years

Paper Bird w/ Dovekins at the Boulder Theater

97.3 KBCO & Westword are proud to present Paper Bird with Dovekins at the Boulder Theater on Thursday, September 8th, 2011.  Tickets go on sale Friday, June 24th for $14 General Admission tickets.

Paper Bird’s backbone is their songwriting, musicianship and a general allergy to all limitations and trends. With seven members and no leader, this band is pulled in every direction imaginable, but thanks to their unique instrumentation they are able to merge their spontaneous creativity into one, solid sound.

The members of the band- Sarah Anderson, vocals and trumpet; sisters Esmé and Genny Patterson, vocals; Tyler Archuletta, trombone; Paul DeHaven, guitar; Caleb Summeril, banjo; Macon Terry, upright bass – bring a Folk, Americana sound that pays homage to the American Bandstand of the 1950’s, with a hint of Roaring 20’s flare. But don’t be thrown off by their old-timey sound, Paper Bird maintains the Indie rock image and resonance of the current age with a progressive and complex style that keeps them on the forefront of the music scene. The band’s inception came a few years ago in Breckenridge, Colorado where they met for the first time. The members were busking in the streets where they earned a couple hundred dollars, bought some beers and dinner and decided to form a band. Shortly after they went into the studio and recorded their first self-released album Anything Nameless and Joymaking (2007), which has been a top selling record in local retail stores since its release.

The seven-piece Americana Folk band is boasted by three female lead singers and backed by outstandingly talented musicians, continually capture the hearts of new and old listeners. They were recently featured on NPR’s All Things Considered due their rare and beautiful approach to music. They were voted in the Top 10 Best Underground Bands by Denver Post two years in a row. In the last year they have played Red Rocks Amphitheater to over 8000 people and have shared the stage with Devotchka, These United States, Grace Potter & the Nocturnals, Brett Dennen, and Big Head Todd & the Monsters. Their haunting and authentic sound is a refreshing and breath taking experience.

The female vocals create a soulful, dynamic harmony that accentuates each singer, while giving the illusion of a single voice. The trombone, banjo, and guitar elevate the music to a higher level while the skilled notes of the bass reflect the harmonies. Each style bounces off the other, while each note appreciates the other. They make audiences feel love, excitement, and passion. A show not to be missed, a band that must be heard: Paper Bird is one of a kind.

Also, appearing is Dovekins who is made up of six goonish characters that are fun-loving and appreciate a good time.  Their shows have a range of instruments including stand-up bass, accordion, clarinet, piano, mandolin, trombone, banjo, tuba, spoons and washboard.  A psychedelic hoe-down may ensue.

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Paper Bird w/ Dovekins

& Spirits Of The Red City and The Claptet

Boulder Theater

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Thursday, September 8th, 2011

Doors:  7:00 pm

Show Time:  7:30 pm

Introducing Nikki Lane! Gone, Gone, Gone EP Out July 19th

Nikki Lane’s Gone, Gone, Gone EP will be released July 19, 2011 on IAMSOUND. The EP will preview Lane’s full-length album out September 27, 2011 on IAMSOUND.

Nikki’s debut on IAMSOUND, the four-song EP titled Gone, Gone, Gone, features the title track (produced and co-written with Fool’s Gold’s Lewis Pesacov, who also produced the Best Coast album), “Western Bound” and “Down To The Wire,” two songs from an early self-released album titled No Room For Cowboys, and the alternate version of forthcoming album track, “Coming Home To You,” produced by David Cobb (Shooter Jennings, Jamey Johnson). On Gone, Gone, Gone, Nikki plays the rambler and sometimes drunkard with such an ardent aptitude she'd fit right in alongside those icons in whose songs she was able to find her own voice.

One glorious day some years back, teenage high school dropout Nikki Lane packed a trailer with her worldly possessions. With one hand firmly gripping a steering wheel and the other flipping the bird, she said so long to her home, Greenville, SC, the South and any sort of life it had suggested she should live. Western bound, she was headed to Los Angeles for no other reason than just because. After working various day-to-day jobs in fashion and the like, and living a life without clear direction, five years passed and Nikki started writing music, but soon forsook that path, after just two promising shows, for a job offer in New York.

But like the best country singers, shortly after moving to New York, heartbreak brought Nikki back to music. She started learning Waylon Jennings, Loretta Lynn, John Prine and Merle Haggard tunes, trying her best to strum along and building her confidence along the way. Impressed with her bold vocal chops, classic, heartfelt country ballads, and wildly infectious personality, IAMSOUND found Nikki last year just before she relocated to Nashville to focus on her music career full time.

When not working on her music, Lane stays busy wearing various hats in fashion. She’ll be one of several artists featured in American Eagle's back to school ad campaign, and she owns a vintage boutique called High Class Hillbilly.

Listen to Nikki Lane’s “Gone, Gone, Gone” off of the Gone, Gone, Gone EP here.

