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PDX Jazz Fest starts THIS WEEK

15th Feb 11 (Tue) Leave a comment

The Portland Jazz Festival (aka PDX Jazz Fest) kicks off this Friday, February 18th, 2011.  It boasts a great line-up of acts that brings attention to the theme Bridges & Boundaries – Jewish & African-American jazz playing together.  And now, it boasts new Grammy award winner – Esperanza Spalding!  Congrats!

PDX Jazz Fest 2011 – Headliners

  • Friday, February 18, 7:30pm, Winningstad Theater, Randy Weston
  • Saturday, February 19, 7:30pm, Winningstad Theater, Anat Fort
  • Sunday, February 20, 7:30pm, Winningstad Theater, Dave Frishberg
  • Thursday, February 24, 7:30pm, Newmark Theater, Don Byron
  • Friday, February 25, 7:30pm, Newmark Theater, Esperanza Spalding
  • Friday, February 25, 9:30pm, Crystal Ballroom, Poncho Sanchez
  • Friday, February 25, 9:30pm, Alberta Rose Theatre, Nik Bartsch’s Ronin
  • Saturday, February 26, 2:00pm, Crystal Ballroom, The 3 Cohens
  • Saturday, February 26, 7:30pm, Newmark Theater, SFJAZZ Collective
  • Saturday, February 26, 8:00pm, Tony Starlight’s, Gerald Clayton
  • Saturday, February 26, 9:30pm, Crystal Ballroom, Regina Carter
  • Sunday, February 27, 2:00pm, Newmark Theater, Joshua Redman
  • Sunday, February 27, 7:30pm, Crystal Ballroom, Maceo Parker
    FULL SCHEDULE (Feb 18-27)

I’m most excited about Nik Bartsch’s Ronin (above) set on Friday the 25th.  That and other shows still have available tickets.  If you’re in town, head on over to pdxjazz.com for the info.  If you’re out of town, head on over to Alaska Airlines and get your plane ticket along with your festival tickets.  This is not a fest to miss!

~Dan – np: Ozric TentaclesPungent Effulgent 

REVIEW: Erik Friedlander plays John Zorn’s Masada Book Two @ the Shedd (Eugene, OR – 1/8/11)

9th Jan 11 (Sun) 5 comments

FYI… PHOTOS of the SHOW at the BOTTOM

NYC-based cellist Erik Friedlander is a favorite musician of mine.  I have only a handful of his solo works, but he shows up in the subtlest of places… I mean, if I do a quick search for “Friedlander” in my iTunes, I show 32 and a half hours of music (Tzadik Records & DMG are a key component of my monthly music budget).  He has worked with Courtney Love, Dar Williams, the Mountain Goats and many more… but I primarily know his work in the NYC jazz & avant-garde scene: Dave Douglas, Ikue Mori/Death Praxis, Jamie Saft, Yuka Honda, Wadada Leo Smith, Tim Sparks, Ned Rothenberg, and of course… John Zorn.

With John Zorn, Erik has been involved in several Masada incarnations, notably the Masada String Trio (with Greg Cohen & Mark Feldman) and the Bar Kokhba Sextet.  When John Zorn was done writing music for the original acoustic Masada Quartet, he sat down and penned over 300 songs that became the Masada Book Two: Book of Angels.  I’ve talked a lot about Masada Book Two on this blog… it is the most consistently amazing set of music out on Tzadik (John Zorn’s 503(c)3 record label).  MBT is essentially John Zorn’s Masada tunes, covered by those around him.  Some of my favorites are Secret Chiefs 3’s Xaphan, Bar Kokhba Sextet’s Lucifer, and Medeski Martin & Wood’s Zaebos… but quite honestly, all sixteen releases (to date) have been stunning and essential.

