Tag Archives: Music

Getting 2017 off to a good start with the New York Jazzharmonic Trad-Jazz Sextet

New York Jazzharmonic Trad-Jazz Sextet at Union Arts Center, Sparkill, New York, on Jan. 6, 2017. (Photo © 2017. Steven P. Marsh/willyoumissme.com)

New York Jazzharmonic Trad-Jazz Sextet at Union Arts Center, Sparkill, New York, on Jan. 6, 2017. (Photo © 2017. Steven P. Marsh/willyoumissme.com)

In reflecting on my concert-going of 2016 and looking at what’s already on the docket for 2017, I’ve finally come to grips with the fact that I should be keeping  list of the concerts, shows, and other performing arts events I attend.

It’s not that I haven’t thought about this before. I used to dismiss it because I take photos at most shows and keep my tickets stubs, or what pass for stubs. But in the past year or so, more and more venues, at least in the rock world, are opting for total will call operations.

Granted, there’s usually a receipt generated for each faux ticket purchase, but a receipt is a poor substitute for a ticket in the scrapbook — even if, as in my case, it’s a shoebox with scrapbook aspirations.

So my logging begins in earnest in 2017, and kicked off Friday night with Rocklander Ron Wasserman’s New York Jazzharmonic Trad-Jazz Sextet in an uplifting, well-played program of early jazz at the Union Arts Center in Sparkill, New York. It was a marked contrast to my last show of 2016, a Brooklyn New Year’s Eve bash featuring Guided By Voices.

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The ‘Portlandia’ effect: Wild Flag rocks Webster Hall in NYC

Wild Flag at Webster Hall in New York City on April 1, 2012. From left, Rebecca Cole, Mary Timony, Janet Weiss and Carrie Brownstein. (Photos 2012, Steven P. Marsh)

Wild Flag is an all-female supergroup whose members are drawn from three ’90s bands — Sleater-Kinney, Helium and The Minders. But thanks to her incredible stage presence (and her seeming ubiquity as a result of her cult hit cable TV show “Portlandia”)  guitarist Carrie Brownstein (Sleater-Kinney), was the one who really owned the stage at Webster Hall in Manhattan on April Fool’s Day.

Carrie Brownstein, with Janet Weiss on drums.

Brownstein shares lead vocals in Wild Flad with Mary Timony (the Lolita-esque former frontwoman of Helium). But only Brownstein behaved like a rock star onstage. She pranced, jumped and stretched like a cat (not much purring, though, as her vocal delivery was aggressive) throughout the band’s tight, well-paced set. Despite being encumbered by her guitar for most of the evening, Brownstein, with her lithe figure, managed to evoke Mick Jagger with her moves.

That’s not to say that the other three were slacking. Timony, keyboard player Rebecca Cole (The Minders) and drummer Janet Weiss (Sleater-Kinney) each held up their end of the bargain quite well. Continue reading

What if Julie Doiron had become an athlete?

Julie Doiron, with Fred Squire on drums, at Union Hall in Brooklyn on Apri 25, 2009. Photo by SPM, all rights reserved.

Julie Doiron, with Fred Squire on drums, at Union Hall in Brooklyn on Apri 25, 2009. (Photo by SPM, all rights reserved.)

Julie Doiron has a secret athletic past.

The singer-songwriter (and Eric’s Trip member) from New Brunswick, Canada, says she was quite active in sports while growing up. Her mom worked in the local squash club, so Julie became quite good at that game, as you might expect after playing so many sets for free.

All that squash must account for her ability to really bash the drum kit. She proved that by taking a short stint on the skins during her set last night at Union Hall in Brooklyn, while drummer Fred Squire stepped to the mic to take the lead on songs he wrote. (Fred and Julie recently worked with Mount Eerie‘s latest album, Lost Wisdom.)

But she gave squash up for another sport — swimming, Julie says.

And not just ordinary swimming.

“Um, it was synchronized swimming,” she admits, a bit sheepishly. “I even taught it for awhile.

Julie Doiron takes a turn behind the drum kit. (Photo by SPM, all rights reserved.)

Julie Doiron takes a turn behind the drum kit. (Photo by SPM, all rights reserved.)

“It’s a really hard sport. You have to do a lot of weird stuff underwater while holding your breath for a really long time. While smiling!”

Thanks, Julie! I’m glad you didn’t choose sycnro swimming as a career path.

