jazz

2011 MassJazz Schedule Announced

MassJazz has released its annual schedule of jazz and blues festivals and outdoor concerts taking place in Massachusetts this summer and fall. The schedule includes a dozen outdoor jazz festivals across the Commonwealth, plus hundreds of outdoor concerts taking place in city parks and town squares, at museums and cultural venues, and at tourist spots around the state.

“Massachusetts has a lot to offer visitors, from our champion sports teams and our rich history to the stunning landscapes and abundance of cultural riches,” said Betsy Wall, executive director of the Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism.  “It’s all here and the vibrant music scene – especially jazz and blues - is another great reason to spend time in the Commonwealth this summer. ”

The Massachusetts festival season kicks off with the Hoop City Jazz & Art Festival in Springfield on July 8-10 and ends with the Pittsfield Jazz Festival in western Massachusetts on October 7-20.  Wall pointed to the strong jazz presence across Massachusetts, with festivals or concerts taking place in every region of the state.

“For tourists who savor jazz and blues – two of America’s greatest art forms – Massachusetts has a terrific slate of festivals and outdoor events this season,” said MassJazz founder Michael P. Quinlin.  “And add to that the jazz clubs, campus events, and live jazz brunches at hotels and restaurants, and you have a music lover’s paradise.”

In July, MassJazz is issuing its 3rd annual MassJazz Travel Guide, a free 40-page magazine with jazz profiles, stories and listings on the state's vibrant jazz scene.  The Guide is available at jazz venues, tourism kiosks, and cultural sports around Massachusetts.

Formed in 2009, MassJazz promotes the state’s jazz scene year round to the travel industry, in concert with Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism and other partners.  For more details on jazz in Massachusetts, visit MassJazz.com.

Click here for Jazz Festivals | Click here for Outdoor Concert Series.

Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey: Race Riot Suite

Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey will release their 21st album Race Riot Suite on August 30th. Conceived, written and arranged by the band's lap steel guitarist Chris Combs, the recording is a long form conceptual piece that tells the tragic story of the 1921 Tulsa race riot. JFJO's core line-up, which in addition to Combs includes Brian Haas (piano), Jeff Harshbarger (bass) and Josh Raymer (drums), is accompanied by a five-piece horn section featuring Steven Bernstein (trumpet), Peter Apfelbaum (tenor and baritone saxophone), Jeff Coffin (tenor saxophone), Mark Southerland (tenor saxophone) and Matt Leland (trombone). The album was produced by Costa Stasinopoulos and recorded at Tulsa's legendary Church Studio less than a mile from where the riot happened.
In 1921, Tulsa was home to a powerful and affluent African-American community. In one of the largest racial conflicts and cover-ups in American history, massive race riots resulted in the death of hundreds of black Tulsans and the destruction of the entire Greenwood city district, including "Black Wall Street." With jittery melodies, propulsive rhythms and swirling improvisations, JFJO reflects on one of the least understood atrocities of the Jim Crow-era. As the Race Riot Suite unfolds, however, the music ultimately offers light amid the darkness, celebrating the resiliency of community and offering a prayer for the terrible mistakes of the past to never again be repeated. Through the process, the album becomes part of a long lineage of jazz recordings to bring awareness to civil rights issues.
"We felt obligated as Oklahomans to shine a light. What played a big part in the creation of the suite was that it wasn't talked about in Tulsa or taught in schools. So it's kind of this weird looming thing around a really comfortable middle-class suburban community," explains Combs. "As a Tulsan, there was this weird darkness that was still looming. It wasn't talked about. It was deliberately covered up by the local government and press. The idea came from me as a jazz musician and a Tulsan having an emotional reaction to what I learned."
JFJO debuted Race Riot Suite in its entirety with a live performance at the Tulsa Performing Arts Center this past May. They will embark on a U.S. tour to support the album's release in the Fall. The band performs at Festival International De Jazz De Montreal on Friday evening.

THE NATIONAL JAZZ MUSEUM IN HARLEM SUMMER GLOBALORIA WORKSHOP

The National Jazz Museum in Harlem is teaming up with the World Wide Workshop to create an innovative VIDEO GAME using Globaloria technology! We are looking for 6 special young people between the ages of 13-19 who we'll select and appoint as our official game designers. NO PRIOR EXPERIENCE NECESSARY!

