stronger, wiser, and more expressive than ever. Ready once again to take on the world, she’s eager to reconnect with longtime fans and build new audiences.
The Princeton University Jazz ‘Ensemble X’ performs under the direction of master bassist Matthew Parrish. This ensemble evokes the small group tradition of the Art Blakey groups of the 50’s and 60’s where improvisation and inspiring interaction are key. The group performs as a septet with several featured trio performances.
Jazz at Princeton University’s Jazz Vocal Collective Ensemble (JVC), Princeton University’s elite small jazz ensemble that features solo voice, will join director Dr. Trineice Robinson-Martin and showcase their original arrangements of classic and contemporary jazz compositions.
Jazz at Princeton University’s Small Groups I and A, directed by award-winning saxophonist and program director Rudresh Mahanthappa, present an evening of jazz at its most intimate in a showcase of improvisation and inspiring interaction.
Jazz at Princeton University’s season comes to a close with GRAMMY Award-winning Cuban-born drummer, composer, bandleader, educator, and MacArthur Fellow Dafnis Prieto joining Darcy James Argue’s Creative Large Ensemble.
From Santa Clara, Cuba, Dafnis Prieto’s revolutionary drumming techniques and compositions have had a powerful impact on the Latin and Jazz music scene, nationally and internationally. Various honors include a 2011 MacArthur Fellowship, Up & Coming Musician of the Year from the Jazz Journalists Association in 2006, a 2018 GRAMMY Award and Latin GRAMMY nomination for Best Latin Jazz Album for Dafnis Prieto Big Band Back to the Sunset, a GRAMMY nomination for Best Latin Jazz Album for Absolute Quintet in 2006, and a Latin GRAMMY nomination for Best New Artist in 2007. Also a gifted educator, Prieto has conducted master classes, clinics, and workshops throughout the world. He was a faculty member of Jazz Studies at NYU from 2005 to 2014, and in 2015 became a faculty member at the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami. Since his arrival to New York in 1999, Prieto has worked in bands led by Henry Threadgill, Steve Coleman, Eddie Palmieri, Chico and Arturo O’Farrill, Dave Samuels and The Caribbean Jazz Project, Jane Bunnett, D.D. Jackson, Edward Simon, Michel Camilo, Chucho Valdés, Bebo Valdés, Roy Hargrove, Don Byron, and Andrew Hill, among others. He has performed at many national and international music festivals as a sideman and as a bandleader featuring several of his own projects and music. As a composer, he has created music for dance, film, chamber ensembles, and most notably for his own bands, ranging from duets to big band, and including the distinctively different groups featured on seven acclaimed recordings as a leader: About The Monks, Absolute Quintet, Taking the Soul For a Walk, Si o Si Quartet: Live at Jazz Standard, Dafnis Prieto Proverb Trio, Triangles and Circles, and Back to the Sunset. He has received commissions, grants, and fellowships from Chamber Music America, Jazz at Lincoln Center, East Carolina University, and Meet the Composer. In 2016 Prieto published the critically acclaimed drumming instructional book, A World of Rhythmic Possibilities: Drumming Lessons and Reflections on Rhythms.
Jazz at Princeton University under the direction of Rudresh Mahanthappa serves to promote this uniquely American music as a contemporary and relevant art form. Our goals are to convey the vast musical and social history of jazz, establish a strong theoretical and stylistic foundation with regard to improvisation and composition, and emphasize the development of individual expression and creativity. Offerings of this program include academic course work, performing ensembles, master classes, private study, and independent projects. They also have the opportunity to participate in academic courses from the music department curriculum that encourage the study of the historical, social, theoretical, stylistic, and creative issues that pertain to the jazz idiom.
Hailed by Pitchfork as “jaw-dropping… one of the finest saxophonists going,” alto saxophonist, composer and educator Rudresh Mahanthappa is widely known as one of the premier voices in jazz of the 21st century. He has over a dozen albums to his credit, including the acclaimed Bird Calls, which topped many critics’ best-of-year lists for 2015 and was hailed by PopMatters as “complex, rhythmically vital, free in spirit while still criss-crossed with mutating structures.” Rudresh has been named alto saxophonist of the year for seven of eight years running in DownBeat Magazine’s International Critics’ Polls (2011-2013, 2015-2018), and for five consecutive years by the Jazz Journalists’ Association (2009-2013) and again in 2016. He won alto saxophonist of the year in the 2015-2017 JazzTimes Magazine Critics’ Polls and was named the Village Voice’s “Best Jazz Artist” in 2015. He has also received the Guggenheim Fellowship and the Doris Duke Performing Artist Award, among other honors, and is currently the Anthony H. P. Lee ’79 Director of Jazz at Princeton University.
Born in Trieste, Italy to Indian émigrés in 1971, Mahanthappa was brought up in Boulder, Colorado and gained proficiency playing everything from current pop to Dixieland. He went on to studies at North Texas, Berklee and DePaul University (as well as the Stanford Jazz Workshop) and came to settle in Chicago. Soon after moving to New York in 1997 he formed his own quartet featuring pianist Vijay Iyer. The band recorded an enduring sequence of albums, Black Water, Mother Tongue and Codebook, each highlighting Mahanthappa’s inventive methodologies and deeply personal approach to composition. He and Iyer also formed the duo Raw Materials.
Coming deeper into contact with the Carnatic music of his parents’ native southern India, Mahanthappa partnered in 2008 with fellow altoist Kadri Gopalnath and the Dakshina Ensemble for Kinsmen, garnering wide acclaim. Apti, the first outing by Mahanthappa’s Indo-Pak Coalition (with Pakistani-born Rez Abbasi on guitar and Dan Weiss on tabla), saw release the same year; Agrima followed nine years later and considerably expanded the trio’s sonic ambitions.
