The Pine Leaf Boys, a remarkable band from southern Louisiana, play traditional Cajun and Creole music with new, unique arrangements.
The band features some of the finest players in the Cajun music scene. Accordion and fiddle player Wilson Savoy is the son of legends Marc and Ann Savoy, while master fiddler and superb singer Courtney Granger comes from the Balfa family lineage.
Bassist Thomas David was born and raised in Lafayette. He started playing drums professionally at age 8 alongside his father, Ken David, bassist with Jambalaya Cajun Band.
American band Orkesta Mendoza will be touring the UK in the next weeks. The band is led by multi-faceted artist Sergio Mendoza, who is also a member and co-producer of acclaimed Southwestern music band Calexico, and an arranger and founding member of Mexrrissey.
Orkesta Mendoza plays borderless music that includes the entire Americas (North, Central, South), embracing mambo and cumbia with same interest as psychedelic pop, twang rock and analog electronics.
The band will present its new album ‘¡Vamos A Guarachar!’ (Glitterbeat Records), released at the end of 2016.
UK Tour (La Linea):
Friday, 21 April – Rich Mix, London
Saturday, 22 April – Belgrave Music Hall, Leeds
Sunday, 23 April – Band On The Wall, Manchester
Monday, 24 April – Sage Two, Gateshead
Tuesday, 25 April – Komedia, Brighton
Wednesday, 26 April – Cambridge Corn Exchange, Cambridge
UK Festival Performances:
Friday, 28 July – WOMAD Charlton Park, Wiltshire
Saturday, 29 July – Camp Bestival, Lulworth Castle, Dorset
Guitar maestro Steve Khan continues his remarkable series of Latin jazz explorations with Backlog. Khan skillfully combines soloing with rhythm guitar techniques as well as subtle slide effects. He’s supported by an outstanding rhythm section featuring three percussionists and a bass player.
The rich, irresistible percussion section adds an undeniable Afro-Cuban flavor to the music, even when Khan performs jazz standards by Thelonious Monk and Ornette Coleman, a tribute to the late Bobby Hutcherson, or even Stevie Wonder’s hit song “Go Home.”
There is no smooth jazz here. Steve Khan delivers real contemporary jazz infused with beats from the Spanish-speaking region of the Caribbean.
The lineup on Backlog includes Steve Khan on guitar, Rubén Rodríguez on baby bass and electric bass; Bobby Allende on conga and bongo; Marc Quiñones on timbales, bongo and percussion; Mark Walker on drums.
Guest featured Rob Mounsey on keyboards and orchestrations; Randy Brecker on trumpet; Mike Mainieri on vibraphones vibraphone; Bob Mintzer on tenor saxophone; and Tatiana Parra on vocals.
On Backlog – Asuntos Pendientes Steve Khan delivers a set of masterful performances opening new pathways for the electric guitar in the context of Latin jazz.
Global electronica artist Nick DeSimone, better known as Nickodemus, developed his skill as resident DJ for Giant Step-produced events in New York City from 1995 – 1999. Nickodemus provided support DJ sets for live concerts from Gil Scott Heron, Jazzmattazz, The Pharcyde, Mos Def & Kweli, KRS-One, Us 3, Thievery Corporation, Groove Collective, Pucho & the Latin Soul Brothers, Angelique Kidjo and Femi Kuti.
In 1998, Nickodemus became resident DJ and producer for Turntables on the Hudson (TOTH) – one of the first late night outdoor events in New York City. The party was known for its eclectic musical blend of funk, house, hip hop and soul played along with Latin, Afrobeat and Eastern European gypsy sounds.
The Turntables on the Hudson parties took place every Friday at the Water Taxi Beach in Long Island City, Queens overlooking Manhattan and the East River.
Nickodemus’ style is known for adding something a bit more musical and spiritual to the mix, incorporating real culture and social themes.
In 2009 he released Sun People, on Thievery Corporation’s label, ESL Music. Sun People was made with songs made for people who love the sun, sunshine and brighter days to come. Songs were inspired by various people Nickodemus met and places he visited, along with his collective feelings of optimism. “Sun People makes the best of every situation. When that sun peaks out in the sky, it’s another day to feel and do something positive,” says Nickodemus.
Sun People mixes positive sonic vibrations from various parts of the world, with collaborators from various countries, including Guinea, Colombia, Puerto Rico, Brazil, Romania, India, Turkey, United Kingdom and the United States.
On July 11, 2017, the Branford Marsalis Quartet with Kurt Elling will be appearing at Opera Krakowska [the Krakow Opera].
Branford Marsalis has already appeared many times at the Summer Festival in Krakow. The program announced this week by the Cracovia Music Agency combines the famous saxophonist’s quartet with one of the best jazz vocalists on the global music scene today: Kurt Elling. In Krakow, we’re preparing ourselves for revelations, along with top-shelf entertainment.