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Gone, Gone, Gone EP Tracklisting:

1. Gone, Gone, Gone

2. Western Bound

3. Down To The Wire

4. Coming Home To You


Nikki Lane Tour Dates:

Fri. June 24 – Nashville, TN @ The Basement w/ Grayson Capps

Fri. July 1 – Chattanooga, TN @ Rhythm and Brews w/ Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit

Sun. July 3 – Charleston, SC @ Pour House w/ Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit

Candye Kane's 'Sister Vagabond' album rings triumphant in challenging year

Candye Kane has been called a survivor, a superhero and the toughest girl alive. (All are also titles of her self-penned songs.) Her eleventh CD release, Sister Vagabond, will hit the streets on August 16, 2011 on Delta Groove Records. Produced by Kane and her noted guitarist Laura Chavez, Sister Vagabond is a worthy successor to their 2010 collaboration, Superhero, which was nominated for Best Contemporary Blues CD in the Blues Foundation’s Blues Music Awards.

The jump-blues singer, songwriter and mother of two from East Los Angeles is a five-time nominee for Blues Music Awards, has nabbed ten San Diego Music Awards and starred in a sold-out stage play about her life. She’s beat pancreatic cancer in the last two years. She has performed worldwide for presidents and movie stars.

But her path to success was not always glamorous or easy. Raised in what she calls a dysfunctional blue-collar family, Candye became a mother, a pinup cover girl and a punk-rock, hillbilly blues-belter by the time she was just 21 years old. Ten CDs, six record labels, millions of international road miles and countless awards later, Miss Kane has proven to be a true survivor as she scrambled her way to the top of the roots-music heap, creating a world renowned reputation that has spanned two decades.

A colorful mixture of the traditional and the eclectic, Kane cut her musical teeth in the early ’80s onstage with Hollywood musicians and friends Social Distortion, Dwight Yoakam, Dave Alvin, Los Lobos, The Blasters, X, Fear and the Circle Jerks, to name just a few. While raising two sons, this role model for the disenfranchised championed large-sized women, fought for the equal rights of sex workers and the GLBT community and inspired music lovers everywhere. Her fans are a mixture of true outsiders: bikers, blues fans, punk rockers, drag queens, fat girls, queers, burlesque dancers, porn fans, sex workers, rockabilly and swing dancers, gray-haired hippies, sex-positive feminists and everyday folk of all ages.

In 1986, then married to Thomas Yearsley of the Paladins, she was touched by the music of Big Maybelle, Big Mama Thornton, Ruth Brown and more. Her self-released 1991 Burlesque Swing caught the ear of Texas impresario Clifford Antone, who signed her to a deal with Antone’s Records. Los Lobos’ Cesar Rosas and Paladin/Hacienda Brother/Stone River Boy Dave Gonzalez co-produced the first album of the deal, Home Cookin’. Picked up by Discovery (later Sire) Records, the Dave Alvin/Derek O’Brien-produced Diva La Grande was followed by Swango in the height of the swing craze.

Rounder/Bullseye Records signed her in 1995, releasing The Toughest Girl Alive, produced by Scott Billington. Four albums followed on the German RUF label, including the Bob Margolin-produced Guitar’d and Feathered. She then pacted with her current label, Delta Groove, releasing Superhero in 2010 and now Sister Vagabond in 2011.

Her full-time, 250-days-a-year touring schedule started in 1992. And today, Kane’s live shows are the stuff of legend. She honors the bold blues women of the past with both feet firmly planted in the present. She belts, growls, shouts, croons and moans from a lifetime of suffering and overcoming obstacles. She uses music as therapy and often writes and chooses material with positive affirmations that leave the audience feeling healed and exhilarated. In a show that is part humor, part revival meeting and party sexuality celebration, she'll deliver a barrelhouse-tongue-in-cheek blues tune or a gospel ballad, encouraging audiences to leave behind religious intolerance. She’ll slay the crowd with her balls out rendition of “Whole Lotta Love” or glorify the virtues of zaftig women with “200 Pounds of Fun.” She often says she is a ”fat black drag queen trapped in a white woman's body” and she dresses the part.

Kane has been included in countless blues and jazz CD anthologies including Rolling Stone Jazz and Blues Album Guide and Musichound: Blues, The Essential Album Guide and Dan Aykroyd’s 30 Essential Women of the Blues. She appeared on the influential call-to-arms of Southern California roots music, A Town South of Bakersfield on Enigma Records, alongside Lucinda Williams and Dwight Yoakam.

In addition to her musical achievements, Kane has become an activist and philanthropist in recent years. In August 2009, she appeared in Dublin, Ireland for the World Congress for Downs Syndrome with her United by Music charity. The project provides performance opportunities, blues history lessons and songwriting instruction to young people with disabilities, encouraging them to write their own blues songs to help them overcome their daily challenges.

A fighter par excellence, Candye has an authenticity, determination and optimism that keep her shows passionate, honest and irresistible.

“I take things one day at a time and today I am feeling great and very optimistic about my new CD,” Kane says. It’s been awesome to write and co-produce again with my guitarist Laura Chavez. I am grateful for every chance I get to make music live, or in the studio. Most people are given only three months to live after a pancreatic cancer diagnosis and three years later, I am still here. So any opportunity I have to create music makes me humbled and grateful.