Mahanthappa has also worked with Jack DeJohnette, Mark Dresser, Danilo Pérez, Arturo O’Farrill’s Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra, the collaborative trios MSG and Mauger, the co-led quintet Dual Identity with fellow altoist Steve Lehman, and another co-led quintet with fellow altoist and Chicago stalwart Bunky Green (Apex). His exploratory guitar- driven quartets on Samdhi and Gamak featured David Gilmore and Dave “Fuze” Fiuczynski, respectively. In 2015 he was commissioned by Ragamala Dance to create Song of the Jasmine for dancers and a hybrid jazz/South Indian ensemble. He was also commissioned by the PRISM Saxophone Quartet to compose a chamber piece, “I Will Not Apologize for My Tone Tonight,” which can be heard on the quartet’s 2015 double- disc release Heritage/Evolution, Volume 1.
Holly Cole has always been great. She has always been a throwback to the glory days of female jazz singers. With her vocal range diving deep within the depths of notes and rising to the surface – Cole has always ‘nailed it.’ Last night as part of the Montreal Jazz Festival, Holly nailed it once more.
Trust in Me, My Foolish Heart and even Good Time Charlie’s Got the Blues were delivered by Holly in an aw shucks forceful type of way. Perhaps from the viewpoint of a woman (or person) approaching their ‘senior discount age’ – Cole knows she has nothing left to prove with an ego. At 55, it is time to allow the talent to talk exclusively. Who needs attitude? It is that time in one’s life to enjoy every moment. Holy Cole seemingly is in that mindset on stage.
Cole started the night out with two musicians forming a trio. A typical approach by Cole to inject some ‘real’ jazz into the crowd. Two minutes in and the audience were transported to the 20’s and 30’s and a time when Jazz was to America what Pop was during the 1980s. Cole on vocals, David Piltch on bass and Aaron Davies on piano. A menage a trois with no limits. A menage a trois open to voyeurism with an eager audience at their feet.
Down Down Down, My Baby Just Cares for Me and a cool rendition of I Can See Clearly Now had the mostly middle age to senior crowd caught in the headlights. When cars pass you by daily on the street with Rap, Hip Hop and Rock n Roll scaring you awake with loudness, a Holly Cole concert is a welcome shock to the system. In this day and age, music with harmony, soul and meaningful lyrics are more of an oddity. Classic Jazz is wondrous once the ears settle in.
John Johnson and David DiRenzo arrived on the scene ( horns and drums ) and the trio evolved into a comfortable shoe. Cole walked within the sound of the band and among her friends with a certain lightness. That weightlessness carried Cole through the second half. In song, she was all business. Hitting every note with ease. Between songs the banter was small but cozy enough to allow the gap between audience and performer to close. In other words, with about six tunes left, Cole had the punters at her mercy.
With a new album under her belt (2018’s Holly) and a what appears to be a permanent reunion with her initial trio, Cole’s career seems vital once more. At a time when most people start thinking of retirement, Cole appears to be ready to roll.
There comes a time in a band’s life when they could easily ‘mail it in’.
When a few years pass since the initial hits send a group into the stratosphere, those hits are money in the bank. A band can rely on them to sell tickets and for the attendees; nostalgia feeds their souls. A win – win situation for all those involved.
Blue Rodeo are not one of those bands.
Not only has the band continued to produce great tunes, they also continue to work their asses off on stage. Add the fact they have evolved into much better musicians since their entry onto the charts, a Blue Rodeo show in 2019 is like a diamond mine.
One gem after another filled the room with life. From the get go last night at Place des Arts as part of The Montreal International Jazz Festival, energy was in the air. Perhaps some of the audience at Blue Rodeo attended Norah Jones’ polar opposite performance the night before and were ready to rock. Whatever the reason, 5 Days in May launched an already pumped audience into the sky. The band soon joined them in the second song.
Jim Cuddy and Greg Keelor rose to the occasion and the remainder of Blue Rodeo followed suit. Without words ( more like nods) – each member seemed to challenge one another to be their best. The duels were on and the punters were the winners.
Rain Down on Me saw Jim, seated at the piano, matching a Rufus Wainright moment with piercing vocals. Range and power. The type of vocal performance that makes hair stand on the back of a neck. Not long after – Keelor came close to elevating the hairs higher with his instantly recognizable tone on Diamond Mine. Cuddy and Keelor harmonizing or each one soloing, make no mistake about it, they are Canada’s Mick and Keef. Complimenting one another yet so unique in their styles and ideas.
The show contained many roots y elements. A little bit Country and a little bit Rock n Roll. Donny and Marie would be proud. The Railroad and Little Wine Drinker Me saw the band band together and inflict the audience with a lesson in real music. If auto-tune walked into the room, it would have been so ashamed of itself, it may have ended it’s stint as the champion of mainstream radio.
Bazil Donovan, Glenn Milchem , Mike Boguski andColin Cripps are the exact players needed to compliment the songwriting team of Cuddy and Keelor. Each one shining when needed but allowing the ‘stars’ to shine. Rarely do you witness such craftsmanship within a band. Rarely do artists play their hearts out without showing their true talent due to a Blue Rodeo ‘formula’. Each member of Blue Rodeo can be a headliner on their own.
Try andLost Togetherwere the bookends in the encore. By that time, the band were ready to go another ten rounds but the crowd was exhausted from two massive sing a longs. In a troubled world with information screaming from every outlet, the vocal intensity within Lost Together from the crowd was fierce. The tune – more fitting now lyrically than ever before. The tune, a bridge between light and dark. The tune – not mailed in.
Alligator Records artists Shemekia Copeland and Christone “Kingfish” Ingram will perform with blues icon Buddy Guy as he is inducted into the Austin City Limits Hall Of Fame. In an all-star concert event to be held on October 24 at ACL Live at The Moody Theater in downtown Austin, Texas, Guy, along with Shawn Colvin and Lyle Lovett, will be honored. Copeland and Ingram will perform with Guy as he celebrates his induction. Last year, Alligator’s Marcia Ball was inducted.
Additional guests will include for this year’s event include Jackson Browne, Jimmie Vaughan, Bruce Hornsby, Sarah Jarosz and Willis Alan Ramsey. The program will be hosted by Robert Earl Keen, and will be broadcast nationwide by PBS television on New Year’s Eve.