The Branford Marsalis Quartet consists of experienced musicians with strong personalities, all of whom enjoy undisputed status on the jazz scene, with each adding a distinctive color to the music. Joey Calderazzo, Eric Revis, and Justin Faulkner will grace the Krakow Opera stage.
The appearance of these musicians with Kurt Elling will surely be based on experience drawn from their collaborative disc Upward Spiral, released by Okeh Records in June 2016. Accordingly, we can anticipate full concord on the stage, inspiring musical dialogs, and beautiful free improvisation. On stage, Kurt Elling is not simply one additional voice, but a new space for sounds and phrases which will expand our thinking about and experience of jazz.
On his website, Branford Marsalis reveals his concept of jazz, also expressed on Upward Spiral, writing: “My philosophy of jazz is that it should be about strong melodies and a great beat, and every song here has a melody that you can hold in your mind, that you can sing. This is not jazz as a personal think tank, where people are only concerned with impressing everyone already inside of the tank with deconstruction and reharmonization. This is the kind of music that should expand our base to include people who would like jazz if it were friendlier.”
The concert will take place as part of the 22nd Summer Jazz Festival at Piwnica pod Baranami [Cellar under the Rams]. The Festival was organized for the first time in 1996, and thus is already more than twenty years old. Since 2000, the Festival has been held outdoors so as to reach many more jazz lovers. We invite you to New Orleans Sunday and Noc Jazzu [Night of Jazz], both outdoor events.
The Summer Jazz Festival in Krakow will host the cream of Polish popular music as well as many stars from abroad (including Pat Metheny, Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, Bobby McFerrin, Jean-Luc Ponty, Branford Marsalis, Joe Lovano, Maria Schneider, Richard Bona, Candy Dulfer, Greg Osby, and Nigel Kennedy).
Born in Issaquena County, Mississippi as McKinley Morganfield in 1913,Artist Profiles: Muddy Waters was deeply rooted in the Mississippi Delta blues. He got his nickname as a result of a childhood predilection for ‘playing in the muddy waters.’
He started playing harmonica at nine, but later switched over to the guitar. The teenaged, tractor driver Muddy Waters spent his free time absorbing the music scene of Clarksdale, Mississippi. There, he learned from two of Mississippi’s iconic bluesmen, Son House and Robert Johnson.
Muddy soon joined up with Silas Green and his traveling show, before plying his guitar in St. Louis and finally returning home. It was back in Mississippi that Muddy met with John and Alan Lomax, where he performed songs for the pair and their folk recordings for the Library of Congress recordings.
Muddy made two extraordinary decisions at that point; he joined many making the great migration north to Chicago in search for factory work and he plugged his guitar. Muddy plugged his guitar into an amplifier to be heard over the clattering masses of the Chicago club scene and it’s that sound that changed blues music forever.
Electrified blues soon spread to the streets of Chicago and Muddy found club work and started recording for Columbia and Aristocrat (later to become Chess Records).
Muddy Waters inspired numerous blues and rock musicians, including Chuck Berry, Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Jeff Beck, Johnny Winter, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Robert Cray, Peter Green, and the Rolling Stones.
Celebrated bluegrass bassist Missy Raines was born April 6, 1962 in Short Gap, West Virginia. She’s had a pioneering, courageous musical career as one of the leading female bass players.
Missy Rained got started with an unanticipated surprise from her father. “My father had been playing a washtub that he’d made himself and then decided impulsively (without consulting my mother) to buy a bass. I was already playing the piano and guitar by then, but when you’re ten or eleven years old and there is a new instrument in the house…well, I couldn’t stay away from it. That’s the bass I still have and play today.”
As a young girl, Raines attended summer music festivals and home picking parties in the winter with her parents. As Raines’ skill improved, she found herself jamming with and then learning from bigger and better players, particularly International Bluegrass Music Hall of Honor member Tom Gray (The Country Gentlemen, The Seldom Scene) “I met him through mutual friends when I was 12 and it was one of the biggest deals of my life up to that point,” she recalls. “Tom is an amazing person and he took me under his wing. He says though that I never asked him to show me how to do anything; that I would just talk about how he played. I thought I was picking his brain.”
Raines names her earliest influences as Bill Monroe, The Country Gentleman, The Stanley Brothers, The Bluegrass Alliance, and David Grisman. She later played jazz before discovering the music of Joe Jackson in the early 1980s. “I’d never gotten into the rock, pop scene at all – I’d been affected by it peripherally but not directly. And then I got totally caught up in his music and his writing and a whole new world was suddenly opened up for me.”
Professionally, Raines has participated in a wide-range of projects. She propelled her career with experimental bluegrass ensemble Cloud Valley and toured with Eddie and Martha Adcock before joining up with The Masters (Adcock, Kenny Baker, Josh Graves and Jesse McReynolds).