Erik was one of the early invites to the Masasa Book Two Club… releasing Volac (volume 8 in 2005).  The John G. Shedd Institute for the Arts in Eugene commissioned Erik Friedlander to come in a perform these Volac songs last night.  I had seen Erik in Portland in 2009 with his photography & music piece – Block Ice & Propane (his music set to his father Lee Friedlander’s photography); so I knew Erik would deliver a wonderful performance.  Set-up in the Shedd Recital Hall, just off the courtyard, Erik went on around 7:40 and entranced us with his playing…

He was playing his carbon-fiber “alien cello.”  I imagine that was his easiest axe to bring for a two-night Seattle & Eugene weekend before heading back home.  Its sound was quite similar to a wooden cello – at least to my untrained ears.  Per Erik, it’s not as ornery or sensitive as a wooden cello.

The Masada songs have a definitive Jewish klezmer feel in points of the melodies.  Erik’s arrangements and playing definitely bring in a chamber music and jazz improviser aspect to the Volac songs.  He played roughly half of the songs bowed, and the rest either plucked or strummed.  Switching between the styles for each song for the most part – as is one of John Zorn’s “rules” which Erik joked about.  Hush, don’t tell John, but Erik acknowledged that he broke a few “rules” during the night.

Setlist: about 70 minutes

  • Harhazial
  • Yeruel
  • Ylrng
  • Haseha
  • Sannul
  • Rachsiel
  • Kadal
  • Anahel (the 1st written by Zorn for MBT)
  • Zumiel
  • Ahaniel
  • Zawar
  • Encore: Sidriel

Essentially the entire Volac album, just in a different order. Erik doesn’t make it out to the Pacific Northwest as much as I’d like, but when he does make it out, I’m going.  If you love cello or other chamber music – you should go, too!  Nary a disappointment. Oh, also check out his free podcast First Light which features a weekly early morning improvisation.

more photos below

The Appropriate Linkage:

Next show for me… Reptet (jazz combo from Seattle) at Luckey’s in Eugene, Friday, January 14th!

~Dan – np: Nine Inch NailsGhosts I-IV

ERIK FRIEDLANDER PHOTOS
all pictures (cc) 2011 Daniel Temmesfeld,
you may use freely under a creative commons attribution

(click for larger)

PDX Jazz 2011 schedule

14th Oct 10 (Thu) Leave a comment

About 3 weeks ago, the Portland Jazz Fest (aka PDX Jazz Fest) announced their 2011 line-up and theme (Bridges & Boundaries – Jewish & African-American jazz playing together), well, last night, they announced the actual schedule for the main line-up.  Many more side shows will fill-in, but here’s the schedule for the main shows:

  • Friday, February 18, 7:30pm, Winningstad Theater, Randy Weston
  • Saturday, February 19, 7:30pm, Winningstad Theater, Anat Fort
  • Sunday, February 20, 7:30pm, Winningstad Theater, Dave Frishberg
  • Thursday, February 24, 7:30pm, Newmark Theater, Don Byron
  • Friday, February 25, 7:30pm, Newmark Theater, Esperanza Spalding
  • Friday, February 25, 9:30pm, Crystal Ballroom, Poncho Sanchez
  • Friday, February 25, 9:30pm, Alberta Rose Theatre, Nik Bartsch’s Ronin
  • Saturday, February 26, 2:00pm, Crystal Ballroom, The 3 Cohens
  • Saturday, February 26, 7:30pm, Newmark Theater, SFJAZZ Collective
  • Saturday, February 26, 8:00pm, Tony Starlight’s, Gerald Clayton
  • Saturday, February 26, 9:30pm, Crystal Ballroom, Regina Carter
  • Sunday, February 27, 2:00pm, Newmark Theater, Joshua Redman
  • Sunday, February 27, 7:30pm, Crystal Ballroom, Maceo Parker

Nik Bartsch’s Ronin & SF Jazz Collective (featuring a Stevie Wonder catalogue) are my top two picks for the festival.  Tickets for PDX Jazz Members went on-sale yesterday (10/13/2010).  General public on-sale date is Saturday, October 23rdConsider joining and supporting this great jazz festival!