“People ask me why I want to work so hard and so much, since I tour 250 days a year. Everyone says I should stay home and relax after my health struggle. But music is my life and neuroendocrine cancer is a mostly manageable disease. I will continue to work as much as I can because I know life is fragile anyway. I would be fine if I died onstage doing what I love like Country Dick Montana or Johnny Guitar Watson. I’m not planning on going anytime soon, but when I do exit this plane, I hope it’s making someone else feel inspired by the powerful words in my songs.”

Tommy Keene's 'Behind the Parade' coming on August 30

When you’ve been pursuing your craft for the better part of 30 years and approximately a dozen albums without the benefit of universal adulation, you’re either wholly obsessed or doggedly determined. In Tommy Keene’s case, it’s likely a mixture of both. Hailed by some as power pop’s most fervent champion, he has been obsessed with making music for nearly three decades, toiling away with impressive results while winning the respect of a small but loyal group of listeners who hold everything he’s ever offered in the highest esteem. Long before now, Keene should have been welcomed into the pop pantheon, alongside McCartney, Rundgren, Wilson and all the other meticulous musicians long acknowledged for their creativity and consistency. Ask his devotees and they’ll tell you Tommy Keene is the equal of them all.

Behind the Parade, Keene’s latest album and his third release on Second Motion (including last year’s career spanning retrospective You Hear Me), schduled for August 30, 2011 release in three formats (CD, mp3 and limited-edition 180-gram vinyl), provides the latest body of proof. Like its predecessors, the disc affirms his pop proficiency, mastery of his craft and his ability to ensure instant accessibility given the benefit of emphatic hooks, irresistible refrains and the kind of vibrant, jangly melodies that bring to mind a distinctly ’60s sensibility. Keene may once have worshiped at the altar of the Beatles, Byrds and Beach Boys, but his synthesis of sounds transcends these retro references and stirs it into something that’s wholly fresh and exhilarating.

Ranging from the proto-Keene jangle of “Already Made Up Your Mind” and the edgy, power pop (no, he doesn’t mind that description — much) storytelling of “Running For Your Life” and “His Mother’s Son” to the moody, ambient instrumental “La Castana” and the horn-infused opener “Deep Six Saturday,” Behind the Parade finds Tommy ably taking a few risks while managing to play to his considerable strengths. Behind the Parade, along with his recent output, shows Keene is akin to an athlete rediscovering his prime, only in this artist’s case, he never left it.

Back in 1984, a six-song platter of pop perfection titled Places That Are Gone (Dolphin) put Tommy Keene onto the CMJ charts and atop the Village Voice EP of the Year poll. Blatantly romantic, unapologetically melodic, bittersweet but absolutely invigorating, it still stands as a powerful statement, not only establishing Keene as a unique singer-songwriter, but also as a guitarist with a sound as distinctive as Pete Townshend or Johnny Marr.

Keene made enough noise in the early ’80s to get the majors involved, and in 1986 he released Songs From the Film on Geffen. Produced by Beatles engineer Geoff Emerick, the album featured two MTV videos, “Listen to Me” and a re-recording of Places That Are Gone’s title track, and spent 12 weeks on Billboard’s Top 200. The 1998 CD reissue of Songs also includes one of the all-time great Keene rockers, “Run Now,” with inspired rhythm section work from drummer Doug Tull and bassist Ted Niceley, plus a terrific extended guitar solo. The singer as well as the song appeared in the Anthony Michael Hall movie Out of Bounds.


After releasing the Run Now EP in 1986, the original Tommy Keene group, which also included guitarist Billy Connelly, disbanded. Keene headed down to Ardent Studios in Memphis to record with producers John Hampton and Joe Hardy. The result was Based on Happy Times (Geffen, 1989). The ironically titled disc is the darkest album in the Keene catalog. Although his best material has always been infused with melancholia, Happy Times’ tracks like “The Biggest Conflict” and “A Way Out” reveal a more fatalistic outlook. The guitars are heavier, there is less jangle, and there aren’t as many hooky vocal harmonies. It is a beautifully crafted, sometimes brooding, arty rock record.

In 1996, Keene released Ten Years After (Matador), his first full-length album of all-new material in seven years. Produced by Keene and recorded by pop music wunderkind Adam Schmitt, the album contains classic pop hooks and the loudest guitars to date. For his next effort, Isolation Party (Matador), Keene recruited an all-star cast, getting some fine instrumental and vocal performances from former Gin Blossom Jesse Valenzuela and Wilco’s Jay Bennett and Jeff Tweedy. A live disc called Showtunes (Parasol), released in 2000, was followed up in 2001 with The Merry-Go-Round Broke Down for the SpinArt label. Tommy used his next effort, Drowning: A Tommy Keene Miscellany (Not Lame), to clean out his closets of 20 years’ worth of rarities, demos and unreleased sessions. One of the best hodgepodge records you’ll ever hear, more than one critic felt Tommy’s spring-cleaning LP bested many greatest hits packages.

