Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Flute-Guitar Duo Bringing Classical Concert with a Dash of Beatboxing

The biggest reason for the tripling in audience size for A Little Lunch Music over the last two years is the coverage that we've been getting from the Opelika-Auburn News, the Auburn Villager and Troy University Public Radio. Lots of groups send in their stories, and not all get used. But our releases have consistently and repeatedly been picked up by these three outlets, and even the Plainsman has done a few stories.

I'm always grateful to see announcements in print or to hear them on air, as I know that current events and a number of other things (including my ability to make the deadline) factor in to whether we make the cut.

I say this all because thanks have needed to be given (Yay passive voice!) for a while now, and also because we didn't make it into the O-A News in our usual Wednesday Community section spot. So today I'll use my own blog to post my release for Thursday's free 12-1 performance at the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art. Hope you can make it!

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COLUMBUS STATE FLUTE-GUITAR DUO RETURNS TO MUSEUM SERIES

AUBURN, Ala. - On Thursday, November 29, from noon to 1:00 PM, the weekly music series at The Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art will feature a program of music for flute and guitar. Performing will be Stephanie Erdman and Jacob Brown, both students at Columbus State University. The concert will be free to the public as are all of the series’ concerts.

Ursula’s Catering will sponsor the performance in part.

Each fall, the flute and guitar studios at Columbus State’s Schwob School of Music work together on a joint recital. In 2010, the school’s instructors paired Erdman with Brown, and they have been a duo ever since. “We really enjoy playing together,” said Erdman who is a senior working on a double major at CSU in flute performance and business management.

Erdman studies flute with Dr. Andrée Martin and will graduate May 2013. After that, she intends to pursue a Master’s degree in Arts Management. “That’s actually kind of a backup,” said Erdman of her plans, adding, “I really want to join the circus.” She was referring to a long-time dream she has of playing flute with a Cirque du Soleil orchestra.

Brown, a guitar student of CSU’s Andrew Zohn, said that he did not begin studying guitar seriously until he was 21. Since then, however, he has had opportunity to study at workshops with master guitarists and compete at state level. He recently completed his junior recital and has no stated plans of joining a circus.

Thursday’s program will include a collection of twelve dances for flute and guitar by Kaspar Fürstenau, a German composer born in 1772. Each player will also perform solo works.

Most of the music will be conventional, but Erdman will perform a short piece by beatbox flutist Greg Patillo. “I’m essentially doing two different things at the same time,” said Erdman, referring to playing Patillo’s piece. Beatboxing is a technique of using the mouth to mimic the sounds of a drum set. Beatbox fluting is playing the flute while at the same time beatboxing. “Coordinating the two is interesting because both of them are happening with my face.”

The weekly concerts in the A Little Lunch Music series are free to the public. They are funded by the museum, individuals and businesses. Patrick McCurry, who coordinates the series, said that anyone interested in helping financially should contact Cindy Cox, the museum's Development Coordinator, at coxcynh@auburn.edu or call 334-844-3005. Sponsorships range from $150 to $1,000. McCurry said the museum accepts gifts for the series of any amount.

The Museum Café is open Tuesday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m and admission to the fine art exhibitions is free. The music can sometimes be heard inside the café, or visitors can dine before or after the concerts. Its menu changes weekly and consists of light, freshly prepared salads, Italian panini and seasonal soups and entrees. Menu prices range from $5 to $9.

For more about A Little Lunch Music, contact Patrick McCurry at patrick@luncharm.net or go online to bit.ly/lunchmusic for details. For more about the Café or the museum's other programs, contact Charlotte Hendrix at charlotte.hendrix@auburn.edu, visit the museum online at jcsm.auburn.edu or call 334-844-1484.

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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Sorry for the Silence

Can't post. Too busy. Follow me on Twitter or, if you don't have a Twitter account, bookmark my feed at twitter.com/luncharm. I'm posting some events there and on Facebook. You can subscribe to my Facebook feed here www.facebook.com/luncharm where presumably my public Facebook posts will show up in your Facebook news feed, even if we're not Facebook friends.