This team of 6 prospective candidates must have the facility to present strong ideas, yet create and incorporate the ideas of the team as a whole. An emphasis is placed on the candidate's ability to use JAZZ music, innovation, and a compelling video game objective to efficiently create a product that will attract both young people and adults alike. Prospective candidates should have the facility to adopt World Wide Workshop and the National Museum of Harlem's existing visual identity. No previous experience necessary. Only requirement: captivating, original ideas.

The workshop will take place for 3 weeks from July 6 - July 27 (Mon-Fri only) at the National Jazz Museum in Harlem. In the afternoons the 6 game designers will collaborate on creating this new game. The experience will be interactive, including live performances, masterclasses, and trips to many exciting and historic NYC jazz locations.

The host for the entire summer workshop is rising star pianist Jonathan Batiste and his band. Each day he will have something unique to offer, and allowing the 6 game designers to truly immerse themselves in this music we call JAZZ!

Call 212-348-8300 or email office@jmih.org for more info.

Colin Stetson Named In NPR's Best Of 2011

Colin Stetson is a horn player of uncommon strength, skill and genre-defying creativity. He composes and performs otherworldly songs that combine a mastery of circular breathing technique with percussive valve-work and reed vocalisations, making a polyphonic solo music that combines influences as diverse as Bach, early metal, American pre-war Gospel, and the explorations of Jimi Hendrix, Peter Brotzman and Albert Ayler.
New History Warfare Vol. 2: Judges is Stetson's second solo record and his first for Constellation.  Colin has been making his mark as a staggering solo performer for several years now, in front of audiences small and large, from intimate jazz and experimental music venues to big stages, whether opening for Arcade Fire or The National, or playing at jazz and new music festivals like Moers and London Jazz. His talents have been widely recognised and employed by artists as diverse as Tom Waits, Laurie Anderson, TV On The Radio and Bon Iver.  Colin also plays in Belle Orchestre and Sway Machinery.
The music on New History Warfare Vol. 2: Judges was captured entirely live in single takes at Montréal's Hotel2Tango studio, with no overdubs or looping, using over 20 mics positioned close and far throughout the live room. Guest vocals by Laurie Anderson and Shara Worden (My Brightest Diamond) are the only exceptions to this rule, along with one brief french horn that was multi-tracked.
The Judges sessions were co-produced by Stetson and Shahzad Ismaily and engineered by Efrim Menuck at the Hotel2Tango, then taken to Greenhouse StudiosBen Frost.
The result is a highly original, experimental, euphoric record that fires on all levels: a document of an astoundingly strong and gifted player; a compositional tour-de-force; and a studio production bursting with intensity and inventiveness.
New History Warfare Vol. 2: Judges features cover art by Tracy Maurice and will be issued on CD in custom 100% recycled paperboard gatefold jacket and on 180gLP with a limited edition screenprinted poster contained in the first pressing. The album will also be available digitally.

Greg Osby & Daniel Bennett at the Triad (NYC)


On Saturday, June 25th, the acclaimed Triad Theatre in Manhattan presents a special double bill concert, featuring contemporary jazz saxophonist Greg Osby and experimental "Folk-Jazz" saxophonist Daniel Bennett. Legendary contemporary saxophonist Greg Osby and innovative "Folk Jazz" saxophonist Daniel Bennett team up for a double bill performance at the Triad Theatre!  The New York Times declares, "Greg Osby has a keen, focused tone on alto saxophone and a hummingbird's phrasing, an equilibrium of hover and flutter."  The Boston Globe raves,"the Daniel Bennett Group plays a mix of jazz, folk, and trance."

The Triad Theatre has hosted performances by entertainers like Slash, Joan Osborne, Lisa Loeb, Paula Cole, Susan Lucci, Buddy Miles, Ravi Coltrane, Debbie Gibson, David Crosby, George Benson, Max Weinberg, John Entwistle, Tracey Morgan, Kathie Lee Gifford, Matthew Broderick, Rachel Dratch, and Steve Gutenberg. The Triad was the original home for Off-Broadway hits like "Forever Plaid," "Forbidden Broadway," and "Secrets Every Smart Traveler Should Know."