Julie’s set, meanwhile, was great. She rocked out with a super mix of new songs from her rather gentle new album, I Can Wonder What You Did With Your Day, including Tailor (which she says she wrote almost exclusively with barre chords to celebrate her victory over barre-chord fear) and the Liz Phair-ish Consolaton Prize. But she threw in older songs, too, like Seven, for the many hard-core fans in the audience.

Enjoy these shots from the show. Video may come later today.

Dead Poets Society: Jeff Buckley meets William Shakespeare

Jeff Buckley

Jeff Buckley

Jeff Buckley, the tragic rocker who lost his life in the Memphis River almost a dozen years ago (May 29, 1997) is finally getting a turn onstage in a theatrical mashup of his music and William Shakespeare’s story of Romeo and Juliet.

The result is The Last Goodbye, an adaptation by NYC-based director Michael Kimmel. It will get three nights of concert readings at Joe’s Pub in New York City: May 11, 25 and June 1.

The cast comprises 14 young actors, two of whom I know — the fabulous Jo Lampert, who is artistic relations associate at Joe’s Pub, and the fantastic Ariela Morgenstern, a San Francisco native who made her off-Broadway debut last year in the acclaimed production of Adding Machine.

Buckley’s timeless, haunting music should work spectacularly well with Shakespeare’s classic story.

Radio Reich is now online

Check out these new Steve Reich radio interviews, conducted after his Pulitzer Prize win. This was posted today on Steve’s MySpace blog:

Reich on WNYC and NPR

Hi everybody,

Following the announcement of Steve’s 2009 Pulitzer Prize win Monday, Steve did three live radio interviews including a full-length recording of Double Sextet that you may want to check out. He shares his thoughts on Bartok, how Double Sextet almost didn’t happen, and what he thinks of all the bands and composers out there who have been influenced by “the Steve Reich sound.”

All best,

NPR “All Things Considered”

WNYC “Soundcheck”

NPR “Performance Today”

Meet Dawn Upshaw and support young singers

Dawn Upshaw

Dawn Upshaw

Dawn Upshaw is living proof that great sopranos don’t have to be divas. She is the most un-divalike soprano I’ve ever encountered. She seems calm and sweet and there are no press clips or other evidence of bad behavior on her part. And she has one of the sweetest, most supple voices in the business today. (It also doesn’t hurt that she’s adventurous and willing to tackle difficult music, like Gyorgy Kurtag‘s Kafka Fragments and new works, such as Osvaldo Golijov‘s Ainadamar.)

Upshaw’s also been very generous in sharing her vast experience with young singers. She signed on as artistic director of the Graduate Vocal Arts Program at The Bard Conservatory of Music back in 2004, and has been active at the conservators since the graduate program got off the ground in 2006. Next Wednesday, April 29, she’s giving even more of herself by headlining a concert that will raise funds for her program’s scholarship fund. The show starts at 7:30 p.m. at the Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts on the Bard College Campus in Annandale-on-Hudson, N.Y.

For $75, you can hear Upshaw and other sing and meet the artists afterward.  If you just want to hear the music, you can skip the reception and get tickets for as little as $15. For tickets, call (845) 758-7900 or click here.

The Richard B. Fisher Center at Bard College.

The Richard B. Fisher Center at Bard College.

Bard’s bucolic campus is a pleasant day trip from New York City up the Hudson Valley. It’s worth the trip just to check out the Fisher Center. It’s a spectacular gem of a Frank Gehry-designed hall — virtually a miniature version of Gehry’s Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles. And the Sosnoff Theater, the main auditorium where the program is being presented, has no bad seats and grand acoustics.

Here’s what’s on the program, according to a Bard press release:

The program features solo songs performed by Upshaw and an ensemble repertoire including works by Purcell (arranged by Britten), Schumann, Mendelssohn, Foster, and Copland performed by singers of the Graduate Vocal Arts Program, and accompanied by pianists of the Post-Graduate Collaborative Piano Fellowship and faculty of The Bard Conservatory of Music. …

The evening’s program includes songs from Orpheus Britannicus by Henry Purcell and arranged by Benjamin Britten; songs from Spanisches Liederspiel, Op. 74, and Liebhabers Ständchen, Op. 34, no. 2 by Robert Schumann; Herbstlied, Op. 63, no. 4 and Maiglöckchen und die Blümelein, Op. 63, no. 6 by Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy; “Gentle Annie” and “Katy Bell” by Stephen Foster; and “The Promise of Living,” from The Tender Land by Aaron Copland, among others.