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Béla Fleck Unveils Concerto for Banjo and Orchestra with Nashville Symphony

Béla Fleck will present the world premiere of his Concerto for Banjo and Orchestra — one of the first ever written for the instrument — with the Nashville Symphony on September 22-24 at Schermerhorn Symphony Center. To be performed by Fleck on his vintage 1937 mahogany Gibson Mastertone banjo, the Concerto marks a significant new departure for Fleck, who calls the piece "a liberating experience for my efforts as a composer and hopefully for the banjo as well." Commissioned by the Nashville Symphony, Concerto for Banjo and Orchestra will be the centerpiece of the orchestra’s opening concerts in the 2011/12 SunTrust Classical Series.

Given the names Béla (for Bartók), Anton (for Webern) and Leoš (for Janáčék), Fleck seems to have been destined to play classical music. Having launched a prolific and wildly successful career as a genre-melding instrumentalist, first with the New Grass Revival and later with the Flecktones, he made the classical connection with his 2001 solo album Perpetual Motion. Released on Sony Classical, the recording went on to win a pair of GRAMMYs®, including Best Classical Crossover Album. Fleck has won a total of 14 GRAMMYs®, and, with 30 nominations, he has been nominated in more different categories than anyone in GRAMMY® history.

Fleck dedicates his new Concerto to pioneering banjoist Earl Scruggs, who first inspired him to take up the instrument. The composer says that the piece reflects the dual influences of classical music and bluegrass. “You can hear an evolution in my own writing of the piece as it goes on,” he observes, noting that he wanted to “explore the new possibilities of the banjo as a member or the orchestra, while respecting its roots in bluegrass and jazz.”

Concerto for Banjo and Orchestra is perfectly matched at the Nashville Symphony concerts with Aaron Copland’s famous Appalachian Spring, which celebrates the American spirit with music of breathtaking beauty and directness. Concluding the performance is Tchaikovsky’s larger-than-life Fourth Symphony, the Russian composer’s favorite piece, which sweeps the audience with an emotional palette that ranges from melancholy to exuberance. The Thursday, September 22, performance will be webcast live via the Nashville Symphony’s website.

For more information about the concert or to purchase tickets, please call 615.687.6400 or visit NashvilleSymphony.org.
The GRAMMY® Award-winning Nashville Symphony has earned an international reputation for its recordings and innovative programming. With 140 performances annually, the 84-member orchestra offers a broad range of classical, pops and jazz, children’s concerts and community engagement programs. As a national and international ambassador for Tennessee, the Nashville Symphony has received far-reaching acclaim for its 19 recordings on Naxos, making the ensemble one of the most active recording orchestras in the country. These recordings have received a total of 13 GRAMMY® nominations and six GRAMMY® Awards. On May 12, 2012, the Nashville Symphony will perform at Carnegie Hall as part of the Spring for Music festival, which recognizes orchestras for adventuresome, original programming.

AgesandAges & Blitzen Trapper on Tour Now!

Portland 7-piece AgesandAges are heading out for dates with Blitzen Trapper in July 2011 to support their debut album, Alright You Restless, out now on Brooklyn’s Knitting Factory Records. Alright You Restless is a rallying cry to like-minded souls. With a charmingly loose but clever pop sensibility the album is filled with lyrical references to voluntary seclusion, communal living and an existence “under the radar,” all the while extending an invitation to join their fold.

The band’s chief songwriter and founder, Tim Perry, says that forming AgesandAges was an attempt to combat being jaded, aconscious decision to “remove myself from the apathy crowd, which was sucking my soul, and make something with others who were just as unapologetically excited to be there as I was.   I think of it kind oflike propaganda rock.  They will never understand you.  But we understand each other.”

Point your browser to http://www.agesandages.com for updates!