Back on the road in 2004, Keene and band joined Guided By Voices on the East and West Coast legs of their farewell tour. Apart from some great gigs, the shows also led to Keene joining Pollard as a member of his post GBV band, The Ascended Masters, for their 2006 U.S. tour and a limited-edition live LP, Moon (Merge). The year also saw the release of Crashing the Ether (Eleven Thirty), which was performed and recorded primarily by Tommy himself at home with drums by John Richardson and contributions from regular Keene band members and friends. Sonically, the album is dazzling, with big drums and open, ringing guitars, and lyrically it was arguably a great leap forward.

Tommy quickly followed up Crashing the Ether with Blues and Boogie Shoes, an LP with Robert Pollard under the Keene Brothers moniker. Although side projects can sometimes be less than wholehearted efforts, tracks such as “The Naked Wall” or “Death of the Party” — as good a song as Keene or Pollard have written together or separately — show that neither artist held anything back.

2009’s In the Late Bright (Second Motion) displayed the full range of Keene’s songcraft over 11 tracks. The album kicked into high gear with “Late Bright,” a minor-key rocker that gets its tense and dramatic work done in two minutes flat. From there on out, the album delivered a fan-friendly collection of melodic hooks, vocal harmonies, inventive chord progressions and great guitar playing.

Keene summed up his solo output to-date with Tommy Keene You Hear Me: A Retrospective 1983-2009 (Second Motion), a two-CD collection holding over 40 of his best tunes (including an unreleased acoustic take of Crashing the Ether’s “Black and White New York”). Even then, fans debated what he included vs. what he left off — further proof of the man’s enduring songwriting prowess.

Tony Bennett's 'Best of the Improv Recordings' coming on Concord

In the decade between the end of World War II and the advent of rock ’n’ roll, Tony Bennett emerged as one of the premier pop singers of his generation — the heir apparent to figures like Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, and other iconic balladeers whose versatile and engaging vocal styles had already translated to huge successes in the 1930s and 1940s.

Despite his popularity in the postwar era, though, Bennett had grown restless by the 1970s. The time had come for him to explore something new, preferably on his own terms, and in an environment of his own making. After more than 15 years on Columbia and a short stint at MGM Records, Bennett struck out on his own and launched Improv Records, a label that lasted only a couple years but generated several fine recordings during the mid-1970s.

Concord Records gathers 16 tracks from his brief period on Improv into a single collection, Tony Bennett: The Best of the Improv Recordings. The compilation, which is culled from the four-CD boxed set, Tony Bennett: The Complete Improv Recordings, is set for release on July 12, just three weeks prior to Bennett’s 85th birthday.

“These tracks capture the moment in Tony Bennett’s career when he had complete artistic freedom,” says Nick Phillips, Vice President of Catalog and Jazz A&R at Concord Music Group. “As the head of his own label, he was the person who was calling all the shots and running the show. He was free to record what he wanted to record — music that was really important to him and resonated with him . . . I think the results are nothing short of stellar.”

Will Friedwald, who wrote the liner notes for the collection, admits that Improv was short-lived and not a commercial success, releasing about ten albums before shutting its doors after only two years. However, the period was an artistic high mark in Bennett’s overall career.

“Tony Bennett’s own recordings for his label would fall roughly into three categories,” says Friedwald. “Orchestral sessions with his regular musical director at the time, Torrie Zito; quartet sessions with the Ruby Braff-George Barnes Quartet; and most famously, duet sessions with pianist Bill Evans.” Each of these categories is well represented in this collection.

Despite the label’s less than stellar commercial performance during its short existence, says Friedwald, “the Improv sessions would result in some of the most amazing music of Bennett’s career.”

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TRACK LIST:

This Can’t Be Love
Make Someone Happy
Isn’t It Romantic?
Life Is Beautiful
Blue Moon
Thou Swell
You Don’t Know What Love Is
My Romance
The Lady Is a Tramp
You Must Believe in Spring
Reflections
I Could Write a Book
Maybe September
As Time Goes By
While We’re Young [live]
I Left My Heart in San Francisco [live]

iClips.net to Stream Sold-Out Widespread Panic Red Rocks shows

For music fans all over the country, it wouldn’t quite be summer without a run of Widespread Panic shows at Colorado’s breathtaking Red Rocks Amphitheatre. For the band’s 2011 visit – happening June 24-25-26 - iClips.net will be onsite documenting the sold out run. “Widespread Panic: Live From Red Rocks” webcast, available at iClips.net and LiveWidespreadPanic.com, will offer full performance real-time video streaming, bringing three nights of epic music directly into people’s homes.

Performances can be purchased separately or as a 3-night package, including a limited number of 3-night packages with an exclusive event poster signed by the band. Visit WidespreadPanic.com to purchase webcasts and for more information.

“This being the 25th anniversary of Widespread Panic, we felt it appropriate to simulcast the Red Rocks shows because they have been such a huge part of our 25 years of touring,” says Buck Williams, Widespread Panic’s co-manager. iClips.net CEO and Founder Nate Parienti adds, “During a Widespread Panic show at Red Rocks, the energy is palpable. We’re thrilled to capture it on video and try and bring as much of the experience as possible to the folks at home who aren't able to be there in person.”

