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Ursa Minor Announces New Release & Show

Fronted and founded by New York singer/writer Michelle Casillas, Ursa Minor has become a mainstay in NYC’s indie rock scene. The band delivers a timeless mix of vocal driven pop-rock with a primal rhythmic undercurrent; sharp and urban, broad and free.
Ursa Minor’s debut LP Silent Moving Picture was released by Sonic Youth’s Steve Shelley, on Smells Like Records. It was a deep and darker picture, slow bumps in the night and big spaces, featuring Casillas’ swampy electric piano and shuddering vocals. Ursa Minor is a band of improvisers, grown from downtown roots. Over many years of live performances and writing, they have pursued their artistic bent without compromise, and coincidentally become a source of naturally catching melodies and themes of a broader life.
From Beaconpass: “This Spring will see the arrival of Ursa Minor’s follow up, SHOWFACE.  The sound is often bigger, louder, more pugnacious: this is the sound of a band playing whatever turns them on. Live, Ursa Minor has been known to take the Violent Femmes' sweet ballad "Please Do Not Go" and turn it into a smoldering reggae slow jam, somewhere between Blondie's version of "The Tide is High" and Patti Smith's "Birdland."  Singer Michelle Casillas and her band can wring every drop of feeling out of a song, whether it's loud or lowdown, sweet or seething.” Many of their peers, some of New York’s most celebrated innovators, are often spotted at their shows, including Norah Jones, Marc Ribot, Joan As Police Woman, and Bill Frisell.
SHOWFACE (Anthemusa Records) was produced by Tony Scherr (Bill Frisell, SexMob, Norah Jones, Lounge Lizards, Feist), who is also featured on guitar. Bass whiz Rob Jost (Imogen Heap, Bjork) and NY heavy hitter Robert DiPietro (Norah Jones, Josh Rouse) equally create the sound, contribute songs of great depth and strength, and sing harmony. Special guests include Chris Brown (Joan As Police Woman, Barenaked Ladies, Abrams Brothers) on organ, and Jim Campilongo (Martha Wainwright, Teddy Thompson) and Teddy Kumpel (Rickie Lee Jones) on guitars.
Ursa Minor kicks off their new release, SHOWFACE, at NYC’s Joe's Pub, Tuesday, May 24th at 7:30pm!

A Benefit Jazz Concert Charlie Hunter Duo & Daniel Bennett Group

Sunday Series at Abingdon is proud to present 8-string "groove" guitarist Charlie Hunter and "Folk Jazz" Saxophonist Daniel Bennett who are teaming up for a special double bill performance to benefit not-for-profit Abingdon Theatre Company.

Guitarist Charlie Hunter has established himself as one of America's preeminent guitar players and musical innovators. Hunter’s latest recording, Gentlemen, I Neglected To Inform You You Will Not Be Getting Paid, features the guitarist alongside drummer Eric Kalb (Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, John Scofield) and a new horn section, including trombonist Curtis Fowlkes (Jazz Passengers, Lounge Lizards, Bill Frisell), trombonist Alan Ferber (Don Byron,  Kenny Wheeler) and trumpeter Eric Biondo (Antibalas, TV On The Radio). This marks Hunter's second full-length release on his independent label Spire Artist Media. Hunter follows up his latest trio album, Baboon Strength, with an ambitious effort recorded live direct to two-inch analog tape.

Critically acclaimed New York saxophonist Daniel Bennett has recently shared concert stages with national artists like Bill Frisell, Charlie Hunter, James Carter, Billy Martin (Medeski, Martin & Wood), Jerry Bergonzi, and David Fiuczynski. Bennett’s musical journey began as a graduate student at the prestigious New England Conservatory in Boston, Massachusetts.  While at NEC, Bennett studied saxophone with Jerry Bergonzi, George Garzone, and Ken Radnofsky.  Daniel Bennett graduated from the conservatory in 2004 and began performing as a freelance musician with groups like the Portland Symphony, New Hampshire Festival Orchestra, Musaner, and the Duprees. During this time, Bennett also 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 band’s landmark debut album, A Nation of Bears, was met with critical acclaim. The Daniel Bennett Group released The Legend of Bear Thompson in the spring of 2008. Metronome Magazine ranked the album in their top five picks of the month, declaring, "the trio is so in sync with each other that it's downright mystical."  In 2009, the Daniel Bennett Group released Live at the Theatre, a groundbreaking album that was recorded live during a double bill performance with the Charlie Hunter Trio. The Daniel Bennett Group has been featured on popular radio programs like Harvard University’s Jazz Spectrum (WHRB 95.3FM).  The group has also made television appearances on Bandwidth TV, The Music Closet, Style Boston, and Sal's Show. The Daniel Bennett Group can be heard at clubs and festivals throughout the United States.