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AgesandAges - 2011 Tour Dates

#  dates with Blitzen Trapper

07.09.11 Portland, OR @ Mississippi Street Fair

07.19.11 Salt Lake City, UT @ Urban Lounge

07.20.11 Denver, CO @ The Bluebird Theater #

07.22.11 Kansas City, MO @ Riot Room #

07.23.11 St. Louis, MO @ Firebird #

07.25.11 Iowa City, IA @ The Blue Moose Taphouse #

07.26.11 Omaha, NE @ Slowdown #

07.28.11 Bozeman, MT @ The Filling Station #

07.29.11 Spokane, WA @ A Club #

07.30.11 Yakima, WA @ Seasons Performance Hall #

07.31.11 Portland, OR @ The Big Float #

08.05.11 Portland, OR @ Pickathon #

09.04.11 Seattle, WA @ Bumbershoot

Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. | Hi-Dive | Denver, CO

Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. took the stage last night at the Hi-Dive in Denver clearly on a mission from God. Wearing their traditional Nascar-style track jumpsuits and big ol mesh trucker caps, the Detroit duo of Josh Epstein and Daniel Zott made their debut in the great city of Denver on a tour supporting the release of their debut album, It’s a Corporate World.

The Heavy Pets: Illumination Tour & FREE Download!

The Heavy Pets 2011 Single "Lantern" is an breezy 6+ minute song featuring haunting pedal steel guitar and sweeping vocals over a delicately woven fabric of harmonies, horns and soft phrasing. A bioluminescent horn arrangement by Michael Kammers seems to push through the earth and sprout to life, intertwining with the boughs of the tune and eventually blossoming into a crescendo of a "violent and beautiful epiphany" as described by guitarist, Jeff Lloyd. In short, it's a trip. A song about a child's firefly lantern - or the light you choose in your own life. "Lantern" is considered by the band as their "piece de resistance" from the California recording session. "We believe this piece to stand on its own - and are incredibly excited to be releasing it in this format as our first ever single." says Lloyd.

The track was recorded with multi-platinum award winning producer Scott Mathews and engineer Tom Luekens alongside a series of acoustic songs during the bands Mill Valley, CA session where they also produced their acclaimed self-titled 2010 release, The Heavy Pets. The 2010 self-titled release has shown considerable success for the Florida based project, and was just named by the Huffington Post as one of the top 10 albums of last year; a well-deserved nod to the band known best for their endless tour schedule.

"The Illumination Tour" takes the band from VT to Florida, with stops in nearly every state along the way. For more information about the tour or the free download, check out the band at www.theheavypets.com (A 102° Artist).

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The Illumination Tour

February 19 - The Crowbar - Tampa, FL

February 23 - Live Wire - Savannah, GA

February 24 - Pour House - Charleston, SC

February 25 - Blind Tiger - Greensboro, NC

February 26 - Pour House - Raleigh, NC

March 2 - Maxwell's - Hoboken, NJ

March 3 - Jillian's - Albany, NY

March 4 - Java Barn - Canton, NY

March 5 - The Turtle Underground @ St. Michaels College - Colchester, VT

March 6 - Nectars - Burlington, VT

March 9 - Brighton Music Hall - Allston, MA

March 10 - Westcott Theater - Syracuse, NY

March 11 - Old City Hall - Oswego, NY

March 12 - The Matterhorn - Stowe, VT

March 17 - The M Room - Philadelphia, PA

March 18 - Brooklyn Bowl - Brooklyn, NY

March 19 - Mojo on Main - Newark, DE

March 22 - Jewish Mother - Norfolk, VA

March 24 - Roxy's - West Palm Beach, FL

March 25 & 26 - Green Parrot - Key West, FL

John Brown's Body & Katchafire @ the Fox

In 2006, John Brown's Body found itself at a crossroads, when the death of bassist Scott Palmer broke the band’s heart. After the tragedy, several longtime members left the group. But, a strange thing happened to the band staring at its own mortality: somehow, JBB emerged transformed and inspired.

A vital, creative energy sprang from the band’s new dynamic and new members. JBB found itself pushing more at the edges of reggae. New songs incorporated slinkier bass lines, denser instrumentation, less predictable rhythms. Beats became funkier, more drum-and-bass inflected.

JBB realized it was at a turning point: keep playing the same style of music, or follow the new sound and see where it leads. It was the same way the band members felt about reggae: how do you break rules and create something unique while still honoring the music that came before?