THE BRIDGE: A Farewell Statement

Dear Family and Friends,

This next Thanksgiving will mark the 10-year anniversary of The Bridge.  It has been an amazing ride that we have shared with you all.  It is therefore with a heavy heart that we announce that this year will mark the end of The Bridge.  After ten years and thousands of miles, the harsh realities of life on the road have led us to a point where we can no longer sustain ourselves as a band.  We fought on to continue for as long as we could, because we truly believed in our music and cherished the deeply special connection that we have built with our audiences throughout the years.  But at the end of the day, the economy won, and we are forced to close up shop.

What started as a show for our friends on one Thanksgiving Eve has led us on a wild, beautiful journey beyond our expectations.  The long van rides, smoky bars, sleepless nights, wicked hangovers, cheap motels, and flat tires were all worth it for the chance to play music for you all and create those special moments that we live for.  It has been the most rewarding experience of our lives.  In true Bridge fashion, we will be giving you everything we have left for the rest of our shows.  We will be playing our final residency at 8x10, the house that built The Bridge, in the coming weeks, as well as our beloved All Good Festival, our favorite day of the year for the last 7 years.  And as if it was meant to be, we will be closing out our run as a band on our 10-year anniversary, Thanksgiving Eve, at Rams Head Live.  We plan on cherishing every last moment we have with you as The Bridge.

As chapters end and new ones begin, we will continue to pursue other musical endeavors, and hope to keep the spirit of this community alive.  We are forever grateful to you all, the people who we have gotten to know so well through the years, as well as those who have worked so hard and given so much of themselves for the band.  And lastly we want to thank each other, the members of the band both past and present, for sweating out the tough times and celebrating the high times together to try and live the dream.  We are truly brothers for life.  As sad as we feel that this experience is ending, we have no regrets. We feel we have achieved what we set out to do, which is to make people happy through our music.  We humbly thank you, from the absolute bottom of our hearts, for your love, support, and inspiration that has given us this opportunity.  It has been an honor and a privilege.

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Our remaining dates this summer are:

May 28 | Sterling Folk Festival | Sterling, NY tickets
June 1 | 8x10 Club | Baltimore, MD
June 8 | 8x10 Club | Baltimore, MD
June 15 | 8x10 Club | Baltimore, MD
June 22 | 8x10 Club | Baltimore, MD
June 4 | Crawfish Fest | Augusta, NJ
July 4 | TBA | Harrisonburg, VA
July 7 | Bottle & Cork | Dewey Beach, DE
July 10 | Ladew Gardens | Monkton, MD
July 17 | All Good Festival | Mastontown, WV
July 22 | Gathering of the Vibes | Bridgeport, CT
July 29-31 | Black Sheep Family Reunion | Tidewater, OR
August 5 | Elysian Fields Festival | Boyce, VA
August 7 | Flood City Music Festival | Johnstown, PA
August 12 | Hunt Valley Towne Center (acoustic) | Hunt Valley, MD
August 19 | Bella Terra Festival | Stephentown, NY

Sincerely,

Cris, Kenny, Dave, Mike, Patrick, and Mark

The Bridge

Connie Smith's Long Long Of Heartaches | Out 8/23

New recordings by the country music legend Connie Smith, long acclaimed as one of the greatest singers in the history of the genre have been as rare as the voice and knowing singing she brings to them.  Long Line of Heartaches, set for release on August 23rd, her first full album of new material since 1996 (and only her second since 1978) is an event in the making. That’s not just for the rarity, or because her legions of fans have so long awaited this news, but because in its range of undiluted traditional country moods, themes, rhythms and sound, this new Sugar Hill release is simply, unmistakably a new Connie Smith masterpiece, offering the pleasures of the very best that saw release during her remarkable run of recordings during the 1960s and‘70s.

“And that,” she says. “is exactly what I wanted to accomplish.  I’ve had people ask me what this album was going to be like, since it’s been a long time since they’ve heard me on record, but my musical tastes have remained the same. I wanted this to be traditional country, and it is.”

“One of the reasons that I wanted to do this recording, and it’s a personal reason, is that I have such a deep love for traditional country music. We can talk about the music slipping away, or we can do something about it.  The only way I know to do something about it is to keep singing what I’ve always loved.”

The album’s dozen new tracks, potent songs of heartache, joy, and spirit recorded at Nashville’s celebrated RCA Victor Studio B, where Connie recorded most of her chart-topping hits in her first years as a recording artist, include five new traditional country songs co-written by Connie and husband Marty Stuart, the project’s producer. Memorable songs come from long favored Smith sources such as icons Harlan Howard, Foster & Rice, Kostas, Johnny Russell and Smith’s longtime collaborator Dallas Frazier.  Frazier’s song “A Heart Like You” becomes the 69th Frazier composition that Smith has recorded – breaking his 30 years of songwriting silence, an event within itself.

Having become an overnight country sensation in 1964 when her first single, “Once a Day”, became a number one hit, the first time a female country singer’s debut single accomplished that, Connie Smith enjoyed a string of hits in the following years that have become country standards, including “Ain’t Had No Lovin’”, “Just One Time”, “Run Away Little Tears” “I never Once Stopped Loving You” and “The Hurtin’s All Over”.  She became a star whose iconic voice has influenced other singers for decades. She has recorded a string of 53 albums notable for their quality and range.