The Triad is located at 158 West 72nd Street on Manhattan's upper west side. Visit www.triadnyc.com for more information.  All advance tickets must be purchased at www.brownpapertickets.com/event/177563


The Mahavishnu Project presents THE COMPLETE "VISIONS OF THE EMERALD BEYOND"

THE MAHAVISHNU PROJECT: Gregg Bendian, drums / Glenn Alexander, guitar / Neil Alexander, keyboards / Jim Cammack, bass / Chern Hwei, electric violin / Melissa Stylianou, voice / Pete Furlan, saxophones / Jon Weber, violin / Will Hakim, viola / Leigh Stuart, cello

The Mahavishnu Project is the only jazz repertory ensemble of its kind to receive the endorsement of guitarist/composer John McLaughlin and ALL of the original members of The Mahavishu Orchestra. In fact, keyboardist Jan Hammer hired MahaProj to be his band for the night at MoogFest 2006 in NYC- his only US appearance in over 15 years.

The Mahavishnu Project typically presents "complete album evenings" such as "The Complete Birds of Fire" or "The Complete Inner Mounting Flame." Of late the band is presenting a 35th anniversary concert of Mahavishnu's "Visions of the Emerald Beyond", known to fans and historians alike as the pinnacle of the 1970's jazz fusion movement - boldly combining elements of jazz, rock, classical, Indian music and free-form sonic exploration. In 2008, The Mahavishnu Project released "Return to the Emerald Beyond" on Cuneiform Records. It is a reverent re-imagining of the entire original Emerald Beyond music from start to finish and includes encores from "Birds of Fire" and "Inner Mounting Flame."

“Just a little note of appreciation for what you are bringing back to life. This musical period was the beginning of finding my own way in music, and to hear you guys playing those tunes in such an unbelievable way is quite amazing. Great job!! Keep up the good work.”

-John McLaughlin

JESSE GRESS with members of the Mahavishnu Project will be performing the music of Jeff Beck and Jan Hammer.

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Friday, June 10, 2011 

Doors: 8:00 pm

Show: 9:00 pm

Tickets: $20 General Admission

Dr. Michael White's "Adventures in New Orleans Jazz, Part 1" Out 6/21

Basin Street Records is pleased to announce the June 21, 2011 release of Dr. Michael White’s Adventures in New Orleans Jazz, Part 1 (Part 2 will be released in early 2012).  This is the fifth release of Dr. Michael White’s on the Basin Street Records label following A Song for George Lewis, Jazz from the Soul of New Orleans, Dancing in the Sky, and Blue Crescent.

Adventures in New Orleans Jazz is an exciting journey of sound which blends traditional jazz with influences and songs from diverse sources, like Africa, the Caribbean and popular music from the 1960s and 70s.  This idea of converting tunes from other genres into the New Orleans jazz language goes back to early pioneers like Jelly Roll Morton, Sidney Bechet and Louis Armstrong – who all contributed their own unique variations of the style.

White has recorded 10 projects under his own name and has participated on over 40 recordings including the latest projects of Eric Clapton, Paul Simon, and Marianne Faithful.

Dr. Michael White is a leading figure in traditional New Orleans Jazz and one of only a few to creatively carry on the rich clarinet sound and style of that city.  He is a descendant of several first generation jazz musicians, including clarinetist Willie Joseph and reedman Earl Fouche.  He studied clarinet with noted band director Edwin Hampton and was a member of the esteemed St. Augustine High School Marching 100 and Symphonic Band.  In line with New Orleans tradition, White began his jazz career by playing for several years in local brass bands for social club parades and jazz funerals.

Among the numerous awards and honors White has received are the French Chevalier of Arts and Letters and the National Endowment for the Arts’ National Heritage Fellowship Award. In 2010 he was named Louisiana Humanist of the Year by the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, and he also won the Offbeat Magazine Best of the Beat Award as Clarinetist of the Year, and Gambit Magazine’s Big Easy Entertainment Award for Traditional Jazz Artist of the Year.

Basin Street Records is a New Orleans based label that is currently the only label with 3 projects on the Billboard Jazz Chart (printing 5/21/11 #10-Rebirth Brass Band’s Rebirth of New Orleans, #11 Irvin Mayfield’s A Love Letter to New Orleans & #16 Kermit Ruffins’ Happy Talk.