The answer is that it’s possible (and ultimately necessary) to push forward.  “Future Roots,” which the band began using to describe its sound as far back as its 2005 Pressure Points release, took another step forward. The current evolution builds on a reggae foundation, incorporating elements from different genres. The new songs are timeless and futuristic all at once, anchored and exploring simultaneously.

These explorations are instantly evident on Amplify, which debuted at #1 on Billboard’s Reggae Chart in October 2008, and its remix follow-up EP, Re-Amplify, released in March 2009 also debuting on the Billboard’s Reggae Top 10 Chart.

"Amplify is the sound of a band recreated, retooled and refreshed,” writes Canada’s Exclaim Magazine, and other reviewers agree: “Amplify has a forward thinking, fearless approach to tempos, beats and feel that expands the genre of reggae as a whole.” [Amazon].

While Amplify showed the world the fearless new directions JBB’s music is headed in, Re-Amplify took it even further by putting the band’s songs into the hands of outside remixers for the first time. Working with Gym Class Heroes’ Disashi Lumumba-Kasongo, Juno-Award-nominated producer Dubmatix, dance floor pioneer Tommie Sunshine, Australia’s urban roots powerhouse Blue King Brown and others, the band’s songs were stretched every which way, resulting in an EP that pleased fans and opened the band up to even further possibilities in their musical approach. How open? The band liked Dubmatix’s remix of “The Gold” so much, they switched to playing that version in their live sets.

JBB’s live show has the kind of organic, body-rocking sound that’s only possible with an 8-piece band where air tight drum and bass, a three piece horn section, and “the most gorgeous melodies in all of modern reggae music” [All Music Guide] meet a dubbed-out sound engineer. Where will JBB head next? The near future includes first ever tours of the UK and New Zealand, as well as initial work on the follow up to Amplify. What direction will the music take? Who knows, but whatever it is, it is sure to push boundaries.

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Tickets are on sale at Fox Theatre Box Office. Call (303) 443-3399 for tickets by phone.

Tickets are also available through our website @ www.foxtheatre.com.

$18 adv / $22 dos

Tickets On Sale – Friday January 21st!

Chris Crocco's Fluidic Duo @ ArtsEcho Galleria

The Chris Crocco Fluid Trio + is the second outing by the terrific threesome fronted by the Virginia born-New York based guitarist Christopher Crocco, an imposing sequel to his impressive debut disc The Chris Crocco Fluid Trio.  As on his first album, a bassless trio outing, Crocco is joined by his longtime friend and mentor, saxophonist George Garzone and Cuban expatriate, current McCoy Tyner drummer Francisco Mela, along with the addition of the very capable bassist and frequent collaborator Peter Slavov.  In the years since the release of their first cd the music created by Crocco, Garzone and Mela has since developed into, in the words of Crocco, “this amazing sound and power,” noting that “we all seem to speak the same improvisational language.” Slavov has joined each of them on many occasions in the past, thereby making him the perfect plus to augment the Fluid Trio.

Crocco confesses that the album was recorded without a concept - just the desire to record the best performances of the new music he had composed since the band’s last effort.  “It was time,” he says, “but when I finished it was easy to see the titles, music, and overall vibe was a result of my own personal catharsis.” Much the result of his studies with Garzone, Crocco has come to realize that his musical objective is to find “the truth” within his art and hence he has abandoned many of the stock improvisatory tricks that often lead many artists (guitarists in particular) away from their own true identities. The resulting record is a more honest expression of the real Chris Crocco – a personal statement of his original music that reveals the true artist behind the music.

The opening track “Avenge” finds the full trio + quartet jumping right off to the races, playing an intricate uptempo line with a vengeance, guitar and tenor doubling the rhythmically charged melody in a manner reminiscent of the work of iconoclast pianist Lennie Tristano, while exchanging phrases with Mela’s drums. Each of the group’s member’s virtuosic capabilities are demonstrated with taste and rest.

“Heaven,” featuring the guitar-bass-drum trio of Crocco, Slavov and Mela, is a three tonic modified minor groove piece in the Coltrane tradition. More devilish than heavenly in mood, the tune’s loping tempo is exquisitely executed by Mela, whose assimilation of Elvin Jones’ asymmetrical drum patterns into his own personal polyrhythmic style makes him one of today’s truly original stick men.  Deceptively simple and restrained, the piece which spotlights the solo work of the leader and Slavov evinces a quiet intensity that is one of the hallmarks of the date.