Award-winning blues, R&B and Americana vocalist Shemekia Copeland’s recent album, America’s Child, was named the #1 blues album of 2018 by MOJO magazine. The album is a courageous and fiery statement of purpose and a major step forward for the singer whose musical consciousness continues to expand as her star continues to rise. The album, with guests including John Prine and Rhiannon Giddens, bursts with Copeland’s bravado and embraces with her tenderness. Copeland recently received two Blues Music Awards for America’s Child: Album Of The Year and Contemporary Blues Album Of The Year. Her instantly recognizable voice–capable of being sultry, assertive and roaring–delivers every song with unparalleled honesty and passion. The three-time Grammy nominee’s wide-open vision of contemporary Americana roots and soul music showcases the evolution of a passionate artist with an up-to-the-minute musical and lyrical approach. The Chicago Tribune says, “Copeland is the greatest female blues vocalist working today.”
Christone “Kingfish” Ingram, the head-turning 20-year-old blues guitarist and vocalist from Clarksdale, Mississippi, is currently celebrating the release of his debut album, Kingfish, on Alligator Records. With his eye-popping guitar playing and his reach-out-and-grab-you-by-the-collar vocals, Kingfish delivers each song with unmatched passion and precision. NPR Music calls him a “rising blues prodigy…a torchbearer.” The album showcases Ingram’s blistering, raw and inspired guitar playing, soulful, deep vocals and memorable songwriting. On the highlight track, Fresh Out, Kingfish is joined by his friend and mentor, Buddy Guy, who adds vocals and guitar on the song. According to Guy, “Kingfish is the next explosion of the blues.” Sprung from the same earth as so many of the Delta blues masters, Kingfish comes bursting out of Clarksdale, Mississippi, just ten miles from the legendary crossroads of Highways 61 and 49. A student of the Delta’s musical history, he is acutely aware of the musicians and the music that emerged from his corner of the world. “I do think I have an old soul, that I’ve been here before,” he says. “I’m moving forward with one foot in the past.”
Not all great tunes are at your disposal when in the car or on your preferred listening platform. That is why you visit Rick Keene Music Scene – to receive the chats, the info and the tunes from artists you may not know exist .
Have a listen below to some great songs, some shows coming up and what to expect this week on Rick Keene Music Scene.com
The Montreal International Jazz Festival is celebrating an anniversary with a bang.
It has been forty years since those days on St Denis street. A simpler time for the city of Montreal, music and the world.
Simple may have been good for humanity but the complexity of The Montreal Jazz Festival is more than welcome. The city of Montreal has become a beacon for all music from all corners of the globe. Jazz may be the brand yet diversity remains at the core of the biggest festival of it’s kind in North America.
This summer, 150 indoor shows will take place in and around the city of Montreal. Among the crowds, the sounds and sights – music will provide an ambiance unlike any. Forget the LED lighting, the gourmet food from all ethnic groups or the stars in the sky. None of them would be as enticing without the sounds of the multi – talented artists visiting the city. How do you say Bienvenue with a trumpet or a saxophone?
2019 brings a lively bunch of tunes to the city. Some of the acts fulfilling the void left by months of cold winter nights are the who is who of music. The kings, the Queens and their devoted disciples. Talent is an understatement when describing the playlist of live music showcasing their art from June 27th to July 6th.
Norah Jones, Blue Rodeo, Melody Gardot, George Benson, Alan Parsons, Alt -J, Peter Frampton, Buddy Guy and Colin James. All bases are covered at Salle Wilfred Pelletier. Soulful Blues, Country Pop and Jazz will exit Place des Arts and engulf the masses on Rue Ste Catherine.
A few of the artists performing at Theatre Maisonneuve. A few of the artists creating magic.
The Montreal International Jazz Festival adds more venues and more artists each year. The city has become one giant Rue St. Denis as it enters it’s fortieth season as both an innovating festival and a badge of honor for all who perform and attend.
The Jazz Festival starts June 27th and runs until July 6th
Real music is not always ‘sold’ through mainstream avenues.
That does not mean the albums in question are not ‘good enough’ or not sold through mainstream, it means good music must be sought out.
Here are just a few albums than music lovers should add to their collection. Buy albums, attend shows and keep music alive.
Please Scroll down and listen to selected tracks from the albums.
Michael Eaton Dialogical May 3, 2019 Destiny Records
Dialogical is Michael Eaton’s second release. The album is augmented by Lionel Loueke on guitar and vocals. Alongside Eaton on tenor/soprano saxophones is his long-time ensemble consisting of Brad Whiteley on piano, Daniel Ori on bass and gimbri and Shareef Taher on drums. Also featured is Jon Crowley on trumpet, James Brandon Lewis and Sean Sonderegger on tenor saxophones, Cheryl Pyle on flute, Dorian Wallace on piano, Brittany Anjou on vibraphone and gyil, Enrique Haneine on udu and Sarah Mullins on marimba and triangles. With an emphasis on rhythm and texture, Dialogical fuses modern jazz, minimalism, and world music.
Ralph Peterson & Messenger Legacy Band Alive Volume 6 at the Side Door May 20, 2019 Onyx Productions
When it comes to Art Blakey, there is no living drummer more suited to honoring his legacy than the incomparable Ralph Peterson. As the last drummer chosen by Blakey to play by his side in the Jazz Messengers Two Drummer Big Band, Peterson is tasked with the unique responsibility to carry forth Buhaina’s torch and tradition. On Legacy: Alive Vol. 6 at the Side Door, the mission comes full circle as Peterson and the Messenger Legacy Band mark what would have been the icon’s 100th birthday. Due out on May 20 (RP’s 57th birthday) on Peterson’s own Onyx Productions label, Legacy presents Peterson in the company of five undisputed authorities and alumni of the Blakey tradition: saxophonists Bill Pierce and Bobby Watson, trumpeter Brian Lynch, pianist Geoffrey Keezer, and bassist Essiet Essiet. This double album was recorded live in October 2018 at the Side Door in Old Lyme, Connecticut.
