Friday, April 29, 2011

Piccolo, CSU Jazz and Montgomery Symphony Events in the Next Few Days

(Part 2 of events coming up in the next few days. Here is Part 1.)

Piccolo Jazz Details and CSU Jazz Coming Up

I've just learned that joining Taylor Kennedy at Piccolo tonight (see last post linked above) will be one of Auburn's very best drummers, Tim Chambliss, with the previously mentioned pianist Jonathan Lynn and bassist Sidney Simmons who play with Jane Drake (and plenty of other places). I think I will stop editing this paragraph, now.

There will be jazz tonight (4/29) at The Loft in Columbus, though its online calendar is not letting on. The (a?) Columbus State University Jazz Combo (students) will play. A goal of mine is to get more familiar with the faculty and students over there. As I've mentioned before, CSU music is really blooming.

More CSU music, jazz and otherwise, will be at The Loft next Wednesday night (5/4), starting at 7:00 Eastern time and going pretty late. Here's the Facebook event page. It will start with student jazz groups and finish up with the school's Popular Music Ensemble. The academic pop/rock thing is a relatively recent trend. Here's a YouTube video of this group playing last fall.

Montgomery Symphony Orchestra

On Monday (5/2), the Montgomery Symphony Orchestra performs its final classical concert of the season. The winner of its 2011 Blount-Slawson Young Artists Competition, Kelly Talim, will perform Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto. They'll also do Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition. They must have heard that I have a gig that night, 6:30 - 9:00, at Hamilton's on Magnolia with Columbus guitarist Elwood Madeo, or else I'm sure they would have called me to play the sax part in Pictures. 

So, the Blount-Slawson competition is a big deal. It's a serious national competition for 7th-12th graders in the US. Talim is 15, or was when she won it earlier this year. The winner performs on From the Top, a nationally broadcast public radio and TV program. Here's an article from From the Top's blog, The Green Room, about the contest. 

Another biggie next week with MSO is on Tuesday night (5/3), the five finalists for its 2-year violin fellowship will perform at 7:00. The MSO's fellowships are awarded to players who have completed their education and are beginning their music careers. This should be a very, very good concert. Then on May 15, the outgoing violin fellow, Liana Gourdjia will perform her final recital. She and MSO's current cello fellow, Laura Usiskin, have both performed beautifully at Auburn's Jule Collins Smith Museum for its lunch music series. 

Here's MSO's website.
Here's Gourdjia's website.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Lunchtime Classical, AUHCC Jazz, "Funk" tastique in Columbus and Herbie Hancock in the Ham

Tomorrow (4/28) at noon, the AU student saxophone quartet and the AU student bassoon ensemble will perform for the free lunchtime concert. Last Thursday's percussion ensemble was really special. More and more, I'm impressed by Auburn's student performances. Full schedule here.

Columbus guitarist Elwood Madeo and I will play the jazz music Monday (5/2) at Hamilton's on Magnolia, 6:30 - 9:00.

Ok, now for everyone else's gigs.

Good local and regional jazz artists will play the Auburn Hotel and Conference Center again this week. On Thursday (4/28) from 8-11, the Jane Drake (website) trio will be in Piccolo, the hotel's bar that serves appetizer dishes. Bassist Sidney Simmons and pianist Jonathan Lynn, a couple of the top jazz students from AU, join her.

Friday night (4/29), 8-11, at Piccolo is saxophonist Taylor Kennedy from Atlanta. Below is an embed (that may be having problems, so you might see a big blank space before "On Saturday night...") from his MySpace page. His solo is right after the head. If Piccolo presents as it has been doing, he'll be featured with two regional rhythm section players. I'll try to find out who.

On Saturday night (4/30), 8-11 again, is another Atlanta saxophonist, Neil Newcomb. Click here for his website. And then Ariccia, the hotel's restaurant, has a weekly Sunday jazz brunch from 11-2. Again, I'll work on personnel for these events.