Crocco’s “Silvia” – the sequel to his first album’s “To Silvia (Don’t Say Goodbye)” – is described by the composer as “the end of the novel.”  A feature for the full quartet, the brooding melancholy melody, at times reminiscent of Horace Silver’s “Peace,” showcases the beautiful tone of Garzone’s tenor.

“When It Is When” again features Crocco’s guitar in trio format with Slavov and Mela. A progressive groove that borrows from the standards of the leader’s generation opens with Crocco strumming a repeated lower register melodic line that iterates a matadorial strength and splendor, buoyed by Mela’s splashing cymbal work.  Chris’s solo finds him venturing into an eastern tinged abstract impressionism that hearkens to the relatively unheralded work of guitarists Gabor Szabo and Atilla Zoller.

The moody swinging “Trial of Time” marks the return of the quartet with Garzone and showcases the remarkable middle register work of tenor and guitar, with Chris shining brightly with a full rich tone and a relaxed bluesy feel. Calling the piece “a composition that relies on a pocket swing with a floater melody on the end,” he astutely notes that “time is relative and can be bent.”

“What It Is” is a straight ahead blues by Crocco played with Slavov and Mela on bass and drums. Played at a blistering tempo it demonstrates the leader’s uniquely personal voice, avoiding the clichéd improvisational devices that lead most guitarists’ solos to predictable places. The interaction between Chris and Francisco reveals the intuitively perceptive relationship built upon years of experience that allows for a disciplined freedom that leads the music to new and interesting places.

The minor melody “Spice Mine” is another Coltrane inspired Crocco composition. The dramatic Spanish tinged line opens up into inspired solo statements by the composer and Slavov, with Mela’s AfroCuban styled drumming constantly interacting to shift the contexts within which they are heard.

“Metal” is an entirely free improvised guitar-drums duo completed in just one take. Constructed from Crocco’s opening guitar vamp it features the sound of Mela’s cymbal on top of his snare, which is emphasized in the title. Chris notes that the feeling is “like when we first met.... two people playing as solid as one.”

Crocco’s “My Own Personal Wake” is an introspective piece that begins on a reflective note that recalls “Monk’s Mood.” The painterly composition unfolds over the featherlike canvas of Mela’s brushes, with Slavov’s bassline lending an Americana flavor that can be found in much of guitarist Bill Frissell’s finest work.

The closing “My Peace” is a duo between Crocco and Slavov, a configuration the two have played in frequently around New York.  Hymn like in mood it is an indication of the harmony with life that Chris found in his music.

The Fluid Trio + is an important new statement from Chris Crocco.  With the able assistance of George Garzone, Francisco Mela and Peter Slavov he demonstrates major advances in the development of his own musical voice. One that is personal, flowing and seeking nothing more than the truth.

THE BLACK BUTTERFLIES Tuesday, September 7th 9 PM at NUBLU

While this is just the debut release from The Black Butterflies, a group led by 27-year-old saxophonist Mercedes Figueras, veterans would do well to prick up their ears and take note. The Butterflies deftly blend the Latin rhythms of Figueras' native Argentina with free and post-bop noodling and tantalizing natural-world percussive elements, into full, invigorating music that sprouts, twines and flourishes over the 63-minute span of this entirely satisfying album.

The title track kicks off the record. It is a relaxed, comfortably humid piece that sways from a melodic opening into more forceful strains on the wind of Figueras' sax and swingingly persistent conga thumps. The piece never reaches--nor even strives for--the anthemic quality the title might suggest. Instead, the labor sweats happily, singingly under the sun. Appropriately, the tune--and, thus, the album--takes flight on the crystalline wings of Dan Tepfer's echoing, solo keyboard statement. It's appropriate not only for fashioning a sly musical equivalence to the band's moniker, but by spotlighting in Tepfer one of the group's, well, keys. Tepfer's polished electric tones lace the Latin rhythms and strings them up on a brightly modern line that still never smoothes the crisp, pulsing edges of the traditional beats. As mentioned, it's this facile navigation of divergent musical fields and the ability to rake loose from the passage a lively new hybrid that makes listening to The Black Butterflies so palpably intriguing. Ears laugh at their good fortune.