KENNER 8Ball City May 23, 2019 Self-release
8Ball City features an array of international musicians including drummersDavid Frazier Jr., Noam Israeli and Diego Joaquin Ramierz, bassist Tamir Shmerling, guitarists Andrew Whitbeck and Nitzan Bar, saxophonists Clay Lyons and Jonathan Greenstein and trumpeter Wayne Tucker. The album also features two guest masters: Jamey Haddad on percussion (Paul Simon, Yo Yo Ma, Herbie Hancock), and Tamer Pinarbasi on qanun (New York Gypsy All-stars). This apologetically playful album integrates the soulful and the calculated, with elements of R&B and jazz coming in contact with Kenner’s classical and progressive rock influences. This album combines the grittiness of the real world- the day to day struggle, with the boundlessness of imagination. 8Ball City was recorded at Riro Muzik and Black Lodge Studio in Brooklyn, NY and at Gil Feldman’s Studio in Israel.
Sam Newsome Chaos Theory: Song Cycles for Prepared Saxophone June 3, 2019 Self-release
Sam Newsome’s new solo saxophone recording, Chaos Theory: Song Cycles for Prepared Saxophone appeals to anyone willing to immerse him or herself in what’s before them: Newsome’s innovative approach to the soprano saxophone and contributions to the solo saxophone canon.
While the album is quite obviously a result of Newsome’s unapologetic desire to delve into the sonic potential of his instrument, the saxophonist’s primary concern, first and foremost, is listen-ability. Actively in search of creating music that is both fresh and relate-able, Newsome’s sound palette coddles the ear as it challenges the mind.
Brandee Younger Soul Awakening June 7, 2019 Self-release
Surfacing six years after its completion in 2013, Soul Awakening was recorded in 2012 under the direction of producer and bassist Dezron Douglas, and embodies the ambition, vigor and aesthetic ideals of The Brandee Younger Quartet, at and since its inception. A benchmark recording that captures the group’s collective brilliance in its infancy, Soul Awakening is a synthesis of the people, places and moments that impacted Younger most, ahead of the album’s creation. The very first album recorded by the ensemble, Soul Awakening marks the birth of Brandee Younger’s artistic signature and the reemergence of the harp as a pillar of modern popular music. Brandee will be celebrating this new release at the Blue Note in New York City on May 21 and May 22.
Marc Jordan has appeared on thirty-five million CDs. Put that in your MP3 player and smoke it …
Marc has written for or co-written with the who is who of the music business. Rod Stewart, Josh Groban, Diana Ross, Chicago, Kansas, Manhattan Transfer, Kenny Loggins, Amanda Marshal, Bette Midler, Natalie Cole, Roch Voisine, Canadian Tenors, Shawn Colvin, Olivia Newton-John, Joe Cocker and Bonnie Raitt. To name ‘just’ a few.
An amazing body of work which is unmatched in Canadian history. Now Marc has released a CD with some of his favorite tunes that helped inspire his songwriting craft. Add an orchestra and what you have is magical.
Please listen below to my chat with Marc and hear some tunes from the album.
For the Western Canadian band The Sheepdogs – that is precisely what they are doing. And – doing it well.
When Rolling Stone magazine proclaims you as the band to watch out for, that is a lot of pressure. Judging from their performance at MTelus on a double bill with Montreal’s own The Damn Truth, the pressure appears to be in their favor. The crowd, the ultimate judges of success, was numerous and safe to say; satisfied customers on Saturday morning.
Following a powerful set from The Damn Truth, The Sheepdogs took the stage with pomp. The ceremony came after as the fans adjusted to the much different sound of the two bands on display. The Sheepdogs – much more grounded in Country and Pop to go with their Southern Rock n Roll. While The Damn Truth are in your face (take it or leave it), The Sheepdogs cater to the masses.
Who?, I’ve Got a Hole Where My Heart Should Be and Saturday Night started the twine rolling and from there on in – a simple matter of being strung along with good musicianship and catchy songwriting took precedent.
Ewan and Shamus Currie, Ryan Gullen and Sam Corbett are the men whose collaborations are grounded deeply in ‘roots’ music. Feel good tunes which are rich in traditional sounds. Bluegrass, Country, Folk and Blues. Easy going type stuff with an ingredient which is sorely missing these days in music. Storytelling. The Allman Brothers had it, CCR had it and so do The Sheepdogs. The knack for touching souls musically and lyrically. The knack of (figuratively) touching real people.
The set list is ripe with tales that add a connection to the fans (aka everybody). Human relations via words via truthful emotions. Relating to ‘stars’ on stages (and magazine covers) bridges the gap and increases bonds. Through songs such as Southern Dreaming, Kiss the Brass Ring, Up in Canada right until their mega hit encores – The Sheepdogs provide reliability. Meaningful thoughts build throughout and explode in a joyous singalong with the encore I Don’t Know. Good bands play – great bands let their fans ride a roller coaster live.