Symphony "Funk" tastique happens this Saturday night (4/30) at 7:30 PM at the River Center in Columbus, Georgia. This is the Columbus Symphony Orchestra doing Berlioz (ohhhh, I get it), Delius and the Barber Piano Concerto Op. 38. Event page here. This appears to be straight orchestra music. The wild and crazy marketing is just for draw, and more power to 'em. The concerto will feature guest artist Andrea Lam, embedded at right, thanks to YouTube. Click here for another video of the Columbus orchestra doing a youth workshop and concert.

And this Saturday and Sunday (4/30 - 5/1), the AU singers will do three shows. I mentioned them before and the great musicians backing them up in another post, [UPDATE 4/28] which was largely erroneous.

Get tickets now to the Herbie Hancock show at the Alys Stephens Center in Birmingham on June 1 at 7:00 PM. In my heart, I wrote that in all caps. Event page here.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Pictures of Auburn Indian Music Ensemble at the Museum

Grant Daly on the Swarmandal
On April 14, as part of the lunchtime classical music series, A Little Lunch Music, the Auburn Indian Music Ensemble performed at the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art. Click the picture at right to view a Flickr slideshow of all the images I have from the spring 2011 series.

AIME performs Wednesday night (4/27) at 6:00 PM at Goodwin Hall. Here's the AU event page. These are non-music-major AU students learning from Dr. Raj Chaudhury who has a lot of knowledge and enthusiasm about the genre. You'll learn, too, if you go, so, if you can, go! It's free.

Click here for the museum's series's complete schedule.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

AU Singers Dates Correction and Tommy Goff Lives

My stats page says that a full 4 people have viewed my last post about the AU singers and their jazz backup band playing next weekend. So I felt that a new post would be warranted to correct my wrong dates. Don't ask me why I thought it was right that a student group would be doing 2 performances on Easter. Note corrected post here. [UPDATE 4/28/2011] I was even more wrong about the AU Singers than I originally thought. See post for corrections.

If you went to the Auburn Performing Arts Center at Auburn High School tonight, you would instead see an AHS production of Bye Bye Birdie, a musical from 1960 by Michael Stewart, Lee Adams and Charles Strouse (Wikipedia article). I was in the pit band when we did this one at AHS in 1987 or 1988. I think 1987.

Speaking of AHS, I noticed that the AU flute studio will be performing a Tommy Goff arrangement of the old gospel tune "I'll fly Away." Mr. Goff was the legendary educator who directed the AHS band from 1956 - 1988 and also taught at AU for a bit after that. The flutes play at 4:00 PM on Monday (4/25) at Goodwin Hall.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

4/30-5/1 AU Singers Show Coming Up (Re-Corrected Post Re: Jazzers)

[UPDATE 4/28/2011] I look forward to maybe one day having more readers who can help me correct my errors. Also, I look forward to applying basic journalistic principles to my little announcements. Here's the gist: The jazzers mentioned below actually played last weekend with the dancers and won't be playing this weekend with the singers. I fully expect the AU Singers' show to be great.

I have a tough time not being thorough about some things. So in my new self-anointed role as communicator of potentially good art music events nearby, I would be remiss to mention the AU Singers Spring Show. Apparently, there will not be jazz. It's this next Saturday night (4/24) (4/30) at 7:30 PM at the Auburn Performing Arts Center (event page here).

[UPDATE 4/22/11] Also, I overlooked that the show will actually be repeated twice on Easter Day May Day (5/1) at 2:30 PM and 7:30 PM.

Every time I've heard the Auburn singers, they've been great. Last spring, I played on the show with the orchestra and was very impressed and even occasionally moved. And, sure, I saw the event on the calendar this time around, but it's right on the outside edge of the little niche I claim. Generally, show tunes don't need a lot of help getting an audience, so I left it out.

[UPDATE 4/28/2011] The rest of this is not terribly relevant, since I paired them up with the wrong performance. I'm pretty sure they performed for the Gotta Dance event on 4/22-4/23.