~Dan – np: Jacob Fred Jazz OdysseyStay Gold

PDX Jazz 2011 Theme

23rd Sep 10 (Thu) 3 comments

Portland Jazz Festival (aka PDX Jazz) has announced their 2011 theme:

BRIDGES AND BOUNDARIES:
JEWISH & AFRICAN AMERICANS PLAYING JAZZ TOGETHER

FESTIVAL HEADLINERS INCLUDE: ESPERANZA SPALDING, SFJAZZ COLLECTIVE featuring STEVIE WONDER’s catalog, REGINA CARTER, AND JOSHUA REDMAN

February 18 through 27

Past, present and future collaboration between African Americans and Jewish Americans is the message behind Bridges and Boundaries: Jewish & African Americans Playing Jazz Together, the theme of the 2011 Alaska Airlines/Horizon Air Portland Jazz Festival presented by US Bank. The festival, which annually selects a compelling musical and programming theme, will be held Friday, February 18 through Sunday, February 27 at venues throughout Portland. The complete festival lineup will be announced on October 13 when single show and special package tickets go on sale exclusively to PDX Jazz members. Tickets will become available to the general public on October 23.

A select few of this year’s culturally diverse headliners include Avishai Cohen, the Israeli trumpeter, one of the leading players in the new all-star SFJAZZ Collective, performing the work of African American pop icon Stevie Wonder. Cohen will also be joined by his siblings Anat Cohen and Yuval Cohen for a special performance of The 3 Cohens. Famed African American violinist Regina Carter will return to Portland, presenting her newest project, Reverse Threads, which traces the musical history of African cultures, including tribes of Ugandan Jews. And, Joshua Redman, son of African American saxophonist Dewey Redman and Jewish American dancer Renee Shedroff, leading his new James Farm Quartet that includes both African American and Jewish American musicians.

African and Jewish American community leaders, Portland Jazz Festival’s new Artistic & Community Ambassador Esperanza Spalding (who will lead her new Chamber Music Society in an exclusive Portland area engagement), and many other artists will participate and interact in panel discussions and “Jazz Conversations” focusing on artistic and social perspectives. National jazz journalists, writers, and critics-including Nat Hentoff-will also participate in these events.

For a complete schedule of events, please visit:

www.pdxjazz.com

I’m excited about the SF Jazz Collective and their 2011 Stevie Wonder theme (though it won’t have Dave Douglas and Joe Lovano this year), but I’m mainly excited about Nik Bärtsch’s Ronin.  Holy cow, they’re good.

~Dan – np: Andy McKeeOne World

REVIEW: Antibalas @ Berbati’s Pan (Portland, OR – 7/19/10)

20th Jul 10 (Tue) 3 comments

FYI… PHOTOS of the SHOW at the BOTTOM

Originating from Brooklyn, ANTIBALAS (aka Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra) is: AMAYO (Vocals & Percussion), VICTOR AXELROD (Organ/Clavinet), ERIC BIONDO (Trumpet), STUART BOGIE (Tenor Sax), MARCUS FARRAR (Shekere), MARCOS GARCIA (Guitar), AARON JOHNSON (Trombone), JORDAN MCLEAN (Trumpet), NICK MOVSHON (Bass), LUKE O’MALLEY (Guitar), MARTIN PERNA (Baritone Sax, founder) and CHRIS VATALARO (Drums).

They are sooooo fun in concert, words don’t do them justice.  I saw them back in 2007 in the Cincinnati area, and haven’t had a chance since now to see them again.  I’ve been Jonesin’ for an Antibalas fix.

They’ve been busy the last couple years with the multiple-Tony Award winning FELA! Broadway musical (a tribute to afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti).  This July, Antibalas is doing a mini-tour in pre-support for their upcoming album on Anti-Records (untitled as of now).  The Sway Machinery opened the Portland show…

They were a nice horn-infused Jewish five piece rock band.  Their MySpace billed them as “Other / Blues / Afrobeat.”  Outside of the horns, I didn’t really hear the afrobeat.  Definitely Judaic and bluesy –  I dug their sound.  The mix last night was a bit bass heavy, and the vocals got drowned out, but I liked their vibe overall.  Their line-up is fairly power-packed… guitarist Jeremiah Lockwood of Balkan Beat Box, drummer Brian Chase of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, bass saxophonist Colin Stetson of Arcade Fire and Tom Waits‘ band, and the trumpet and tenor sax horn section of the band Antibalas, Jordan McLean and Stuart Bogie.  They’ve got an album, Hidden Melodies Revealed, out on JDub Records (same record label as Balkan Beat Box, SoCalled, etc).