William Burton – Le Réveil
Regroupement artistique francophone de l’Alberta (RAFA) – Nouveau Monde
Le R Premier – Planète Urbaine
Buzz Fortin – Session Buzz Fortin
Étienne Fletcher – Chérie, Chéri (réalisation : little jack films et brandon white)
Jacobus – Ma vie c’est un movie (réalisation : STEREO Films)
Marie-Clo – Taudis (réalisation : Groupe Média TFO)
Rayannah – En attendant demain (réalisation : Rayannah)
Shawn Jobin – Éléphant (réalisation : Xavier MC / Vandales)
23. Présence web
Les Rats d’Swompe
24. Conception visuelle
Aya Gano et Jeff Homère pour LeFLOFRANCO – Retranscrire
Christian Pelletier pour Mclean – Une dernière fois
Christian Pelletier et Marc Étienne Mongrain pour Damien Robitaille – Univers Parallèles
Élodie Evanno et Gabrielle Dubois pour Moonfruits – Ste-Quequepart
Gaëtan Vëno Joachim pour YAO – Lapsus
25. Réalisation et arrangements
Loig Morin pour Loig Morin – La Rivière
Mario Lepage pour Shawn Jobin – Éléphant
Mark Howard pour Cindy Doire – Panorama
Olivier Fairfield pour Marie-Clo – Faune
Olivier Fairfield et Simon Jutras pour Mclean – Une dernière fois
26. Prise de son et mixage
Don Benedictson pour Ariane Mahrÿke Lemire – Je deviens le loup
Don Benedictson pour Suzanne Kennelly – Suzanne Kennelly Jazz
Frédéric Levac et Marc-Antoine Joly pour Céleste Lévis – Donne-moi le temps
Loig Morin pour Loig Morin – La Rivière
Sébastien Perry et Stéphane Rancourt pour Mclean – Une dernière fois
27. Émission musicale télé ou web
Balade – Machine Gum Productions
Balade à Toronto IV – Machine Gum Productions
FrancoMusique – Roch et Catherine Archambault
Session Buzz Fortin – Buzz Fortin
Suivez-moi – Sabine Daniel Productions
36 Mille – Mathilde Hountchégnon
Intello-Productions inc. – Yaovi Hoyi
JKB Communications – José Bertrand
LaFab Musique – Michel Bénac– Nathalie Kleinschmit
Centre Culturel Frontenac
Festival du Bois – Centre francophone de Maillardville
Festival Edmonton chante
Le Centre culturel francophone de Vancouver
Enzo Carniel House of Echo / Florian Pellissier Quintet invite Roger Raspail / Bibi Tanga & The Selenites
L’Astral (Maison du Festival)
JAZZ ALL-YEAR ROUND
January 10th Taurey Butler Trio at 7pm.
People often comment on Taurey Butler’s resemblance to the young Oscar Peterson, in appearance as well as his winning combination of hard swing and melodic invention. Gratifying as it may be, he backs away from the compliment. There’s only one Oscar, he says. But there is no question that the one Oscar Peterson had a profound effect on Taurey’s life and his music.
Snooky was born in Norfolk, Virginia and raised in a small city called Woonsocket in Rhode Island. At the early age of 6, he began humming and singing songs to his mother while keeping the drumming beat going with his mouth. Even then, at that young age, music was in his bones. So, his journey began into the wonderful world of drumming. Upon arrival in Montreal, Quebec, he met an extremely talented and well known performer by the name of Freddy James. He later became his drummer and back-up vocalist in his dance R&B band, known as Fusion 3. For the next 6 to 7 years, they toured Japan, Africa, USA and Canada.
When the Freddy James era was over, he continued to successfully perform in night clubs, gospel choirs, and worked with other great musicians in studios. By the spring of 2010 he stayed in Montreal to work and finish writing another CD. He started playing regularly at the House of Jazz with Geraldine Hunt: His quartet,Snooksta and The Gangstas – became one of the headliners at the House of Jazz.
Dweezil Zappa, son of Frank – stopped by to chat about his upcoming Montreal show and the legacy of his Father. Given the notoriety of Frank Zappa’s humor in music and lyrics, it was interesting to hear Dweezil’s take on everything not funny. The genius of Frank as a guitar player, a writer, a producer and an engineer taking forefront of the chat. Zappa’s tune Bobby Brown was the summation of all parts for Dweezil noting that song was a Top Ten hit in Europe while North America banned it from radio play. Says Dweezil; ‘It was the most requested song on Valentine’s Day and at College and high school dances.’
Maybe it is time North America relaxed?
Local nurse Chantal Guimondreleased her dreams.
A Blues and Rock fan her entire life, Chantal put out a CD with covers of her favorite tunes as well as a couple of originals. Combined with a great backing band and a fantastic vocal range – Chantal ( who is retiring soon) has a nice career in front of her. Judging by the reaction of her first live appearance – sick people may have a different location to go and get healed.
Angela Harris took time to chat about her new album; A Woman Like Me.It is one of the purest ‘rootsy’ albums released in the past ten years in Canada. Combining Country, Folk and Rock with a powerful voice – Angela may be the most talented singer and songwriter in Canada. And – she has only really just begun.
Speaking of talented singer and songwriters – Barbra Lica is up to her tricks again. This time – Lica made a wrong turn and ended up putting out a superb Country disc. She went to a songwriter’s convention without knowing the folks who were putting it on were from Nashville. Well, as they say – the rest is history and Barbra released one of the best albums of her career thus far.
Joe Louis Walker ( friends with Hendrix and roommates with the late Mike Bloomfield) sat down to chat about his latest disc. Joe is always informative in his chats and not only educates with words, his new songs are always pushing the limits in terms of Gospel and R&B. A great album if you want to know where people like Beyonce really come from.
Ontario youngster Max Parker took time to chat about his new songs and subsequent upcoming studio album. Max – although acknowledging the Justin Bieber connection via age and location – quick to point out he is his own man. Catchy riffs and a more Bluesy feel than Bieber – Max will not be repeating Bieber’s mistakes if he gets that big. The internet can be a good thing sometimes …
Rock /Pop legend Alan Parsonstook time to chat (albeit briefly) about his first album in twenty years. The engineer, producer, writer and performer also discussed his DVD that has been implemented in Universities as a must have learning tool for studio recording. He also spoke of his friend and mentor – the late Geoff Emerich ( Beatles) and what Geoff meant to him. A great chat with a man who worked on Abbey Road, Let It Be and Pink Foyd’s Dark Side of the Moon.
John Muirheadknows how to become friends with musicians. Just release an album about playing gigs in different cities and sleeping wherever you end up. John’s disc is a the beginning of a career that will bring him to the highest places. Songwriting is new to him and now that he has discovered to sing about the truth and what he knows – the musical sky is the limit for John …
Reuben( Reuben and The Dark) stopped by just before hitting the road and coming to Montreal from BC. The chat revolved around his unique style and observations as a songwriter. Balancing the ebbs and flows of human emotion. The dark and the lights within and without. The band crashed their van outside Calgary on the way here and luckily none were seriously injured but some equipment was destroyed. Opening act ( in Montreal) John Jacob Magistery – saved the day and loaned Reuben and his mates what they needed. The show went on and it was a lesson in the rides of life – literally and figuratively.