However, today I learned that the accompanying band will be a quartet of great musicians, and apparently they'll be playing some jazz during the show. Russell Haight, the new sax instructor at Auburn will play. I'll say again what a great jazz player he is and how I would love to hear more of him. Also Doug Rosener, whom I just met today at the museum with his troupe of extremely talented percussion students, will be playing drums.

Matt Wood, trombone professor at Auburn, will be on bass, and this cat (sorry) is a fantastic bass player. He and I have subbed the same Auburn Knights gigs, and each time he has brought with him a serious degree of tightness (definition: driving precision) to the group. The pianist, Brent Runnels from Atlanta, is apparently a world class player with jazz and classical chops. Here's a bio about him from Atlanta's early music group, New Trinity Baroque. I wanna go.

Piano, Horn, Opera Recitals by World Class Artists; Plus Some More Cool Indian Music (retitled)

There are some things that I left out of my most recent local events post that I need to list here. And just to clarify, if I don't mention something, it's because I don't know anything about it. Even scanning the few calendars to which I have easy access takes time, and my 5-year-old, 3-year-old and 20-month-old bosses at my full-time job frown upon any divergence from the priorities they have set for me.

Because it's my thing, I'll mention again today's (4/21) lunch music performance at the museum, 12-1. It's a percussion recital, and, though I have been in close e-mail contact with one of the members to work out logistics, I just last night noticed that this group will be doing another performance tonight with the Opelika High School percussion ensemble (Really? A high school has a percussion ensemble? Did you know OHS also offers a guitar class?). Here's the event page.

And, once again, you have to go to the Munch event today (4/21) at 5:00 at the museum. Click here for the post. 'Nuff said. Let me know how cool it was because I can't go.

Ok, and I'm writing this, and Andy calls me from the museum, and he happens to mention an opera event tomorrow night (4/22) at 5:00 PM that is sold out. It's called Masters of Melody, and performing will be pianist David Goldberger and baritone Carl Ratner. More info is here, so touch base with them to see if there's a waiting list for tickets. The performers' credits are impressive. It's a they-just-happened-to-be-in-town thing.

Anyway, after all of that, the main reason for this extra post is to mention pianist Henning Vauth's faculty recital Monday night (4/25), 7:30 PM, at Goodwin Hall (AU event page). It will be good. He's a world class pianist, as is Jeremy Samolesky, who will be accompanying Bill Shaffer, AU's horn professor, for another faculty recital Tuesday night (4/26) at 7:30, Goodwin Hall (event page).

And the Auburn Indian Music Ensemble will perform a free concert again (they were at the museum last week) at Goodwin Hall next Wednesday night (4/27) at 6:00 PM (event page). These are regular AU students, non-music majors, learning about the genre from someone with great enthusiasm and knowledge about it. I enjoyed it and recommend this performance.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


I have seen the program for An Evening with Munch at the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art tomorrow (4/21) at 5:00 PM. If you go to just one of the performances I mentioned in my last post, go to this one. It just sounds like it will be incredibly interesting.

Pianist Jeremy Samolesky will be doing Berg with clarinetist David Odom, pianist Henning Vauth will do Grieg, trombonist Matthew Wood will play Four Lyric Pieces by Torstein Aagaard-Nilsen who is still living, and the AU theater department will present an excerpt from Sophie Treadwell's Machinal.

Here's the museum's page about the event.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Lots of Jazz at Auburn Hotel and Conference Center, Museum Percussion, Opera Simulcasts and More (retitled)

Some of Auburn's best jazzers will be performing this week, namely The Jane Drake Trio and the Tim Chambliss Jazz Trio. Jane is at Piccolo on Thursday night (4/21). She sings, and her regular sidemen are bassist Sidney Simmons and pianist Jonathan Lynn, both AU students. I'm pretty sure that's 8-11. They'll be there on Thursdays through May 5. Here's Jane's website where you can hear some of her stuff.