Also, the Arts Association of East Alabama has asked me to post on its blog, The Frog, about its subscription series events. Take a look.

My Event Sources page on this site has links to most of the calendars I watch. Poke around there if I'm being too quiet.

I love surveying the landscape for good music. Love it. I'll try to do more. Thanks for checking in.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Big Names in Brass and Classical Sax, Orchestra Openers and More in Surrounding Areas

This is a companion post to one I made yesterday about events local to the Auburn-Opelika area: Three Great Piano Recitals, Lunch Music, Winds, Simulcasts, More

Top Brass, Saxophone Maestro, Orchestra and More in Columbus, LaGrange

video
The Center City Brass Quintet performing Go! by member trumpeter Anthony DiLorenzo (seated to the left). The group will perform Thursday, October 4 at RiverCenter's Legacy Hall in Columbus, Georgia.
As part of the LegacyLive! chamber music series, the Center City Brass Quintet plays Thursday night, 10/4, in Legacy Hall at RiverCenter in Columbus. This is a group of top players from all over the more-northern US. They are professional soloists or hold key positions in the Buffalo, Seattle, Cleveland and Pittsburgh symphonies. This should be a tremendous performance. Here's the event page.

Also in Legacy Hall, on Friday, 10/26, classical saxophone legend Claude Delangle (sort of pronounced de-LONG), will perform as part of the first annual International Saxophone Symposium and Competition (ISSAC). ISSAC will be a major event for saxophonists for sure, with master classes by Delangle, Timothy McAllister and Joe LuloffMAL.

There are several other CSU-faculty and traveling-faculty performances going on in the coming weeks, and in my experience, most anything out of the Schwob School of Music is going to be worth the drive over. Peruse the calendar to see what looks good.

The Columbus Symphony Orchestra's opener, Those Romantic Russians, will be Saturday, 10/13, featuring pianist Ilya Yakushev. There's a picture of him on his website (ilyayakushev.com) playing and wearing a leather jacket. He'll do Rachmaninoff 3 with the orchestra, and they'll do Borodin and Tchaikovsky without him. CSO event page is here.

The Lagrange Symphony Orchestra, about whom I recently posted, will open Tuesday, 10/16, with I Got Rhythm, an all-Gershwin program featuring pianist Eugenio Urrutia. I don't find a website for Urrutia, but I'm pretty sure that this is him on a YouTube video playing the popular Grieg Piano Concerto with an orchestra. Here's the event page on the LSO website.

On Sunday, 10/14, at St. Thomas Episcopal Church, the Columbus Jazz Society will celebrate the its 25th year of presenting live jazz to the Columbus community. Tuskegee pianist Bill Perry and Timeless will play at 3:00 PM. Columbus's Jan Hyatt will sing at 6:00, and at 8:00 the jam session will begin. All times are EDT. More details are on the Society's website.

And The Loft in Columbus is a great venue for jazz every Friday night from 7-9 PM EDT. The restaurant/club has updated its website and now has a Google calendar with the actual names of the performing groups! One that I know about is Tuskegee's David Banks, who calls his music smooth world gospel jazz. He plays 10/19. Incidentally, if you want another perspective on the regional jazz scene, David sends out mostly-weekly e-mails of upcoming performances around here and bigger names and festivals from Atlanta to North Florida. His e-mail address is on his website.


Chamber Music, Orchestra Opener, and The Met Simulcasts in Montgomery

On Monday, 10/8, the Montgomery Symphony Orchestra will open its season with Shostakovich, Elgar, Mendelssohn, and the Brahms Double Concerto for Violin and Cello featuring the MSO violin and cello fellows Robin Scott and Ahrim Kim respectively. That duo (they're actually married) played together at the museum in the spring and were terrific. There's more about this concert, the rest of the series and how to get tickets on MSO's subscription page.