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Download “West African Strut” HERE

Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey | 2 Nights in Denver | June 8 & 9

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JACOB FRED JAZZ ODYSSEY
Two Nights at DAZZLE in DENVER
Wednesday, June 8 (shows 7pm & 9pm) buy advance tix
Thursday, June 9 (shows 8pm & 10pm) buy advance tix

Concord Original Jazz announces six new reissues

Concord Music Group will release six new titles in the Original Jazz Classics Remasters series on June 14, 2011. Enhanced by 24-bit remastering by Joe Tarantino, generous helpings of bonus tracks (many of them previously unreleased), and new liner notes that provide historical and technical context, the series showcases some of the most pivotal recordings of the past several decades by artists whose influences on the jazz tradition is beyond measure.

The six new titles in the series are:

  • Chet Baker: In New York
  • Ornette Coleman: Something Else!!!
  • Thelonious Monk: Thelonious Alone in San Francisco
  • Cannonball Adderley with Bill Evans: Know What I Mean?
  • Bill Evans Trio: Explorations
  • Ella Fitzgerald and Joe Pass: Easy Living


“These six releases bring us to 20 titles altogether since the launch of the series in March 2010,” says Nick Phillips, Vice President of Catalog and Jazz A&R at Concord Music Group and producer of the series. “Each occupies an important place in any quality jazz collection.”

Chet Baker: In New York

Recorded in September 1958 for Riverside, Chet Baker’s In New York features saxophonist Johnny Griffin, pianist Al Haig, bassist Paul Chambers and drummer Philly Joe Jones. In addition to the half-dozen tracks from the original album, the reissue includes a bonus seventh track — “Soft Winds,” a blues composition written by Benny Goodman and Fletcher Henderson.

The recording provides a glimpse of the trumpeter “coming off a run of popularity, critical praise, and commercial success the likes of which few musicians have known,” according to the new liner notes by Doug Ramsey. By the late ’50s, Baker had won numerous awards throughout the decade for his instrumental work, and was even regarded as a romantic idol for his singing.

“Baker had been somewhat pigeonholed as a West Coast cool jazz artist,“ says Phillips, “but this recording illustrates that he was right at home playing with New York musicians — who dealt with their own stereotype of being harder edged and more aggressive. On this recording, they all seem to meet effortlessly somewhere in the middle.”

Of the ongoing tug-of-war between Baker’s artistic successes and his personal battles with substance abuse, Ramsey adds: “It will be a long time before Chet’s struggles with his demon are forgotten, but one day when the headlines have finally disappeared, the beauty of his music will still be shimmering in the air.”

Ornette Coleman: Something Else!!!

Recorded at Contemporary’s studios in Los Angeles in February and March 1958, Ornette Coleman’s Something Else!!! features Don Cherry on pocket trumpet, Walter Norris on piano, Don Payne on bass, and Billy Higgins on drums. The first of two albums that Coleman recorded for Contemporary, Something Else!!! marks the saxophonist’s debut as a leader. “He was a very influential but at times controversial artist,” says Phillips. “Right out of the gate he was doing something that was just so different from what people were used to hearing,” says Phillips.  ”Although structurally-speaking, the music in this recording is based on established song forms, you can hear very clearly that Coleman is starting to break free of the limitations of conventional harmony.”

Neil Tesser writes in his new liner notes that Coleman traced jazz back to its roots to rid the music of its increasingly elaborate harmonic structures and other constraints. “Without the limitations imposed by such harmonic patterns, his band would freely travel into, out of, and between musical keys,” says Tesser. “As Ornette said in the original notes, ‘I think one day music will be a lot freer. The pattern for a tune, for instance, will be forgotten and the tune itself will be the pattern . . .’ When he recorded Something Else!!! that day was still a little ways off. In these performances, you hear him in the last throes of unshackling the past.”

Thelonious Monk: Thelonious Alone in San Francisco

Recorded on Riverside in October 1959, Thelonious Alone in San Francisco was a sequel of sorts to Thelonious Himself, recorded two years earlier. In addition to the album’s 10 original tracks, the reissue includes an alternate take of “There’s Danger in Your Eyes, Cherie.”