"Afro Blue," with its inevitable rekindling of saxophonist John Coltrane's spirit, also sparks the ghost of Albert Ayler, the twining sax statements of Figueras and her (even more?) experimental mate, Tony Larokko, rendering the Coltrane vehicle as a mighty, squealing, squawking, melodically impassioned conversation between the lost giants of the avant-garde. The saxophonists pause for a breather midway through, revealing front and center the rolling-thunder percussion the listener's body already knew was there. Tepfer contributes another light yet zinging solo over the drums before backing off to give conga man Bopa "King" Carre, percussionist Fred Berryhill and drummer Kenny Wollesen even more space to break loose and rumble.

The first of Figueras' two original pieces on the album, "Pipi's Blues," follows "Afro Blue" with the type of jumping cadence saxophonist Joe Henderson might have favored with the mid 1960s support of pianists McCoy Tyner or Andrew Hill. Only here Tepfer remains electric, adding the swirling bluesy punch of organist Jimmy Smith, while also not refusing to jut off on Larry Young-like angular departures.

Larokko contributes the next two numbers, "Spiritual Travels" and "Yah-Yah," the first a jolting, percussion-heavy piece full of strong repeated sax figures that again recall the journeys of Ayler. The latter, the album's most experimental piece, evolves from whistles and an array of percussion instruments that erupt into a cacophony of insect and animal noises--nature's nighttime rhythm section--that in turn give way to the African chants that supply the song's title and the singing of Figueras. Her voice is strong yet slightly coarse and splintered like the timbre of her sax, relating in insistent, desperate Spanish the tragic tale of "Los Ojos Azules," a Bolivian song popularized by the late Argentine singer Mercedes Sosa, while accompanied by an increasingly complex and urgent layering of rhythmic human voices and drums. The whole ultimately explodes into a screeching battle of horns--the saxophones' cries themselves sounding almost human at times--that burns out through extended, passionate playing, leaving only the snaps and twangs of nature and the soft, compelling "Yah-yah, Yah-yah" chants of dancers or workers.

Yet, lest it be thought the band has gone irrevocably, unrestrainably tribal, it closes on the infectious Figueras piece, "Music Heals All Wounds," a soulful "Auld Lang Syne" with Caribbean accents. (To belabor the Ayler connection--or to kill it, finally--this most certainly is not "Music Is the Healing Force of the Universe.") Figueras' tune delivers as advertised--a warming salve that demands multiple healing doses on the spot, then lingers, replaying itself for hours in the listener's brain to pleasant, calming effect.

Yes, this is the debut release from a new band whose young leader has issued only one other record under her name, Elefante (2007), a free-improv set from Figueras and drummer Martín Visconti. But make no mistake, 1 de Mayo also happens to be one of the best overall records of 2010.

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THE BLACK BUTTERFLIES

when: Tuesday September 7th
Time: 9 PM
Where: NUBLU (62 Av C New York, NY 10009)
http://www.nublu.net/

Local Natives at the Fox, Tues Sept 28

Local Natives make soaring, sky-scraping harmonies, dreamy orchestral melodies, and throbbing tribal beats that bash their way into your soul. Theirs are songs you can dance to almost as well as you can swoon to them. Drawing a line from the vocal stylings of Crosby Stills Nash & Young and the Zombies through the more esoteric edges of post-punk and Afro-beat, this California five piece have communally crafted a brand of indie rock all their own. The band’s sound has been described as “afropop-influenced guitars with hyperactive drumming and hooky three-part harmonies”.

For Local Natives everything is a collaboration, from song writing duties to the band’s self produced artwork. The three part harmonies come courtesy of keyboardist Kelcey Ayer, guitarists Ryan Hahn and Taylor Rice. Then there’s Matt Frazier on drums and Andy Hamm on bass, who look after the band’s equally impressive graphics and artwork. One of SXSW 2009’s biggest success stories, the band drove for two days to get from Los Angeles to Austin in order to play nine spectacular shows that saw them sprinting, instruments in hand, from one gig to the next. Their hectic schedule paid off as Local Natives left Austin with the attention of the UK music Industry.