To this legacy she now adds Long Line of Heartaches, featuring her band The Sundowners and, for the first time, her three daughters, Julie, Jeanne and Jodi who add striking family harmonies on the contemporary hymn “Take My Hand.”

“I still love to sing as much as I ever did.  I could sing at the kitchen sink and I’d be happy. I feel it is my destiny to sing.”  Country music fans everywhere should rejoice in the fact that we get to be a part of that destiny.

National Jazz Museum in Harlem May 16 - May 22, 2011

Upcoming events at the National Jazz Museum in Harlem for this week include:

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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Jazz for Curious Listeners

Tito Puente Month: Presented by Joe Conzo and special guests

7:00 – 8:30pm
Location: NJMH Visitors Center
(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)
FREE | For more information: 212-348-8300

The Jazz Years

The 60’s saw Puente fully immersed in his passion to combine Jazz and Latin music. A passion thatwas fueled by his mentors Machito and “Hall of Famer” Mario Bauza. It had been his belief that this “marriage” could become a powerful force in music, thereby enhancing the musical experience of the listener and dancer.

He teamed up with bandleader and trombonist Buddy Morrow and began a series of recording sessions where both of them performed with two full and completely different orchestras. The project culminated in the LP recording “Revolving Bandstand” under the RCA label.

With this recording, Latin Jazz received a shot in the arm. It would have a direct affect on some of the younger musicians that would be making a name for themselves in the years to come, notably, Ray Barretto, who first played with Puente in “Dance Mania” and also recorded on the “Revolving Bandstand” sessions.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Harlem Speaks

Bennie Wallace, Saxophonist

6:30 – 8:30pm
Location: NJMH Visitors Center
(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)
FREE | For more information: 212-348-8300

Tenor saxophonist Bennie Wallace made waves throughout the jazz world in the late 1970's with his debut recording, The Fourteen Bar Blues. Thereafter, with an unflagging respect and affection for classic jazz, he repeatedly represented his own progressive take on the music. His talent for composing and arranging music attracted the attention of Hollywood moviemakers in the late 1980's, which led him to spend nearly a decade in California composing and directing film soundtracks. Wallace's music has developed a more lyrical sense, yet his rhythms retained an authentic style that belonged uniquely to Wallace, according to critics. Winner of Germany's Deutscher Schallplattenpreis, the jazz Grammy equivalent, and a five-time winner of the Down Beat magazine award for Talent Deserving Wider Recognition, the full impact of Wallace's talent remained yet to unfold into the new century.

Born Bennie Lee Wallace Jr. on November 18, 1946, in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Wallace began playing clarinet in his youth from the age of 12 when a music teacher at his school started a jazz band and taught the group about great jazz musicians like Count Basie, Charlie Parker, and Miles Davis. Later, Wallace played in the high school band and added tenor saxophone to his teenage repertoire. Despite his youth, he learned his way around the after-hour jazz clubs even while he was still in high school in Chattanooga. During his late-night excursions, Wallace participated in jam sessions, playing bebop and blues most frequently. He went on to study music at the University of Tennessee and received a bachelor's degree in clarinet studies in 1968. After college during the mid 1970's, he did some composing for a German radio orchestra although his first love was jazz saxophone. Even during a stint in Hollywood during the late 1980s and into the 1990's, Wallace maintai ned to interviewer Zan Stewart of the Los Angeles Times that his horn remained the focal point of his music and of his life.

After his arrival in New York from Tennessee, Wallace spent 1973 studying the old jazz masters and their music to discover the essence of each, focusing heavily on Johnny Hodges and Coleman Hawkins. Yet despite his in-depth study of historical jazz, Wallace disliked repertory bands and eschewed revivalist groups equally. He remained committed to personal definition in everything that he performed. It became evident that Wallace moved in a direction different from the bandwagon that typified so many of his contemporaries, with his styles rooted more closely in the work of Coleman Hawkins than with John Coltrane. In 1985, Wallace signed with Blue Note Records. His debut album for that label, entitled Twilight Time, remained a favorite for many years

In 1991, in an unanticipated career shift, Wallace moved his residence to Pacific Palisades in Southern California to be near the Hollywood film industry as he became involved in composing for films. The opportunity came as a result of his 1985 Blue Note release, Twilight Time, which caught the ear of filmmaker Ron Shelton. Shelton requested that Wallace contribute to the soundtrack for the late-1980's film Bull Durham. Wallace obliged with "Love Ain't No Triple Play," written expressly for that movie. Also heard on the Bull Durham soundtrack was a reprise of Wallace's arrangement of "Try a Little Tenderness." Wallace went on to score the movie Blaze and served as musical director the film White Men Can't Jump.