It would not be complete on Rick Keene Music Scene without an annual chat with Steve Hackett of Genesis fame. This time – Steve spoke of Genesis’ landmark album Selling England by the Pound. Steve will be performing the album in it’s entirety in September 2019 in Montreal. The history of recording that album is a must hear for Genesis fans as things aren’t always what they seem.
Andy Kim took time out to chat about his induction onto Canada’s Walk of Fame. Combined with a resurgence of late with a critically acclaimed album; Andy’s fame is on the rise for the second time in his life. One of Canada’s greatest songwriters bares his soul and honesty for being ‘lucky’ in his life. A very humble and decent man .
Montreal’s own Justin Saladinowon the Quebec to Memphis Blues Challenge this year. Following in the footsteps of Steve Hill, Dawn Tyler Watson / Ben Racine Band and The Paul Deslauriers Band – Justin should take Memphis by storm. Hot on the heels of his most complete album to date (A Fool’s Heart), Saladino should be Quebec’s next global Blues / Rock star along with Jordan Officer.
Malcolm Bruce took time to speak of his band and what a band it is. Bruce is the son of legendary bass player Jack Bruce (Cream) and together with Eric Clapton’s nephew (Will Johns) and Ginger Baker’s son Kobi – the trio are paying homage to Cream. But wait. it is not what you think. No cash grab here. In the words of Malcolm; ‘Most people know my Dad for Cream and that only lasted a couple of years. My job is to spread the generous legacy and body of work of my late dad.’
The Proclaimersstopped by Montreal and amazed everyone with their songwriting skills. I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) is the song everyone loves but it is the Zombie-esque harmonies that set them apart and allow the twins to continue their musical path. One of a few bands that get stronger as the show goes on.
Colin James took time out to chat about his new disc. Miles To Go is a throwback of the old Blues tunes that enamored the young James in the first place. James is continuing the trend among older Rockers ( Myles Goodwyn, The Stones, Randy Bachman) to pay homage to the Blues greats and release a Blues cover CD.
Lindsay Beaver is a Nova Scotia native current;y absorbing her Blues / Country / Rockabilly chops in Nashville. Lindsay spoke of her first CD and subsequent American tour. A Canadian making waves as a songwriter, singer and drummer. Alligator record top man has personally embraced Lindsay which saying quite a bit.
Black Mountain Whiskey Rebellionreleased a song (Holy Smoke) which is an indication of what very cool stuff is coming. Rather than release an EP or album – the band will be showcasing their stuff one song at a time. Not to be greedy but to market themselves. Their sound is a purposeful Muscle Shoalsone and that live on the floor feeling knocks your socks off. Once you listen – all the ‘star’ bands in Montreal crumple with weakness.
Blues veteran Jack DeKeyzertook time to chat about his homage album to the Blues’ greats. Checkmateis the name of the disc and Jack is in fine form as he covers some of the greatest tunes in not only Blues history – Rock as well.
How many people do you know that sell out stadiums and are the King ( musically) of their Country and then throw it all away for integrity?
Senri Oeof Japan is that guy. He was the darling of K Pop in Japan and was the Country’s equivalent of Michael Jackson. Senri loves Jazz so he moved to America and went back to school to learn his Jazz chops. How cool is that ?
2018 continued in August where it left off in July.
George Thorogood was back in Quebec for the second time in three months. Trois Rivieres en Blues was the setting this time around and the swagger returned. Thorogood was ‘safe’ at Place des Arts in Montreal and in Trois Rivieres; he discarded the condoms. Rock n Roll is dangerous and Lonesome George delivered.
Global Bluestrotter Harry Manxreleased an album with Canada’s best harp player Steve Marriner on board and Harry took time to chat about it. Marriner – fresh off touring with Colin James, adding an ingredient to Manx’ genius which complimented Harry’s style without taking anything away. Manx never sounded better.
TV’s Survivorman Les Stroudchatted about his new disc. A surprisingly sound album complete with menacing riffs and acute songwriting. Stroud’s insight into the environment taking control of the lyrics and musically, a blend of Neil Young and Bruce Cockburn took place. A brilliant disc.
The lead singer of The Guess Who, Derek Sharp took time to discuss the first new Guess Who album in twenty years. Sharp (also the husband of Sass Jordan) co-wrote half of the tracks and co produced the album. A throwback Rock n Roll disc with swing. A relief in this day and age and proving once and for all – the ‘ old guys’ know how to do it …
Continuing The Guess Who trend – guitarist and producer Will Evankovich spoke of the new album and his role as principle songwriter. Will, a relative newcomer to the band, provided old school mentalities and astute precision to an album that was recorded on analog equipment. Will is hot considering he also co-wrote and produced Styx’ latest album The Mission.
Continuing the Canadian Blues legacy is one Spencer Mackenzie. The young lad from Ontario has already won New Artist of The Year at The Maple Blues Awards and his album’s musicianship is far above his age in quality. A must see prodigy live if there ever was one. Buy Spencer’s new disc Cold November and support Canadian artists.
The Montreal International Jazz Festival got underway and this year was a great mix for fans of all genres.
Gary Petersen– the original drummer for The Guess Who (and a man who started drumming before Rock n Roll’s heyday) took some time out to chat about his career and the future of The Guess Who. Petersen has never stopped playing for the band (he owns the name) and along with his mates; the first brand new Guess Who album in twenty years hit the shelves in September. An educational chat for sure.
Lonesome George Thorogood took time to chat following the release of his first ever solo album (Party Of One) and previous to his show at The Montreal Jazz Festival and Trois Rivieres en Blues.
The word legend is tossed about too easily these days but not in George’s case. He started his career busking and within three years opened for Muddy Waters and The Rolling Stones.
Not too shabby.
Sometimes the apple does not fall far from the tree.