Based in the Silver Lake area of Los Angeles, three of the five-piece originally hail from Orange County. Kelcey, Ryan and Taylor attended neighbouring high schools and hooked up with bassist Andy a year after they graduated, later meeting drummer Matt. They’ve been playing – and evolving - together for three years. Last year, however, the band realized that the new songs they were writing were the sounds of a new project entirely. Their debut album as Local Natives, “Gorilla Manor”, was released in the UK on Nov 2nd, 2009, and saw a US release date of Feb. 16th, 2010.I nitial reviews of Local Natives have drawn favourable comparisons to Arcade Fire, Fleet Foxes and Vampire Weekend.

All Ages / GA  / $14.00 adv / $16.00 DOS

Internet 24-7 at www.foxtheater.com

Phone: During box office hours: 303.443.3399

Lubriphonic to Tour SE With The New Mastersounds in April

Lubriphonic has announced it will hop aboard an April tour with The New Mastersounds for their Southeast run, culminating in a House of Blues performance during the peak of the epic New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. In celebration the group has offered a download of over 90 minutes of live recordings for free via its website.

Chicago’s Lubriphonic tight and raw sound is immediately familiar, fusing the roots of soul with explosive in-your-face delivery and sensuous R&B dance music.  The New Mastersounds is an instrumental four-piece British export offering a modern take on vintage soul-jazz, funk and rock delivering gritty grooves and deep rhythms.

Lubriphonic will open for The New Mastersounds on the following dates:

April 17 – Club 828 - Asheville, NC

April 18 - Blue 5 - Roanoke, Virginia

April 20 - Cat's Cradle - Carrboro, NC

April 21 - Pisgah Brewery - Black Mountain, NC

April 22 - Barley's Tap - Knoxville, TN

April 23 - Vanderbilt University - Alumni Lawn - Rites of Spring

April 24 - 412 Market - Chattanooga, TN

April 25 - Visulite Theatre - Charlotte, NC

April 27 - Blazers Tavern - Valdosta, GA

April 28 - Engine Room - Tallahassee, FL

April 29 - Soul Kitchen - Mobile, AL

April 30 - House Of Blues - New Orleans, LA

The Lubriphonic sound is full of precision orchestrations made up of blazing guitar work, unison three piece horn lines, soulful songwriting, bluesy vocals and the habit to cut the funk loose. The best description of the band’s sound comes from Relix Magazine: “Superb, adventurous, diverse, simply mesmerizing instrumental work. Steeped in soul, rock, pop, and blues Lubriphonic's members play with a tenacity and precision that sets them apart from equally proficient bands.”

In addition to the live sampler offering on its website, Lubriphonic is also offering free downloads of recordings of four additional shows to registered members of the website here.

Follow the Train Releases Mercury Today

Louisville, KY natives Follow the Train spent the last year in the studio crafting their shimmering new album Mercury, a lushly detailed collection of music that is packed with ideas and brimming with emotion at every corner.  Produced by Kevin Ratterman (VHS or Beta), the album is available today through Removador Recordings and Solutions, the label run by My Morning Jacket frontman Yim Yames and former My Morning Jacket guitarist Johnny Quaid.

Follow the Train began in 2004 as Dennis Sheridans solo musical project, paying tribute to the shoe-gaze of the late 80s and early 90s.  The project found an audience with the self-released EP, The Great Disturbance, followed by a full-length album called A Breath Of SighSheridan eventually found an ear in his longtime friend Yames, who brought Follow The Train to Removador.

The band moved through a few different ensembles before settling on a six-piece group that came together for the new album. Sheridan is joined by James Hewett (drums), Mike Sabo (guitars), Brandon Jones (percussion), Carlos Ramos (bass) and David Cronin (keyboards).

Mercury has emerged as a nine-song, space-maddening, psychedelic, operatic brain-cookie.  At the center is Dennis Sheridan’s beautifully tattered yet commanding voice, which carves out a trail in the sky and bursts with lyrics that yearn for exploration.