Drummer Tim Chambliss's group will be playing Sunday (4/24) at Ariccia's Easter Day Brunch, seatings at 10:30, 12:30 and 2:30. I'll update this with sidemen if I can find out. Details about these performances are harder to come by than you might think. I do know that the Easter Bunny will be making a special appearance, but I'm not sure whether he plays. Piccolo has a strict policy against people sitting in on the gigs, but I don't know if that carries over to the brunch at Ariccia. UPDATE (4/20/11) [Guitarist Patrick Bruce will be on the gig.]

On Wednesday (4/20), the AU Jazz Ensemble will do their final concert for the spring (AU event page). It's new director, Russell Haight, is a great saxophonist whom I really want to hear play more. He's part of the school's latest effort to rebuild the jazz program there.

UPDATE 4/20/11 [Jazz guitarist Patrick Bruce will perform during Aprilfest this Friday (4/11) (4/22) at the Auburn Hotel and Conference Center, 5:30 - 8:00 PM. It's a beer and appetizer thing with lots of breweries attending. The event's Facebook page has the most information it seems, but here's another page at, and here's the Auburn-Opelika Tourism page about it.]

Video of La-Roy Bodiford playing with the Troy University jazz band. He will be in a trio at Piccolo Saturday night, April 22, from 8-11.
Also coming to Piccolo will be Atlanta-area saxophonist Akeem Marable on Friday night (4/22), 8-11, and Troy University's La'Roy Bodiford, sax, on Saturday (4/23), 8-11. You should see a video at right of Bodiford, and Marable has some sound clips on his website. Again, I'll update here if I can find out who's playing with these guys.

This Thursday (4/21), 12-1, is of course lunch music at the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art. We'll have a troupe of AU percussion students doing a program of marimba music and also a multi-percussion piece that will include piano and flute. More about this performance on my lunch music schedule page. And here's the museum's site for more about their fine art exhibitions and the café's delicious menu.

Then at 5:00 PM at the very same museum, AU music faculty will provide music to accompany the Prints by Edvard Munch exhibit. I don't know the first thing about the program, but this could be the most interesting performance of the week. The Munch prints on display are powerful, horrible, sensual and weird. UPDATE 4/20/11 [Ok, I know more now. It's worth a separate post.]

Friday night in Columbus, Daniel Arocho and Brandyn Taylor, a couple of friends at CSU will be doing a dual saxophone recital. I know these guys from the Wildacres saxophone retreat, and they sound great. Here's the info from the Facebook event page: Daniel and Brandyn will be joined by pianists Yien Wang and Yoo-Jung Kim. The program features: Muczynski Sonata, Françaix Cinq Danses Exotiques, Jolivet Fantaisie-Impromptu, Hindemith Konzertstück, Benson Aeolian Song, and Milhaud Scaramouche. The performance starts at 7:00 PM Eastern time and will be in the cool Studio Theater at the River Center.

The Wynnsong-16 in Auburn is showing a series called "Opera Live in Cinema" that simulcasts live opera and ballet from legendary venues throughout the world. This is kind of a big deal and on a big screen, too. The next showing is Rossini's The Barber of Seville from the Teatro Regio di Parma. It's at 1:00 PM live next Tuesday (4/26), and there's an encore showing at 7:30 PM on May 4. There are other performances, and I'll post them once I have confirmation. There's not really a reliable calendar of these events online.

And go ahead and calendar it for May 2 when I'll be playing the jazz at Hamilton's on Magnolia with guitarist Elwood Madeo from Columbus. Gig is 6:30 - 9:00 PM. I also play with The Woodfield Trio on May 12 5 at the museum and very possibly on May 5 12 at least with recorder player Mary Olson, and probably others. We're working on the details.