On Thursday, 10/11, the Montgomery Chamber Music OrganizationMAL will present the Performers of Westchester, a group that specializes in playing chamber music in homes "in an ambiance intended by the composer." I suspect they'll do just fine in the Wilson Auditorium of the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts. The group's artistic director is Andy Simionescu, who is a former violin fellow with the Montgomery Symphony Orchestra.

The Metropolitan Opera will present Donizetti’s opera, L'Elisir d'Amore, on Saturday, 10/13. You can see it simulcast live at Rave Motion Pictures Festival Plaza in Montgomery at 11:55 AM that day. Buy tickets online at this link. On Saturday, 10/27, also at 11:55 AM, the same cinema will simulcast Verdi's Otello live. Get tickets for that one online at this link or just show up. Read more about the Met's Live in HD series at this link, which has a little bit about these two operas.

I don't have a good handle on the Montgomery jazz scene, yet, but I do know that 1040 Jazz and Blues has a running Sunday-night jazz jam that's billed from 9:30 - 12:30 but I've heard starts late and goes a lot later. I've also heard that it attracts the best players around the region including Birmingham. And, I was just looking at the club's schedule and saw a band called Mullet Over, which deserves a listen for the name alone.


ATL and BHM: Big Names and Alabama Composers

[UPDATE (10/2/2012): I forgot something. Connie Frigo teaches saxophone at the University of Georgia (UGA bio) and will be playing in Atlanta with pianist Brent Runnels on Wednesday, 10/3, at Oglethorpe University (event page). I have heard Frigo perform as a soloist and when she played baritone sax with the New Century Saxophone Quartet. She is a powerhouse, and if you can get to this performance, do.]

On Thursday, 10/4, multiple Grammy-winning violinist Gil Shaham will open Emory's Flora Glenn Candler Concert Series. This will be a solo performance of music by Bach. Here's the event page. Here's a link to a video of him playing solo Bach, actually, from YouTube user violistarevirtuoso.

The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra has worked out it's labor issues and will open its 68th season on Thursday, 10/4 with violinist Midori playing the Beethoven violin concerto.

The Alabama Symphony Orchestra has a lot going on in Birmingham. Most interesting to me is a performance on Tuesday, 10/9, called Contemporary Visions. It will be a program of chamber music by living composers including Alabamians Joseph Landers, Sarana Chou and Ed Robertson.

Finally, 12-time Grammy Award winner Emmylou Harris will perform at the Alys Robinson Stephens Performing Arts Center in Birmingham on Wednesday, 10/17. Here's the event page.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Three Great Piano Recitals, Lunch Music, Winds, Simulcasts, More

This is a companion post to one I made about other events in the areas around Auburn-Opelika: Big Names in Brass and Classical Sax, Orchestra Openers and More in Surrounding Areas.

Video is from pianist Young-Hyun Cho's Vimeo.com channel.
She will perform at Goodwin Hall in Auburn on October 16.

Three noteworthy piano events happen in the coming weeks on the AU music calendar. Piano Professor Jeremy Samolesky's recital on Wednesday, 10/10 will feature not only AU's cello and clarinet instructors but also the Kazanetti String Quartet for the Dvořák piano quintet (event page). Then, Piano Lecturer Josh Pifer will be joined by a guest flutist for his recital on Monday, 10/15 (event page). And the next night, Tuesday, 10/16, Dr. Young Hyun-Cho from UT Arlington will do a recital. If you are not intimidated by an 8x4-inch block of biographical text, you may be after you read hers on the event page. It should be very good. That's her playing in the video at right.
 
And you might think that I wait until I have an upcoming gig to do an event post, and you might be right. But I swear that it would be a completely unconscious action. That said, I'll be playing jazz tonight (Monday, 10/1) at Hamilton's on MagnoliaFBS with guitarist Patrick Bruce from 6:30 - 9:00. There's no cover and the martinis are half-price. We're there most first Mondays.