During this time, Wallace worked extensively with pianist Tommy Flanagan in creating film music. Additionally, Wallace worked behind the scenes as a docent of pianist Jimmy Rowles after Wallace, having settled in California, contacted Rowles completely without introduction. Regardless, a comfortable relationship bloomed between the two, as Rowles mentored Wallace not only in the mechanics of playing the piano, but also in the fine points of harmony. In 1993, Wallace released The Old Songs, an album which represented a culmination of the wisdom and inspiration that he derived from Rowles. He’s now back on the East Coast, living with his wife in Connecticut.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Harlem in the Himalayas

Colin Vallon Trio

7:00pm
Location: Rubin Museum of Art
(150 West 17th Street)
$18 in advance | $20 at door | 
For tickets: RMA Box Office or call 212-620-5000 ext. 344

Colin Vallon, piano
Patrice Moret, double-bass
Samuel Rohrer, drums

Get an insight into the international sounds of cutting edge jazz with the music of this band, which belongs among the most remarkable and fascinating which the Swiss scene has to offer. The 29-year-old Colin Vallon has everything an extraordinary musician needs: brilliant technique, personal expression, a sense for perfect timing and a very individual, musical language which he creates through the unusual sounds from his prepared piano. Together with bassist Patrice Moret and drummer Samuel Rohrer, he has developed an exciting multiple stylistics based on modern jazz, but from which it steps out into all directions possible. The trio lives out its dramaturgically excellent compositions in sensitive interplay.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Saturday Panels
A Tito Puente Celebration
12:00 – 4:00pm

Location: NJMH Visitors Center
(104 E. 126th Street, Suite 2C)
FREE | For more information: 212-348-8300

Join us for an afternoon with the music of the King of Timbales, Tito Puente.

El Rey de Timbales. Tito Puente more than earned first place among modern Latin jazz musicians, working continuously from 1937 to 2000, recording over 100 albums.

Puente started his professional career as a drummer in Noro Morales’ orchestra. He played briefly with Machito’s Afro-Cubans before being drafted into the U.S. Navy, where he played in a band led by famed swing band leader, Charlie Barnet. After his discharge, Puente took advantage of the G.I. Bill to study at the Juilliard School of Music, while working with a variety of Latin bands in New York.

Puente quickly became known as a sizzling arranger. Promoter Federico Pagani hired Puente after hearing him jamming with a group of players from Pupi Campo's band, and dubbed them the Picadilly Boys. Puente subsequently moved to Tico Records and changed the group's name to Tito Puente and his Orchestra. Through numerous changes in labels and musicians, Puente has been in front of his group ever since.

Puente's fame skyrocketed when promoter Max Hyman bought the Palladium dance hall and opened it as a nightclub just as the craze for dancing the mambo and cha-cha hit in the early 1950's. He recalled nearly 50 years later:

“It was the explosion of dance. Remember, the Palladium was a big dance hall. I've always maintained that without a dance the music cannot be popular. People became aware of a new dance--the Mambo--it was ‘in’ to learn to dance the Mambo no matter what part of society you came from. And so here was a place, the Palladium, where everybody could come to dance or learn the Mambo. Dance studios sent their students to the Palladium, where they could learn and see great dancers—ballet stars, Broadway stars, expert Mambo dancers—all in one place. And I geared my music to these dancers.”

Puente rode the wave on Tico, then switched to RCA for what some consider his best albums, including Top Percussion, Dance Mania, his top-seller, and Mucho Puente. In the early 1960's, he moved from cha-chas and mambos to the new pachanga style and rejoined Tico to record Pachanga Con Puente. His 1962 descarga (Latin jam) album, El Rey Bravo debuted Puente's composition, "Oye Como Va," which later became a huge pop hit for Carlos Santana. "Every time he plays 'Oye Como Va,' I get a nice royalty check," Puente said.

Puente suffered through the boogaloo craze ("Boogaloo meant nothing to me. It stunk.") and carried on into the rise of salsa in the early 1970's. He recorded several albums in collaboration with Celia Cruz, the "Queen of Salsa." In the early 1980's, he moved into more traditional Latin jazz for the Concord label, earning a Grammy award for Tito Puente and His Latin Ensemble on Broadway. Although he was criticized for leaning on a clichéd style in his performances and material, Puente rallied again in 1991 to capitalize on the popularity of Oscar Hijuelos' novel, The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love with the album, The Mambo King: 100th Album. It was actually something like his 112th, but who was counting at that point? Ever a trend-rider, Puente made his prime-time television debut in 1995 on an episode of "The Simpsons."

In 1997 Puente recorded 50 Years of Swing, a compilation of hits that celebrate his fifty years in the Latin music industry, and in 1999, he won his fifth Grammy for Best Latin Performance for his CD, Mambo Birdland. In the late 1990's, he was designated as a "Legend" by the Hispanic Hall of Fame, inducted to the Jazz Hall of Fame, received a star on the Walk of Fame in Hollywood, and received a Smithsonian Lifetime Achievement award. He suffered a heart attack soon after his last public appearance, in April 2000, with the Puerto Rico Symphonic Orchestra at the "Centro de Bellas Artes" in Puerto Rico.