There's more going on, I'm sure, and I missed some stuff last week. Keep an eye on the Columbus Jazz Society page, the AU music calendar and also Offbeat Auburn's calendar, which is really starting to keep track of a ton of music and other kinds of events. Let me know if you hear of anything awesome.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

[hello world]

An interloper's review of the Laptop Orchestra of Louisiana's recital at the River Center in Columbus, Georgia on January 27, 2011

In grad school, we played with a Buchla synthesizer from the 60s. Much like this one. Using our actual hands, we would plug patch cables, like the ones that connect guitars to amps, into the Buchla's dozens of ports. Dials on the machine would change the sound.

A configuration of cords and dials, called a patch, produces a unique sound. The Buchla's patches could conjure sounds ranging from a violin's delicate pizzicato to others much more raucous, unsettling or even frightening.

More than half a century after the birth of the Buchla, I stumble into a concert by Louisiana State University's Laptop Orchestra of Louisiana (LOL) at Columbus State University's Schwob College of Music in Columbus, Georgia. When LOL takes the stage, their five little laptops can control the electronic equivalent of a thousand Buchlas at a speed faster than they could survive being controlled.

I heard rhythmic phrases shaped by glowing handballs (Quartet for Colors by Yemin Oh). Players rang imaginary bells with Wii nunchucks (What, the Bells? by Nick Hwang). And real-time typing of text from the Internet triggered sequences of pitches assigned to computer keys ([hello world] by the group's co-director Jesse Allison).

Supporting the entire process is hundreds of hours of computer coding specific to these interfaces and these compositions. Seasoned and skilled musicians, academics all, presented new music written for these new instruments. The LOLs do the performing, the composing and they even write the software to run the machines.

In the piece Vocal Gua, with composer credit on the program to "The LOLs," two performers make vocal noises, spoken, sung, etc.--with a fair amount of etc.--into microphones. Hardware digitizes the sounds and converts them into patches. Custom software allows two laptop operators to alter these patches. They change the sound slightly or entirely deconstruct it, exploding it into a half-dozen new sounds, giving each its own rhythm and melody.

The performance displayed every facet of good chamber music. There was expressiveness, interaction, intimacy and balance. And just as the sound produced by a traditional chamber musician emanates from his immediate location, each of the LOLs was coupled with a custom built omnidirectional speaker.

The aptly titled Improvisations & Transformations, again with composer credits to the group as a whole, had a tuba player, a trombonist and a flutist accompanied by three iPad operator sidekicks. The acoustic and electronic trios balanced beautifully. The iPad performers interpreted the made-up lines of the wind players. It was an invigorating musical mind rub. Jeff Albert, the trombonist, was in his element as a free jazz improviser (here's his website). He led the instruments and really the entire piece. This was perhaps not his intention (it wasn't), but it worked, and well. All of this, combined with a clear arc of ensemble energy, I hope dispelled any idea that this was not chamber music.

Some pieces were conducted, such as Albert's Forbidden Butch. Laptop performers interpreted the composer's silent gestures, and filled the room with shining and sustained melody. Hwang's What, the Bells? was also conducted by Albert, but from a laptop, where he keyed instructions through the network.

In addressing the audience, the performers used humor and informality to present their music. They even invited us onstage afterward to gawk at and even play with the equipment. It was refreshing to be in an essentially classical music setting where the invisible curtain between performer and listener was drawn back. Maybe doing this sacrifices some glamor, but the familiarity helped me, especially when some of the music's alien constructs were hard to warm up to.

CliX by Ge Wang from a different performance. Click here to see another video where you can see their cool omnidirectional speakers.

What may have really made the concert successful was the order of the compositions. The opener, CliX by Ge Wang, was a groovy little piece that was as accessible as a mainstream film score and reminisced of pop music, though clearly it was not pop music.

After that came InTwerp by Lindsay Hartman who also played flute on Improvisations & Transformations. Her piece used a familiar tabla (an indian drum) loop behind the distinctly unfamiliar action of performers using joysticks to manipulate vowel sounds. These pieces together I think eased me into the varying degrees and styles of unorthodoxy in the rest of the program.