Raines toured and recorded with Claire Lynch’s Front Porch String Band from 1995-2000 and again from 2005-2008, while creating a successful duo with band mate Jim Hurst. A gig with the Brother Boys opened Raines’ eyes to the value of musical spontaneity.
“If you allow it” says Missy Raines, “music can take people and let them be seen from the inside out. It’s a way of letting people see who you are without having to sit there and talk about yourself. For instance, the title tune contains the sort of changes that life often forces upon you, expressed musically. When I was writing the tune, I was thinking, ‘this all makes really musical sense except this one half-step change here.’ That’s what throws you off. For me that’s what I’ve been through. Just when you think you know what’s going to happen, something comes up and surprises you.”
Inside Out by Missy Raines and The New Hip, released in 2009, is the product of Missy Raines 20-year long aspiration. The album, she emphasizes, is a true collaboration between her and her delicately constructed band, The New Hip: Ethan Ballinger, (mandolin/mandola), Michael Witcher (resonator guitar/lap steel/vocals), and Dillon Hodges (guitar/vocals). “I’ve wanted this for a very, very long time. This band and this sound has existed, at least in my head, for almost two decades – it was just a matter of finding musicians that could read my mind.”
Multi-instrumentalist Matt Flinner was born March 14, 1969 in Pueblo, Colorado. He started out as a banjo prodigy who performed at bluegrass festivals before he entered his teens. Flinner later learned mandolin, won the banjo contest at Winfield, Kansas, in 1990, and received the mandolin award there the following year.
Flinner’s decision to focus on eight-stringed instruments, especially the mandolin, was fundamentaly a result of opportunity. He explains, “I was getting more work on the mandolin.” Sugarbeat, an eclectic quartet that also featured banjoist Tony Furtado, lead vocalist and guitarist Ben Demerath, and bassist Sally Truitt allowed him the opportunity to master the mandolin in a contemporary folk and bluegrass context.
Flinner is now generally considered one of the finest mandolin players on the American acoustic music scene. He tours regularly with the Matt Flinner Trio, as a member of the ‘new acoustic’ trio Phillips, Grier & Flinner, as a member of Darrell Scott’s band, and with guitarist Frank Vignola (David Grisman Quintet). Flinner also special guests on banjo with Leftover Salmon and in the fall of 2008 was a featured soloist with Trey Anastasio and Carlo Aonzo during Orchestra Nashville’s performance of “Concertino” (Don Hart). He also appeared on comedian Steve Martin’s recording The Crow and the Vignola Collectives’ March 2009 release, Gypsy Grass.
This new release from New Mexico, the self-professed “land of enchantment”, is sure to get you dancing. Acoustic trio, Lone Piñon’s second album, (literally translated Happy Days), is a fiesta of music that pays homage to the borderland’s cultural roots. The band members hail from different geographic, cultural, and musical backgrounds but have come together since 2012 to revive the New Mexican Chicano string band style. According to the band’s bio, they “bring a devoted and explosive musicianship to Northern New Mexican… and Mexican music”.
It’s a challenge not to clap, tap, or sway along with these rhythms. Catchy melodies abound, the vocal harmonies sung in Spanish, English, and Nahuatl. The instruments also sing: violin, accordion, guitar, guitarrón, and upright bass. Multiple themes recur and duel. Some are upbeat and some are dark and mesmerising. Some songs sound like soundtracks, some a wedding jig, some a square dance.
The opening instrumental track, “El Borrachito”, is a celebratory introduction and heralds the party to follow. Another fifteen tracks of dance music and crooning ballads demonstrate Lone Piñon’s complex repertoire.
Standout tracks are: “Estas Lindas Flores”, a duet of vocals and accordion in a jolly hoedown; “El Querreque”, a toe-tapper in huapango style; and “La Llorona”, alternating brisk fiddle and doleful lament that tells a clear narrative with or without lyrics.
Listening to this album highlights the pleasure to be derived from cross-cultural relationships. These Días Felices are uplifting.
Amelia Romano – New Perspectives (indie release, 2017)
American harpist Amelia Romano plays a mix of instrumentals and songs on New Perspectives, scheduled for release later this month. I was drawn to her instrumentals, which is where she shows her talent as a harp player and composer.
Romano’s music combines blues, jazz, classical and Latin American music elements like joropo from Venezuela, Argentine tango and Mexican-style bolero. She likes to explore unpredictable rhythms from Latin America, a region with a remarkable harp tradition, although she breaks stereotypes by playing what is normally a man’s instrument.
Amelia Romano enjoys using her beautiful cobalt blue harp to extract new sounds, textures and also as an attractive visual element.
With New Perspectives, Amelia Romano shows great potential as a genre-defying composer and arranger.