Piccolo, the lounge at the Auburn University Hotel and Conference Center, continues to have jazz on non-gameday weekends and every Thursday night, gameday or no gameday. Thursdays are the Jane Drake Trio. Keep an eye on Piccolo's sounds page for upcoming artists. The hotel does not promote Jane's shows on the website, or anywhere regularly that I have seen. She's pretty good about posting on her trio's Facebook page, though. All three nights are 8-11 with no cover.

Tuesday night, 10/2, the AU Chamber Choir will perform at Telfair Peet Theatre. They sang last Thursday for part of the lunch-music concert at the museum and were extremely enjoyable, as usual. They did a piece by AU Voice Professor Rosephanye (like "Stephanie" but "rose-ephanie") Powell (AU bio). Event page here.

On Thursday night, 10/4, the AU Symphonic Winds will perform. If you don't happen to know, Auburn has a strong band program and produces a lot of capable band educators. Rick Good (AU bio) is the head of the program and has more arrows in his quiver than most get to, um, get shot with? Point being that the marching band's halftime shows do not well-represent the chamber-music potential of the program. But the Winds are billed as a premier group, much like the Chamber Choir. Even if you're not a band-music person, there will be something here to make it worthwhile. Event page here.

If you are, in fact, a band-music person, then look to the Sounds of Auburn concert on Thursday, 10/18. It's a big show in the Auburn Arena with not just the large concert groups playing, but AU vocal groups and the jazz band, too.

Coming up in the A Little Lunch Music Series at the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art will the Auburn Indian Music Ensemble (Facebook page) on 10/4, Atlanta's Kazanetti String Quartet will stay over after Jeremy's recital to play on 10/11, a student flute-cello-piano trio from Columbus State University on 10/18, AU vocal instructor Matthew Hoch (AU bio) with pianist Laurelie Gheesling (AU bio) on 10/25, and Birmingham cellist and founder of the Montgomery Music Project Laura Usiskin on 11/1. I coordinate this series and keep the schedule here, where you can read more about some of those performers, and even more when I make time to get their bios up.

Thanks to the AU Women's Studies Program, iconic American poet Maya Angelou is coming to Auburn on 11/8 (event page). But since it's sold out, you can't go hear her speak unless you go to Angelou and the Arts at the museum on 11/1 where there will be a drawing for an unspecified number of tickets. The event will include dance, drama and art, all inspired by Angelou's work.

The Gnu Fall Festival organized by The Gnu's Room bookstore and café will be Saturday, 10/13. Here's the event page. There'll be 8 local bands, booths and food, on the lawn at Pebble Hill in Auburn.

Auburn's Sundilla Acoustic Concert Series brings in a large number of mainly folk artists, bands and singer-songwriters every year. The last scheduled show for a while will be Susan Gibson on Thursday night, 10/18.

The East Alabama Arts Association will present the National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba on Thursday, 11/1, in Opelika. This is the group's first ever North American tour. Here's the event page with video and how to get tickets.

And as of today, below is the lineup of Emerging Pictures' opera and ballet simulcasts and simulcast replays at Auburn's Carmike-Wynnsong Theater. Click here to check for changes, later dates, and more information about the productions.
10/2, 7:00 pm - Opera - La Traviata (Opera on Sydney Harbour)
10/7, 2:00 pm; 10/9, 7:00 pm - Ballet - La Sylphide (Bolshoi Ballet)
10/14, 2:00 pm; 10/16, 7:00 pm - Opera - L’Italiana in Algeri (Teatro Comunale di Bologna)
10/21, 2:00 pm; 10/23, 7:00 pm - Ballet - L’Altra Meta del Cielo (La Scala Ballet)
10/28, 2:00 pm; 10/30, 7:00 pm - Opera - Un Ballo in Maschera (Teatro Regio di Torino)
See you there.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