Antibalas went on a little after 10:15 and hit the ground running with their percussive, groove-laden, horn-drenched bombast.  Lead vocalist Amayo came out at the second song and started off on percussion before moving over to lead vocals…

The sound in the club got a little more balanced for Antibalas, whose 12 band members were tightly jamming away.  Great mix of horn-heavy tunes, percussion heavy tunes.  The packed house danced away to the fun beats.  I’m horrible with their song names, and they didn’t play as many lyrical songs; so no luck on a setlist this time around.  If anyone has a setlist, pass it along, please.

Antibalas jammed away for a fairly dancey, long set without showing signs of letting up.  A fantastic night!  I’m hoping they hit the PacNW again when they come back through to support their upcoming untitled record.  Portland, Eugene, anywhere really. :)

more photos below

The Appropriate Linkage:

Check out more tour dates below.

~Dan – np: Jon Madof’s RashanimMasada Rock 

ANTIBALAS & THE SWAY MACHINERY PHOTOS
all pictures (cc) 2010 Daniel Temmesfeld,
you may use freely under a creative commons attribution

(click for larger)

Antibalas July 2010 Tour Dates

  • 07.14.10 – San Diego, CA – Casbah
  • 07.15.10 – Los Angeles, CA – The Echoplex
  • 07.16.10 – San Francisco, CA – Great American Music Hall
  • 07.17.10 – Garberville, CA – Reggae on the River
  • 07.19.10 – Portland, OR – Berbati’s Pan
  • 07.20.10 – Seattle, WA – Neumos
  • 07.22.10 – New York, NY – River to River Festival, Castle Clinton
  • 07.29.10 – Philadelphia, PA – Kimmel Center, Perelman Theater

Yoshie Fruchter of Pitom on Klezmer podcast

30th Apr 10 (Fri) Leave a comment

The latest Klezmer Podcast features an interview and tune from Yoshie Fruchter, front man for Judaic rock band PitomThe Pitom debut (2008) is one of my favorites from Tzadik‘s Radical Jewish Culture series… one of the rare rock bands in the John Zorn Jewish musical revolution…

Listen to the podcast HERE, or subscribe to the podcast in iTunes (free).

Check out Yoshie Fruchter‘s Pitom:

Find the Klezmer Podcast on the web, MySpace, Twitter, and Facebook.

~Dan – np: Michael KelseyGruvency

Radical Jewish Culture in Paris

18th Mar 10 (Thu) Leave a comment

If you’re going to be in Paris, France, between the 9th of April and the 18th of July, 2010, check out this Radical Jewish Culture exhibit at the Museum of Jewish History.  It features John Zorn, Ben Goldberg, Marc Ribot, David Krakauer, Frank London, Anthony Coleman, Mark Feldman, Sylvie Courvoisier, and more.

Info about the exhibit (in French) is below…

~Dan – np: CopelandYou Are My Sunshine

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

More info at http://www.mahj.org/

Le MAHJ présente la première exposition consacrée à la Radical Jewish Culture, mouvance musicale issue de la scène underground newyorkaise des années 1980 et 1990.

En parallèle à l’exposition est organisé un programme de concerts exceptionnel : John Zorn, Anthony Coleman, Mark Feldman et Sylvie Courvoisier, David Krakauer, Frank London, le Ben Goldberg Trio (ex-New Klezmer Trio)… Les plus grands noms de cette scène. joueront dans des dispositifs pour la plupart inédits en Europe.

En 1992 se tient à Munich un événement au titre manifeste : Festival for Radical New Jewish Music. Le programme du festival est imaginé par le compositeur et saxophoniste new-yorkais John Zorn, qui s’entoure pour l’occasion de figures majeures de l’underground new-yorkais : Lou Reed, John Lurie, Tim Berne, mais aussi Marc Ribot, Frank London, David Krakauer, Roy Nathanson, Elliott Sharp ou encore Shelley Hirsch. John Zorn choisit d’y présenter une pièce intitulée Kristallnacht en remémoration de la Nuit de Cristal du 9 novembre 1938 : une pièce puissante qui transgresse les normes d’écoute, en mêlant improvisations free-jazz et klezmer, discours d’Hitler et bruits de bris de vitres.