“With Thelonious Alone in San Francisco, Monk proved that his earlier success as a solo artist was not a fluke,” says Tesser in his liner notes for the reissue. “And in rejecting all the ‘rules’  for playing without accompaniment — as he’d rejected so many rules before — Monk expanded the entire concept of the solo piano idiom. Without Monk’s recordings as bedrock, it’s hard to imagine similarly intimate (though otherwise quite different) solo albums that would eventually come from Bill Evans, Herbie Hancock, Keith Jarrett, Chick Corea or even McCoy Tyner.”

For as unique as Monk’s style was, “he stayed pretty consistently within that style throughout the remainder of his career,” says Phillips. “That’s not to imply that there was any lack of creativity on his part. Within the unique style that he established, there was so much to explore and develop. But he still sounds unmistakably like Thelonious Monk, no matter what chapter of his career you listen to.”

Cannonball Adderley with Bill Evans: Know What I Mean?

Know What I Mean? was recorded between January and March 1961, with bassist Percy Heath and drummer Connie Kay supporting the saxophonist and pianist. The reissue includes three bonus tracks that are alternate takes of “Who Cares?,” “Toy” (previously unreleased), and “Know What I Mean?”.

“This album takes two artists who were part of the legendary, historic 1958 Miles Davis Sextet and pairs them together,” says Phillips. “The modal approach that Evans was pioneering in the context of that 1958 group reveals itself in some of the material that he and Cannonball are playing on this album.”

Orrin Keepnews, who produced the original recording sessions, writes in his new liner notes for this OJC Remasters reissue, “One of the many advantages of working with a man like Julian Adderley was that he was totally stubborn about pursuing an idea he believed in. And, quite simply, he thoroughly believed in the validity of an album based on his moving very much in a Bill Evans–influenced direction.

In his liner notes to the original recording, Joe Goldberg observes that while not all of the selections are ballads, an “aura of relaxation” permeates the recording. “In this instance it can be recognized as simply a matter of four highly skilled artists away from their usual tasks and delighting in one another’s musical company,” he says. “Nothing more really need be said about the results of their meeting than that the feeling of delight comes through.”

Bill Evans Trio: Explorations

Recorded in New York in February 1961 for Riverside, Explorations was the last album this version of the Evans trio would make in a recording studio. Bassist Scott LaFaro and drummer Paul Motian also appear on Sunday at the Village Vanguard and Waltz for Debby — both live recordings, released later in 1961 — but LaFaro died in a car accident shortly after the live sessions. This reissue features four bonus tracks, including previously unreleased alternate takes of “How Deep Is the Ocean?” and “I Wish I Knew.”

“Evans’ sound and approach was his own by ’61,” says Ashley Kahn in his new liner notes. “His piano style had fully matured, as had the interplay of the trio . . . Upon entering Bell Sound’s studio on February 2, 1961, producer Orrin Keepnews immediately noted the three had ‘made giant strides towards the goal of becoming a three-voice unit rather than a piano player and his accompanists.’”

What’s more, the disparity of styles between the unreleased alternate takes and their counterparts that made the final cut on the original record “illustrates that jazz masters like these are real improvisers,” says Phillips, “and no two takes are ever going to sound the same — because no two moments in jazz are ever the same.”

Ella Fitzgerald and Joe Pass: Easy Living

Recorded in Los Angeles in 1983 and 1986, Easy Living was one of a series of Ella Fitzgerald–Joe Pass collaborations on Pablo throughout the ’80s. In addition to the original album’s 15 tracks, the reissue also includes two previously unreleased bonus tracks — alternate takes of “Don’t Be that Way” and “Love for Sale.”

Easy Living and the other collaborations between these two veterans “worked on many levels,” says Tad Hershorn in his liner notes for the reissue. “As her voice aged and deepened, Fitzgerald discovered partial remedies in her phrasing, choices of keys and the pleasing maturity that now enveloped her still youthful voice. Pass was the perfect foil to display her diminishing resources to their best and most emotive advantage. Ella was known to incessantly toy with songs in her restless artistic striving, so one can perceive the music she made with Pass as a direct extension of her creative method. The leanness of their music underscores that even this late in her career, Ella Fitzgerald retained her bonafides as a singer for whom words did matter: not every song was merely a vehicle for her to bat notes out of the park. The allure was in the quiet majestic intimacy that focused an audience’s attention on full absorption of the musings of joy, wistfulness, and melody.”