Mary -Lynn Doroschuk just happens to be the daughter of Stefan Doroschuk (Men Without Hats). Mary-Lynn has a new band called Wave 21. A Country -Alt unit filled with catchy tunes and classy riffs. A Montreal group to keep your ears on. A Montreal band that will only get bigger.
Joan Jett graced Place Bell along with Tesla and Styx.
Jett as powerful as ever with Punky licks and attitude while Tesla catered to the more Heavy minded fans in attendance. Styx – making their fourth appearance in Quebec in the past seven years commanded even more respect than before. They were hot and the night lasted longer than any Grand Illusion.
If Beth Hart stayed home and sang lullabies to her kids, the world would be a much sadder place.
Hart and her trio were in Montreal for The Jazz Festival and Beth stole the hearts of everyone. Telling stories of her very dysfunctional upbringing between soaring vocals and soft balladry – Place des Arts was on the verge of a collective hanky giveaway.
On this planet – no female singer can reach into their souls so deep and raise the roof so high within a song. Multiply that by fifteen tunes and see how tired you are from a Beth Hart show.
Boz was here as part of The Jazz Festival and what a surprise musician he turned out to be. Unless you were / are a huge fan or came from a certain decade, Boz (to the general music world) was a two hit wonder. Like many musicians from the 70s and even the 80s, the limelight and success don’t go hand in hand. Boz has more talent playing, singing and producing/ arranging than about 75% of those with hits before or since. Put that in your hat and smoke it.
Jordan Officeropened up for George Thorogood at Place des Arts as part of The Jazz Festival and blew the roof off the joint. Officer has turned the corner in his Blues comeback and had George’s Destroyers shaking in their boots. Trois Rivieres is Jordan’s latest record and it will be considered the turning point in a soon too be mammoth career.
Easily the concert of the year in Montreal.
Lee’s husband / musical mentor Richard passed away the morning of her Jazz Festival show and for most artists – the plug would have been pulled. Not only did Ranee perform, she outperformed any of the numerous award winning shows she had done before. Emotions were high (the crowd knew of the circumstances) yet Ranee used the emotion to grow stronger with each song. The concert will go down as one of the greatest in Montreal music history.
Half way through the year – the music kept coming.
The folks at The Montreal International Jazz Festival announced their line up and the stage was set ( so to speak).
Jann Arden was in town and at this point in her musical career – she is the Elton John of Canadian women.
The hits and the magic within new tunes are gone and she is relying on her past glories to fill joints around the Country. Thankfully, she is a very funny woman and the banter alone is worth half the price of admission. Add the hits from twenty years ago – you get fully what you paid for.
East of Sunday – Carvin Jones
Blues guitarist extraordinaire Carvin Jones made his first appearance in Montreal and local band East of Sunday opened up.
Jones is a monster on guitar and his showmanship – second to none. Think Buddy Guy without the powerful voice. East of Sunday are poised to take the Montreal Rock throne away from The Damn Truth. Look out this coming summer as both Carvin and East of Sunday will hit the road with heat.
Paul Young / Midge Ure
Paul Young was one of the biggest stars of the 1980’s video wave and Ure co-wrote Do They Know It’s Christmas for Band Aid. Ure was also the leader of Ultravox and a member of Thin Lizzy among other things.
Ure and Young held a double bill at Club Soda and only one showed up.
Ure was fine as he gained strength with his tunes – hits and all. Young, on the other hand was, well … old. Paul stumbled through a set continually struggling to hit notes and stay in key. When he did get in sync – his voice was weak. A sign of the end or an off night? Things that make you go hmmm …
Dr. Lonnie Smith
The good doctor ( the most sought after Hammond B3 player in all genres) put on a clinic at Le Gesu. Fifty years in the spotlight and recording with the who is who of music has enabled Smith to assume command over the audience, his band-mates and his instrument. Anyone who witnesses a Smith performance – is blessed.
Conductor Demirjian sat down and spoke of his upcoming Montreal gig with Dreamworks Animation. The gig is a full orchestra playing the soundtrack live of DreamWorks classics such as Shrek and How To Train Your Dragon.
In the beginning of cinema, live orchestras were the only form of sound for a viewing audience. To witness and hear the experience in 2018 is a welcome change to digital dust.
Cecile Mclorant- Salvant
The second best female singer walking the planet ( Lisa Fischer would be first) put on a lesson in vocals. Adding all the great ingredients from all the great Jazz ladies ( Holiday, James, Fitzgerald) and her own unique voice, Salvant is the driver. Complete command of everything and she is’ just starting out’. A must see concert if you must see.
If there ever was a female artist who did all for ‘art’s sake’- it is Gainsbourg. The actress / composer / songwriter / singer / writer / painter and poet lays all her emotions on her sleeve.
Her show at MTelus was not for the non intellects. Combining electronica and common place rythym with her piano sensibility is mesmerizing to the punters. Her fan base is devoted, loyal and safe to say; artistic.
Twelve months have come and gone quicker than a man / woman looking for a one night stand. That’s what happens when music is in the air and in your soul.
Let’s take a look back shall we? Let us revisit the musical past of 2018.
Steve Hill finally released a live album after nine studio albums. He wanted to make sure it was done right and being the perfectionist Steve is – the delay came as no surprise. Check out the album; The One-Man Blues Rock Band, it’s a must have for Steve Hill fans.
The Box, one of the most successful bands to come from Quebec, returned with a brand new EP titled Take Me Home. Jean Marc Pisapia, the singer and songwriter for The Box,gave a three part interview about his career and the new EP. Very insightful if you are a fan of the eighties and Canadian music history.
Jim Cuddy of Blue Rodeo fame was in town with his side project The Jim Cuddy Band. Their performance at the Corona which included Jim’s two sons and Barney Bentall – blew some Canadian wind into the joint. Cuddy’s down to earth charm combined with an elite backing band was just what the music scene needed. Blue Rodeo ain’t got nothing on these guys and girls.