Since 1993, not-for-profit Abingdon Theatre Company has developed and produced new plays by American playwrights exclusively. Under the artistic direction of Jan Buttram, the company provides a safe home in which playwrights collaborate with other theatre artists and receive audience feedback through the utilization of a four-step development process: First Readings, Staged Readings, and Workout Labs, which culminate in Studio Productions and Mainstage Productions.  

For Tickets visit their website.

Jazz Appreciation Series Features Tyner, Frisell, Smith & Scofield

John Scofield - photo by Sanjay Suchak- for the Grateful Web

Brilliant "sheets of sound" pianist, member of legendary John Coltrane Quartet.

Boulder Theater and Jazz89 KUVO present the Jazz Appreciation Series in celebration of April Jazz Appreciation Month with Dr. Lonnie Smith Trio, Bill Frisell Trio featuring Rudy Royston and Tony Scherr, McCoy Tyner and John Scofield's Piety Street Band featuring George Porter Jr., Jon Cleary and Ricky Fataar.

It is not an overstatement to say that modern jazz has been shaped by the music of McCoy Tyner. His blues-based piano style, replete with sophisticated chords and an explosively percussive left hand has transcended conventional styles to become one of the most identifiable sounds in improvised music. His harmonic contributions and dramatic rhythmic devices form the vocabulary of a majority of jazz pianists.

At 17 he began a career-changing relationship with Miles Davis' sideman saxophonist John Coltrane. Tyner joined Coltrane for the classic album My Favorite Things (1960), and remained at the core of what became one of the most seminal groups in jazz history, The John Coltrane Quartet. The band, which also included drummer Elvin Jones and bassist Jimmy Garrison, had an extraordinary chemistry, fostered in part by Tyner's almost familial relationship with Coltrane.

In 1965 Tyner broke out as a leader and has since released nearly 80 albums under his name, earned four Grammys and was awarded Jazz Master from the National Endowment for the Arts in 2002. He continues to leave his mark on generations of improvisers, and yet remains a disarmingly modest and spiritually directed man.

Dr. Lonnie Smith is an authentic Master of the Hammond B3 organ. For over five decades he has furthered the sound of Jazz Organ, created a worldwide fan-base, and revealed his musical talents on over seventy albums. Today, his name is truly synonymous with the instrument. Lonnie Smith has consistently been a leading force in jazz since 1969 when critics for Downbeat magazine hailed him as 'Top Organist of 1969.' More recently he has been selected as 'Organ Keyboardist of the Year' by The Jazz Journalist Association in 2003, 2004 and 2005.

Guitarist, composer and band leader Bill Frisell explores the musical possibilities of his own multi-faceted compositions and time-honored jazz and folk songs with this ever-evolving constellation of extraordinary musicians. Bill Frisell Trio features Denver-raised percussionist Rudy Royston and bassist Tony Scherr.

John Scofield's Piety Street Band features John Scofield (guitar), Jon Cleary (keyboards) George Porter Jr. (bass) and Ricky Fataar (drums). In introducing this all new group for 2009, John forges a connection from jazz to blues to gospel. "I've always wanted to record and tour a blues project...that's where I started as a guitarist and I'm feeling that music more than ever of late. My jazz is funky, my funk is jazzy and R&B flavors run through it. I'm just shifting the balance for this one and I am really excited to be making music with Jon Cleary (Boonie Raitt), the legendary George Porter, Jr. (The Meters) and Ricky Fataar (Bonnie Raitt, Beach Boys)."  Inspired by the songs of Thomas A. Dorsey and Mahalia Jackson, John Scofield's Piety Street Band has all the swing and blues needed to finally make a real jazz/funk fusion project.

An Evening with McCOY TYNER @ the Boulder Theater
Tuesday, April 28
doors: 6:30pm, show: 7:30pm
Reserved=$38.00, GA seated=$29.50

An Evening with the DR. LONNIE SMITH TRIO @ the Boulder Theater
Wednesday, April 1
doors: 7:00pm, show: 8:00pm
Reserved=$34.50, GA seated=$29.00 / 21+

An Evening with the BILL FRISELL TRIO @ the Boulder Theater
ft. Rudy Royston & Tony Scherr
Tuesday, April 7
doors: 6:30pm, show: 7:30pm
Reserved=$32.00, GA seated=$25.00 / All Ages

An Evening with the JOHN SCOFIELD'S PIETY STREET BAND @ the Boulder Theater
ft. George Porter Jr., Jon Cleary & Ricky Fataar
Wednesday, April 29
doors: 7:00pm, show: 8:00pm
GA / 21+ / $34.00

Tickets sold separately to each show