And We Call It "Playing" Music

wrap up home time
review gig details
check instrument
deal with tuxedo
load car
abandon family at suppertime
log mileage
drive 20 minutes
load in gear
assemble gear
soundcheck 2 hrs. before gig
tune
find the beat
interpret symbols
match the eighth-note
tune to 2nd tenor
find the beat
match the quarter note
listen for the ride
sight-read changes
listen for the lead alto
sight-read soli
worry about what players think
tune to 3rd trombone
interpret symbols
find the beat
match the eighth note
worry about what listeners think
tune to 2nd tenor
listen for the chords
tune for major third
end note
end set
find the bathroom
find the bar
make small talk
network
be funny
hurry back
form opinions of listeners
run out of ideas to play on old-timey dominant chord changes
accidentally transpose changes
listen for the lead trumpet
problems turning pages
tune to lead alto
re-tune for minor second
find the beat
match the eighth note
form opinions of players
listen for tempo
cut tongue on reed
adjust strap
search for meaning
change angle of mouthpiece
interpret symbols
find the beat
match the quarter note
widen vibrato
even out vibrato
awkward silence between tunes
self-criticize
ignore self-criticism
back hurts
no vibrato
start the note
end the note
start the note
end the note
shape the phrase
match the phrasing
watch for cutoff
play that old Brecker lick on the funk tune
abandon tonality in the altissimo
tune to 2nd alto
find the beat
match vibrato to lead alto
listen for the ride
match phrasing to lead trumpet
end note
end gig
disassemble gear
ingratiate self
say goodbyes
question value
drive home
log mileage
reconnect
unwind

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Small Town with Full Orchestra Accompaniment

Maestro Patricio Cobos (center) conducts the LaGrange Symphony
Orchestra. He is pictured here with the orchestra's concertmaster,
Lorna Wood from Auburn (left), and violist Maureen Gallagher
who performed with the group during its 2009-10 season.
The little community of LaGrange, Georgia, is not much more populous than Opelika (ca. 30,000). However, it is fantastically able to support the LaGrange Symphony Orchestra (website), a professional group with a $275,000 to $300,000 yearly budget. It pays its musicians, does community outreach, and brings in guest artists with international reputations.

Performances are certainly worth the 45-minute-to-1-hour drive it takes to get from here to there. The group's concertmaster (def.) is Lorna Wood, an Auburn resident and one of this community's busiest violin teachers. Maestro Patricio Cobos, originally from Chile, is the group's Conductor and Musical Director.

Teachers and students should take note of two of the organization's efforts. The Young Artists Competition is open to students from Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina and Florida. It awards cash prizes up to $1,500. Also, SCALA (Student Competition Awards in the LaGrange Area) targets an area 50 miles from LaGrange. This includes Auburn, Opelika and Columbus. SCALA also awards cash prizes. These competitions take place February 2, 2013.

Below are answers to some questions I've been posing to our area's symphonies. Responding is the group's Executive Director, Dave Marler.

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Patrick McCurry: Give us two or three highlights from your upcoming season.

Dave Marler: The season opens on October 16 with an evening of [George] Gershwin music featuring Eugenio Urrutia on piano for Rhapsody in Blue. November 13 will bring world-renowned violist, Roberto Diaz, to the Callaway Auditorium stage as he performs [Georg Philipp] Telemann's Viola Concerto in G Major and [Béla] Bartók's Viola Concerto. The evening will also feature a tribute to our armed forces. March 12, 2013 will feature a western theme with music from Elmer Bernstein and Aaron Copland. [There is a season overview with more highlights on the website: lagrangesymphony.org/previews.]

PMc: Give us some idea about ticket costs, both for individual concerts and subscriptions.

DM: Season tickets are now available and range from $25 to $90. Individual tickets range from $5 to $25 and will be available beginning October 1.

PMc: Are there events that we should look for outside of the regular season?