One of the co – founders of April Wine, Jim Henman, has been affected by the senseless shootings south of the border. He was so profoundly moved by the acts of violence – he wrote a song.
The song ‘Some of These Children’is a poignant and stirring take on events that have affected everyone. Parents, teachers, relatives and the entire world.
Jim Henman is donating fifty percent of all sales from the song to The Boys And Girls Club of Greater Halifax.This is a start to not only help the kids in Nova Scotia – to also send a message globally that us humans have had enough.
The Brooks resume includes opening up for The Doobie Brothers and Kool and The Gang. Two huge blowouts at the Montreal International Jazz Festival are also easy on the ears on a rhythmic C.V.
In May – the band (and what seemed like the entire city of Montreal), raised the roof at L’Astral and cemented their position as this city’s soon-to-be next Arcade Fire on the global scene.
April Wine’s Brian Greenway sat down and spoke of his career with April Wine and what came before. Bands such as The Wackersand The Dudes along with tales of playing at the historic Maples Inn before Myles Goodwyn grabbed him for super-stardom. Brian also spoke of his side project The Blues Bus with former Wine guitarist Gary Moffett.
Up and coming guitar player Paolo Stantereleased his third album; At It Again. The most complete recording of his career and cementing his position as one of the top ten guitar players in Quebec and Montreal.
In a music galaxy far, far away – a Canadian band altered the airwaves and sent Canada into an entirely different universe.
Crack of Dawn were the first black band to be signed to a major label (CBS) in Canada. Otis Redding’s producer discovered them and the band sold more albums than Earth, Wind and Fire in Canada. They were headed for stardom yet they disappeared.
In 2018 – they released a new album and started touring again. Proving once and for all – you can teach an old dog new tricks as long as the tricks are old.
April Wine co founder Jim Henmanwas in the news yet again. He recorded an album with his family. Something he wanted to do for a long while and finally finished it before it ‘is too late’.The Henman Family Albumis a delightful listen with all ten kids doing their musical thing.
Lawrence Gowan of Styx took time out to chat once again. Speaking with Larry, Lawrence or Gowan is always a history lesson and a lot of fun. The interview was a precursor to Styx’ appearance with Joan Jettand Tesla at Place Bell in Laval.
The League of Rockenlisted some local rock stars including Brian Greenway ( April Wine) and Corey Diabo( Jonas and The Massive Attraction) to coach musicians who normally just play in their basements. It is an event which showcases talent and at the same time, gives an opportunity for the players to hit a stage in front of a live audience for maybe the first and last time in their lives.
Local songwriter and guitar player Justin Saladinoreleased his album A Fool’s Heart. It was a coming of age for the young West Islander and music teacher. His vocals – a weak point before, came into fruition and the album cemented Justin’s place among the best in Montreal.
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In the big scheme of things, very few people saw Genesis live in their orginal formation.
Before fans knew it – Peter Gabriel was gone and shortly after, Steve Hackett followed. Fans of the original material who missed out on the theatrics and brilliant musicianship of the original line -up live were out of luck.
Out of luck until the Quebec – formed Musical Boxtook matters into their own hands and recreated the early years with precision. The Musical Box are the only Genesis Tribute band to be supported by the members of Genesis themselves.
They are that good.
Following twenty five years as the top Genesis tribute act – the members have decided to change things up a bit. An extravaganza is on the way …
Please listen below to my chat with the musical director and the ‘Mike Rutherford’ of The Musical Box, Sebastien Lamothe.
Canadian Walk of Fame and Canadian Music Hall of Fame member Andy Kim has many friends in the music business. Many of whom hold Andy in such high esteem – they will follow him anywhere.
Saturday night at The Corona Theater, some of those friends arrived in Montreal to participate in the fifth annual Andy Kim Christmas. A musical event which raises money for The Starlight Children’s Foundation. Broken Social Scene, La Force and Ron Sexsmith made the train trip from Toronto and joined some very talented Quebecers.
Marie – Mai, Coeur de Pirate, Hanorah, Brad Barr and Jake Clemons (the nephew of Clarence Clemons and a current resident of Montreal) welcomed Andy et al with Christmas bells on their toes. The scene was set for a night of giving.
Toronto comic Sean Cullen led the way with brilliant comedy aimed at Montreal from a Torontarian-point-of-view. Cullen, disregarding the MeToo movement (and pretty much all taboo subjects) exchanging barbs and wit with local emcee – CJAD’s Aaron Rand. The pauses between tunes; as unique as the tunes themselves.
In between Andy Kim singing his songs Rainbow Ride, Rock Me Gently and Sugar Sugar – the ‘stars’ of the show donated Folk, Country, Pop, Blues and Rock n Roll. There was something for everyone from the toe-tapping in-your-face Clemons’ Saxophone to La Force’s balladry. From Barr’s profound lyrical social conscience to Marie-Mai’s soulful Blues.
Concerts and music shows usually draw an audience of critics. Scribes ready at the drop of a hat to praise or destroy a performance. The Andy Kim Christmas Show somehow manages to remove all pens and all harshness. The spirit of the season and the generosity of the artists transcend reality. Music is performed and accepted the way it should be.
The Andy Kim Christmas show in Montreal even managed to draw Elvis to the building. The presence of the non-intentional (and vocal) look-a-like in the audience, adding magic to an already magical night. Cullen and Rand – taking the opportunity to include Elvis in their jabs every chance they had.
Canadian music is alive and well. Only a few of them were on a stage Saturday night that in the past has drawn artists such as Pagliaro, Roch Voisine and Sam Roberts. The Andy Kim Christmas Show is growing every year and attracting an array of diverse musical talent.
Who will be here next year? Andy Kim and whoever else decides to join him and pay it forward.
If everyone took steps for change – change would come.
Westmount native Annabel Gutherzhopes that people will follow her lead in making changes to the way people think. Inspired by the senseless school shootings in the States, Annabel wrote a song to make a difference.
All proceeds of the sales of the song will go to an organization called WE.
Please listen below to my chat with Annabel and find out all you need to know. Hear her fantastic song Legends as well.