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Album Reviews: Jody Redhage & Fire in July – Ancient Star | Nadia Sirota – First Things First (New Amsterdam)


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  1. MP3: Jody Redhage & Fire in July – This November
  2. MP3: Jody Redhage & Fire in July – The Botticellian Trees

Ancient Star is the debut album for cellist, composer and vocalist Jody Redhage and her chock full of brass and percussion ensemble: Fire in July. If you’d like to try before you buy, Fire in July plays An Die Musik on Thursday, November 19 at 8pm (more info and tickets). In the meantime, here’s my take on this jazz-fueled riot of mod poet motets:

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Live Review / Preview: An Die Musik presents 3-Part Haydn/Mendelssohn Fest (2009.07.09)

Philadelphia Camerata Orchestra‘s goodwill tour hit B-more with its first concert in a three-part series honoring two bicentennials: the death of Haydn and the birth of Mendelssohn.  An Die Musik offers two more nights of music at 8 pm on July 16 and July 20. Cellist Steven Framil is the star of the series, hands down.  This is not the first time I’ve heard him, and it won’t be the last.  Both times the audience has been so thin that it’s a sin.  Come for Steve alone, and you’ll not be disappointed to get his friends in the Camerata.

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What, No Bamboo Chimes in Beethoven? – An Die Musik

Prolific recitalist, Soheil Nasseri, vowed to perform all Beethoven’s works for piano by 2020. He’s already 28-out-of-32 on the piano sonatas, but, on Thursday, we were treated to “trifles”: Beethoven’s Seven Bagatelles. And he began with Schumann. But then Nasseri warned: “If you have hearing aids, turn them off now.”

Hear that in a concert, and you’re almost guaranteed to be treated to some “sneak preview” premiere. Two works by composer Samir Odeh-Tamimi. Don’t know him? Me neither. He’s a Palestinian Israeli composer calling Berlin’s Avant-Garde home. Accordingly, Nasseri apologized as he sat down: “I hope that not too many of you leave.”

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Russia Seizes the Stage @ An Die Musik

The duo of pianist Irina Nuzova and cellist Wendy Warner packed every available seat this Saturday. While late arrivals missed out on the CityPaper’s Best-rated chairs, no one sighed from discomfort. These ladies first whipped out an eloquent Myaskovski Sonata in A minor – offering daring bliss to rapt listeners.

Warner is a Rostropovich competition winner who debuted under the baton of the maestro himself, so the Myaskovski – dedicated to Rostropovich – was the apt choice. The first movement opened the soul, ending with the cello’s notes sounding alone.

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Peter Minkler (viola) & Lura Johnson (piano) @ An Die Musik

Seems this month is just chock full of new contributors. Welcome Sam Buker, a new A.S. member with a taste for good classical and jazz.

A rare treat in the summer: classical chamber taking a brave stance. Try a sonata (1979) by American George Rochberg, a serialist composer who turned back to tonality after the death of his son. Great deep force from the piano — enough to slam the front seats back a foot. Fantastic thrusts from violist Peter Minkler. But he and Lura Johnson were just warming up for the Shostakovich. Read the rest…

Carl Grubbs with Lafayette Gilchrist: Exploring the Jazz Traditions

Supported by a grant from the Maryland State Arts Council, Carl Grubbs (saxophones, far left) and Lafayette Gilchrist (piano, left) explore oral tradition in jazz, live at An Die Musik.

Carl Grubbs comes from the John Coltrane school of bebop saxophone. By that I mean that he literally studied under Coltrane. They were so close, in fact, that Coltrane later married Grubbs’ cousin, Naima, who would later be immortalized on Giant Steps. You can hear Coltrane’s influence in Grubb’s composition and playing; he makes frequent use of the Coltrane matrix of descending major thirds and uses sheets of sound techniques for texture. On this date, Carl led the duo with his angry sounding sax while Lafayette was more reserved on keys.

At 8:20 pm, they opened things up with a blues to get the juices flowing. Grubbs’ alto sound is reedy and very aggressive at times, but can also be dynamic in the style of Stan Getz. After several choruses, Grubbs handed the tune over to Gilchrist for solo piano. My first impressions of Gilchrist’s playing are that he is a very precise player with a style all his own. Some of his pet licks are beginning to develop into a very signature style.

Next the trio played Body and Soul, as arranged by John Coltrane and Joy Spring with the addition of min IV, maj III progression (the theme of the night). It was at this point when sweat was beginning to form on Carl Grubb’s brow that I began to get more of a feel for Lafayette’s style. Taking the second solo and having some harmonic freedom, he made noteworthy use of building and releasing musical tension in a conversational way. Some of this voice leading on this tune reminded me of the style of Keith Jarrett without all the flash.

On the whole it was a great show that really represented what jazz oral tradition was about. I’m excited to hear Lafayette continue to grow as a musician and as a creative mind. Now that he’s back in the U.S.A., I look forward to seeing him in a trio setting in and around Baltimore. Watch for him!

Jazz great to perform tonight

Tonight at An die Musik Baltimore jazz legend Lafayette Gilchrist will perform with area saxophonist Carl Grubbs.

Gilchrist was featured on the recent Wire soundtrack.

He didn’t begin playing the piano until age 17, and before that he was a boxer. Some say his playing style mimics the rhythm of a young Sugar Ray Robinson. The left hand, the foot work if you will, constantly shuffles, while the left hand jabs, then lets loose a flurry of blows.

I remember Carl Grubbs, who studied with Coltrane, from the time I shadowed at St. Paul’s. He was teaching a class, and I was blown away by what he had to say.

All in all, this should be a great performance.