DM: Our annual Pops Concert on Saturday February 9, 2013, will again feature Jason Coleman performing with the LSO. The grandson of famous pianist, Floyd Cramer, Coleman will present selections from his grandfather's storied career along with some pop standards. Jason has quite a following in the Valley area and beyond.

PMc: What kinds of outreach programs do you have, and how can we support those?

DM: Our Musicians in Schools initiative sends small ensembles into the classrooms of local schools. Musicians perform and educate students about their instruments and the selections they will hear.

LaGrange Symphony Youth Orchestra features young string players from ages 10-18. They have weekly rehearsals and perform two concerts per school year. in March 2013, the LSYO will also perform side-by-side with the LSO during [Aaron] Copland's "Hoe-Down" [from his ballet, Rodeo].

These outreach initiatives require funding over and above tuition so we are always seeking partners to help sponsor our educational programs.

PMc: Where can we go online or whom do we contact to sign up for mailings or e-mail notifications?

DM: www.lagrangesymphony.org is the best source for the latest news about all things LSO.

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Friday, August 31, 2012

Jazz or Bust? Help Steady a Major Source of Modern Jazz History

UPDATE (10/2/2012): The Jazz Session will end at the end of October, 2012. More about this at The Jazz Session: A Special Announcement

Jazz interviewer Jason Crane today added to his personal blog at jasoncrane.org a post entitled Tour Diary: The End Of The Line. Here he informs us that, due to lack of funding, his Jazz or Bust tour will not be able to continue, at least for now.

The tour started as a response to his housing status becoming uncertain. It became an interview trek down the east coast from Brooklyn to New Orleans. Crane found great jazz and its creators outside of New York, and did readings of his own poetry along the way. He stopped by here and spent some time at The Gnu's Room in Auburn.

In addition to the tour having to be interrupted, it appears distinctly possible that his interview show, which he's done for free, for anyone, for everyone, for five years, for 400 interviews, may also be interrupted. Reason being that he may have to move somewhere permanently. If it's not NYC, the reservoir of musicians available to interview would diminish considerably.

I am an expert on nothing. But I've listened to about the last 150 interviews he's done, and I have developed a sense that what he's created is an invaluable piece of historical reference. And this was recently confirmed for me.

Below is a quote from Crane's description of an interview of Barry Kernfeld he posted to thejazzsession.com on June 11, 2012:
"Barry Kernfeld...may be most well known as the editor of both editions of the New Grove Dictionary of Jazz, a massive undertaking that sought to define the major players, instruments and theories of jazz around the world."
Now, below is a transcription, uh's edited out, of a short section of that interview, starting at around 49:03. The key point is the last sentence.
Kernfeld: But there's been no systematic work on jazz as a Grove entity since 2001, and I think that for financial reasons there is no prospect of there being. I can continue to call myself the editor of the New Grove Dictionary of Jazz. I am. There hasn't been any other. That doesn't mean I'm doing anything on it. I'm doing other stuff.

Crane: Which makes me sad, because, I mean, a huge part of the reason that I do what I do is because I looked around and realized that no one was talking to musicians of a certain generation. I mean, the--many of the greats who had gone before had, you know, extensive documentation of their lives and stories, and very few people did, you know, around my age and younger.

Kernfeld: And I saw on your website you've got just one new person after the next--hundreds of them--interviews, hour-long interviews that would be, you know, the resource for Grove 3.
So, to paraphrase, or at least infer from Kernfield's passing comment, this tremendous contributor to our world's knowledge of jazz has just implied that Crane's show would be a significantly--even singularly--important repository of source material for a third edition of the New Grove Dictionary of Jazz, if it were ever to exist.

Crane is no different than any other great artist has ever been. He makes his money from patrons. On his list of patrons are some--not all, mind you--of the 400+ musicians who have benefited directly from literally millions of people downloading their interviews. I have spent real money on these people's music that I never would have spent without Crane's show. If each of them would commit one gig's pay per year to the show, he would be in a lot better shape, and the modern history of jazz could continue to be recorded.