It ended with a rigorous tonality bath, inChuck. LOL's co-director Stephen David Beck composed this short version (homage?) of the classic Terry Riley composition, In C. It was a reset button, and left me wanting more of everything--more gadgets, more "crazy" (their word) music and more of what was just an impressive display of talent.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Local Music Events I would Go Hear in the Next Few Days If I Weren't Exhausted from My Children and I Might Just Go Anyway

The biggest deal is going to be the Verdi Requiem being performed by a combination of the Auburn University and Tuskegee University choirs, the Arts Association of East Alabama Civic Chorale and the Auburn Community Orchestra. That's a lot of singers. Here's a good OA News article about it by Ed Enoch.

It quotes Phillip Preston, my piano teacher from when I was like 10-12. He now directs the Arts Association of East Alabama. He says, "This is by far the largest undertaking we have tried by marshaling local forces...This is on a scale that we have never attempted before.”

It will be Sunday at 3:00 at First Baptist Opelika, and it's free. Here's the AU music calendar page on the event.

Also, tonight, there's an AU student senior piano recital by Meredith Szabo who had some really nice moments when she played at the museum last week. It would be worth hearing, and is early (6:00 - event page).

And there are a ton of events--like, every single night--coming up this month on the AU music calendar as the school year comes to a close.

Jazz-wise, I'm playing tonight at 7:00 with the Auburn Knights at their performance for the Tallassee Jazz Fest. Piccolo in Auburn will have saxophonists this weekend. La-Roy Bodiford plays tomorrow night (Friday) and Kenyon Carter on Saturday. They play 8-11.

If you're up for the short drive, what could be a really special show is the Columbus State University faculty jazz quartet playing at The Loft in Columbus tomorrow (Friday) from 7-9 Eastern time. You won't see it on The Loft's online calendar due to technical problems. That's one I'd like to hear. CSU's music program is really growing. I've heard some great things from the students and faculty there.

I do have plans to be at the New-Orleans-themed Art in the Garden tomorrow night at the Jule Collins Museum of Fine Art. Snakebite Six, a traditional jazz band from Columbus will be playing and a ton of other stuff will be going on--food, garden exhibits...oh, and George Rodrigue of blue dog art fame!

You might see me out there. I'll be the tired one.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

My Upcoming Classical, Jazz, Big Band Performances (

I've just added to this blog site a page listing my upcoming public performances. I started using for the schedule. I guess it's got some pretty good tools for website display. I was noticing for a while there several people using it, but not so much anymore. Suggestions are welcome.

So here's the page where I've just posted museum dates with The Woodfield Trio and also a jazz duo gig at Hamilton's on Magnolia (Auburn) with guitarist Patrick Bruce Elwood Madeo from Columbus. This will be my first time playing with Elwood. Patrick Bruce and I have played at Hamilton's a few times now since November and it's really a great venue for jazz. It's fun playing with Patrick because he's got great time. And I have a hard time calling him Patrick. Diagnoses are welcome.

Also, I'm subbing with the (don't click their link unless you're prepared for music to start immediately) Auburn Knights for a show that will close out the Tallassee Jazz Fest.

Now that I've done it, I'm not sure why I couldn't just manage the performances page manually. We'll see.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Pictures of AU Pianists from Lunch Music Series

AU students Thomas Harbin, Meredith Szabo and Julia Tucker gave a really nice combined recital yesterday at the museum. I made up some excuses about why Thomas should do the third movement of the Ravel Sonatine a second time. It could be that I just like Ravel.

Meredith has her senior recital on April 7 at Goodwin Hall at 6:00 PM. I recommend going. She'll be playing Scarlotti, Chopin, Mendelssohn, the Beethoven Pastoral Sonata and more. I've just uploaded some new pictures from the performance. Click the image below to link to a Flickr slide show of all the pictures from this season's lunch music series.

Next week (April 7): The Woodfield Trio! Complete museum schedule here.