The level of confidence with which each of these two musicians performs on this recording is hard to miss.  “The fact that Ella could walk into the studio with a bunch of lead sheets,” says Phillips, “and they could do a little rehearsal on the spot, figure out the best key for her, and he could just play it in any key behind her — all of that takes some phenomenal musicianship . . . They have a very conversational, relaxed sensibility about them, and both musicians seem very much at ease performing together and recording together in the studio.”

Legendary Pianist Steve Kuhn at the Triad - NYC

This Friday, May 27th, New York's acclaimed Triad Theatre on the upper west side presents a special jazz concert, featuring a solo performance by pianist Steve Kuhn and a performance by Saxophonist Daniel Bennett and his band.  Steve Kuhn will perform selections from his critically acclaimed album, "Mostly Coltrane" on the ECM label.  The Daniel Bennett Group will perform selections from their newest album, "Peace and Stability Among Bears."  Advance discounted tickets are available for purchase at www.brownpapertickets.com/event/171424.  Tickets are available at the door for $25.  The concert starts at 9:30pm and is an all-ages event. The Triad is located on the upper west side, at 158 West 72nd Street.

Legendary pianist Steve Kuhn has established himself as one of the preeminent voices in the jazz world. Kuhn began his illustrious career performing as a sideman with the likes of Stan Getz, John Coltrane, and Art Farmer.  At the end of the 1960's he spent four years living in Europe. Upon returning to the United States, Kuhn began his long-term affiliation with the revolutionary record label ECM.  This resulted in a string of important albums including Trance, Ecstasy, Non-Fiction,and important collaborations with Sheila Jordan.  In the mid-80's, Kuhn co-founded the popular 'All Star Trio', with bassist Ron Carter and drummer Al Foster. Kuhn also launched a revolving edition of his trio with bassist David Finck and various drummers, like Joey Baron, Lewis Nash, Billy Drummond, Kenny Washington and Bill Stewart. Steve Kuhn has released over 20 critically acclaimed albums on the Blue Note, Concord, and ECM labels. Kuhn continues to tour extensively throughout the world, with a strong following in the United States, Europe and Japan.

Critically acclaimed New York saxophonist Daniel Bennett has recently shared concert stages with artists like Bill Frisell, Charlie Hunter, James Carter, Billy Martin (Medeski, Martin & Wood), Jerry Bergonzi, and David Fiuczynski.  The Boston Herald described Daniel Bennett’s music as, “exploratory folk-jazz.” Bennett’s musical journey began as a graduate student at the prestigious New England Conservatory in Boston, Massachusetts.  During this time, Bennett began to compose songs that featured folk melodies played on the saxophone in a jazz quartet format.  Bennett's chord progressions also maintained a unique minimalist quality, influenced by composers like Steve Reich and Philip Glass. The Boston Phoenix described Bennett's style as, "an unusual folk-minimalist approach."  The music was innovative, yet remarkably accessible to a broad spectrum of listeners. The Boston Globe described Bennett’s music as “a mix of jazz, folk, and trance.”  The Daniel Bennett Group has released four albums on the Bennett Alliance label, A Nation of Bears, The Legend of Bear Thompson, Live at the Theatre, and Peace and Stability Among Bears.  Daniel Bennett’s "Folk Jazz" music has found a broad fan base that is unusual for a modern jazz outfit. Insite Magazine called Daniel Bennett’s music, “refreshingly capricious and trippy."

The world-renowned Triad Theatre has hosted performances by entertainers like Slash, Joan Osborne, Lisa Loeb, Paula Cole, Susan Lucci, Buddy Miles, Ravi Coltrane, Debbie Gibson, David Crosby, George Benson, Max Weinberg, John Entwistle, Tracey Morgan, Kathie Lee Gifford, Matthew Broderick, Rachel Dratch, and Steve Gutenberg. The Triad was the original home for Off-Broadway hits like "Forever Plaid," "Forbidden Broadway," and "Secrets Every Smart Traveler Should Know."

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Friday, May 27th

Triad Theatre

158 West 72nd St, New York, NY

Purchase Tickets HERE!