L’événement fait date : des musiciens juifs américains jouent en Allemagne et tentent, pour la première fois, de retracer la genèse des musiques de la scène underground newyorkaise à travers des sources juives. Dans le sillage de ce moment fondateur, des tournées sont organisées en Europe, tandis que des clubs de Manhattan, telle la Knitting Factory, accueillent des festivals de Radical Jewish Music associant performances, lectures et débats, et soulevant des questions essentielles à leurs yeux : qu’est-ce que la musique juive d’aujourd’hui ? que dit la musique que l’on joue de nos origines et de notre expérience de vie ?

Dès les années 1970 et 1980, des musiciens juifs new-yorkais, très présents sur les scènes alternatives du rock, du punk, de l’avant-garde jazz et de la musique contemporaine, (re)découvrent le répertoire des musiques juives populaires, notamment celui des musiques juives d’Europe orientale, le klezmer. Ces acteurs clés de l’avant-garde musicale et de la world music y puisent – non sans un certain degré de contestation – un nouvel engagement artistique qui souligne la force du lien qui les rattache à leur culture juive, vécue comme source d’inspiration et de questionnements constants.

New York est leur foyer de création, en particulier le sud de Manhattan. Les quartiers longtemps populaires de l’East Village et du Lower East Side ont accueilli, au début du XXe siècle, les populations juives immigrées d’Europe de l’Est. Dans les années 1950, ils deviennent le refuge des avant-gardes esthétiques, depuis la Beat Generation ( Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg ,William Burroughs) jusqu’à John Cage et Andy Warhol. Espace de contestation intellectuelle, esthétique et politique, ce New York radical a longtemps gardé les traces de la culture yiddish, qui y a connu une véritable renaissance. Cette atmosphère culturelle très spécifique imprègne encore fortement les lieux, lorsque les musiciens de ce qui deviendra la Radical Jewish Culture s’affirment artistiquement, au cours des années 1980.

Dans le prolongement de cet héritage, John Zorn crée en 1995 la collection « Radical Jewish Culture » (plus de 120 titres parus à l’heure actuelle) sous le label Tzadik, devenu depuis une référence incontournable des musiques alternatives. Les albums édités dans cette collection s’inscrivent comme autant de réponses aux questions qui s’imposent aux musiciens confrontés à la tradition protéiforme dont ils sont issus.

Le parcours de l’exposition est thématique ; à travers une approche essentiellement sonore et visuelle, il revient sur les temps forts de la création musicale, depuis la scène du Klezmer Revival jusqu’aux explosions sonores du groupe phare de John Zorn, Masada, en passant par le festival de Munich de 1992.
À partir de l’écoute se déploie le contexte historique, musical et artistique dans lequel la musique a été créée. Il met en lumière le réseau d’influences des musiciens, parmi lesquelles : la Beat Generation, présentée notamment à travers la démarche de deux icônes de ce mouvement, le plasticien Wallace Berman et le poète Allen Ginsberg ; les artistes juifs révolutionnaires du début du XXe siècle, comme El Lissitzky ; ou encore la scène du rock alternatif des années 1970. Grâce à l’implication des acteurs clés de cette scène, de nombreux documents d’archives (interviews, prises de concerts et textes largement inédits) ont pu être rassemblés.

Comme le dit John Zorn, la Radical Jewish Culture est tout à la fois une mouvance musicale, un mouvement aux résonances politiques diverses affirmées et assumées, une communauté de musiciens et, plus largement, une communauté esthétique.

Commissariat de l’exposition : Mathias Dreyfuss, Gabriel Siancas et Raphaël Sigal

Avec le soutien exceptionnel du label Tzadik
Avec le soutien de l’Ambassade des États-Unis d’Amérique en France

Tzadik Ambassade des États-Unis d'Amérique en France
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