Luther Russell Announces New Double LP

Luther Russell is set to release his fifth LP, a double-length entitled The Invisible Audience, on July 12th on Ungawa Records. It's a wildly ambitious record from the multi-talented singer-songwriter/producer, which he calls "a glimpse into the jukebox of my psyche." The twenty-five tracks on this epic record were culled from months and months of recording "whenever I could get into my eight-track studio or on a four-track cassette to get an idea down." The album's narrative flow seems to run the gamut of emotions from regret, betrayal and loss to humor, nostalgia and hope. His last release, 2007's Repair (produced by Ethan Johns) was a ragged, rootsy pop record full of rich, sometimes bouncy melodies which belied their darker subject matter, namely that of his then-fresh divorce. The album won him quite a bit of acclaim but nonetheless failed to break him to a wider audience. Since then he concentrated on the production side of things, working with a wide array of artists, including Noah & The Whale, Laura Marling, Sarabeth Tucek, Holly Miranda, Richmond Fontaine, Sean Lennon and Fernando, to name a few.

It was during this industrious period that Luther would hit the recording studio on his own whenever time permitted "to capture some kind of feeling before it slipped away" or for other projects like "the odd failed soundtrack that never was." Being a multi-instrumentalist (Luther has lent his talents to many other artists on drums, guitar, bass, keys, etc.) helped to get many songs recorded with no time to waste. For instance, "Traces," a track evoking Slim Chance-era Ronnie Lane, was done "pretty much in one day", recalls Russell. Still, he did enlist help from a few close musical allies to help flesh out harmony-laden blasts like "Everything You Do" and "Tomorrow's Papers", as well as the psychedelic trance-rock of "Motorbike". In fact, on the elegiac "In This Time," members of his old band The Freewheelers popped by to help with the feel of the track. "I just had so many different types of songs coming out of me over the past few years that for once I wanted to intertwine as many as I could, regardless of style or genre, to try and paint a more complete picture of who I am as an artist. This would be my chance because I could take my time and do it until it was done--whenever the hell that would be".

Turns out it wouldn't be for roughly five years, as Luther wouldn't finally compile the songs until he was able to listen to many different sequences on the often snail-paced subway rides between Manhattan and Brooklyn where he had relocated after several years in Los Angeles. "I just began to hit upon the fact that all of the instrumental tracks that I had accrued could provide little 'smoke breaks' for the listener, so to speak". Inspired by the sprawling double-albums of his youth, such as Husker Du's Zen Arcade, Game Theory's Lolita Nation and Fleetwood Mac's Tusk, he began to see the songs woven together in a longer, more colorful tapestry. "I wanted to make a record that someone could literally get lost in...every time you'd drop the needle you'd be somewhere new. It would be like a friend that was always around, but each time you get together something has changed a little, just like in life". Invariably the album would wind up consisting of some darker pathways, to which Luther attributes more than a few harrowing experiences, such as the sudden passing of two of his "very best friends" and a horrible accident where he nearly lost use of his right hand. "A period of intense darkness seemed to settle over me after the recording of my last record. Moving to New York was definitely an 'escape' of sorts, but the kind of loss I experienced over the past few years one can never quite shake, I think".

It's these more contemplative stretches of musical highway that are found in songs such as "A World Unknown," a stripped-down blues lament concerning "various frightened glimpses into one's own mortality" and "1st & Main," a spidery concoction regarding a certain sojourn through downtown L.A. "which I'd rather not discuss", Russell broods. Livelier tracks include the uproarious "Long Lost Friend," something of a sonic shotgun-wedding between the Faces and Nilsson, juxtaposed with lyrics about "literally having fuck-all", and "Ain't Frightening Me," a dervish of acid words and zig-zag melody influenced by the proto-power-pop of Nick Lowe and Dwight Twilley. The font of mix-and-match songcraft throughout the record can also be attributed to Luther's background, which includes a grandfather and great-uncle, each of whom wrote several Tin Pan Alley standards. It's this family history which he pays tribute to on instrumentals such as the ragtime-y "109th & Madison" (named for the intersection in Harlem where his grandmother grew up) and "Still Life Radio," the old Broadway-style opener which evokes an instant nostalgia even before the expansive record has begun to rev-up (with the grinding Sidekick Reverb).

As to the inevitable head-scratching regarding the sheer length of the record, Luther takes it in stride. "I fully get and understand that many people will ask 'why so long' and generally not have the patience to sit through such an 'endless' listen", he laughs, "but I just had to do it. It just felt right and I thought it would be a true musical experience--that is if you even like what I do in the first place!" This time around, not only has Luther Russell made a record that has many of the hallmarks he is known for (ear-catching melodies, lyrics layered with multiple meanings and adventurous musicianship), but he's managed to make one that contains all of them: the dark folk-blues territory he has covered in past records such as Lowdown World, the bold experimentation found in out-of-nowhere u-turns like Down At Kit's and the melancholy pop of the aforementioned Repair. The Invisible Audience aims to tie up the many loose ends of Luther's recorded output and twist it into something new, yet strangely recognizable. "It's an album made for music fans. People like me. Folks who want to disappear for a while, take a vacation from all the bullshit. All you need is a pair of headphones and an open mind".