But even that may be a lot to ask. Arts patrons are not generally artists, or at least not those for whom art is everything. They are other people. They are people who have the luxury to care about the future of something else without having to worry too much, as most artists do, as Crane apparently does, about the screaming right-now of their own lives.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but people who have time to stare at a screen reading 750 words by a small-town, part-time musician are very likely the kinds of people who can be arts patrons.

As Nashville saxophonist Evan Cobb tweeted to Crane today, "How do we fix this?" There are two easy ways. Become a regular member of the show at this link: thejazzsession.com/join and support the tour at this one: thejazzsession.com/tour.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Archive: Summer 2012 A Little Lunch Music


At the time I posted this archive, I only had pictures of John Norton uploaded to Flickr. If I have added any more (I forgot if I was even able to take any others), they will appear in the slide show above or at this link.
SUMMER 2012 SPONSORS
Thank you for making our community better by supporting art music!
 
Sponsorship Level: Woodfield Trio
An Anonymous Friend
Ursula's Catering

Sponsorship Level: Student Recital
Charles and Melanie Wright
This is an archived schedule of the summer 2012 season of A Little Lunch Music, a weekly series at the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art which I coordinate. Normally, the series breaks during the summer. Due to the popularity of its 2012 spring concerts, we added three performances each in in June and August.

Summer 2012 (artist bios below schedule)

June 14: pianist John Norton
~Sposored by: Ursula's Catering

June 21: cellist Charles Wright with pianist Barbara Acker-Mills, violinist Sarah Schrader and violinist Matthew Weathers
~Sposored by: Ursula's Catering

June 28: guitarist Dan Mackowski

August 16: pianist Mary Slaton

~Sposored by: an anonymous friend

August 23: saxophonist Patrick McCurry with pianist Barbara Acker-Mills

August 30: saxophonist Patrick McCurry with pianist John Norton (jazz)



Artist Bios (in alphabetical order)
 
DR. BARBARA ACKER-MILLS holds a PhD in psychology and a master’s degree in piano from the State University of New York at Binghamton. There she won the University Concerto Competition open to graduates and undergraduates on all instruments. While at Salem College in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Dr. Acker-Mills studied with acclaimed performer and pedagogical award winner Barbara Lister-Sink who said that Acker-Mills “demonstrated admirably at Salem that a petite frame is no deterrent to commanding and powerful playing.” Dr. Acker-Mills teaches psychology for Argosy University and in the music department at Auburn University. She performs primarily as a collaborative artist.

DAN MACKOWSKI has been part of Auburn, Alabama’s jazz scene since arriving in 1990. He was part of the Auburn Knights Orchestra from 2001 to 2004 and now arranges pop and big band tunes for solo fingerstyle guitar. Like many of his generation, Dan became fascinated with the guitar after seeing the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show. He played in rock bands while pursuing degrees in physics and mechanical engineering. Now, Dr. Mackowski is Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Auburn University. He teaches courses in thermodynamics and energy-related science and researches the mathematical description of electromagnetic wave scattering. 


The music of saxophonist and flutist PATRICK MCCURRY crosses boundaries between jazz and classical, pop and art, secular and sacred. Born and raised in Alabama and having returned home to Auburn, Patrick blogs in support of good music in and around his community. He performs with a chamber group, The Woodfield Trio, and holds a Masters degree in Chamber Music Performance from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. There, his instructor and mentor was James Houlik, international concert saxophone maestro. He studied jazz improvisation, composition and arranging while earning his undergraduate degree from Loyola University New Orleans.

John Norton
Gadsden native and Auburn pianist JOHN NORTON can be seen subbing with big bands across Alabama and playing professionally for private events. While earning an engineering degree at Auburn University, he played with the Auburn Knights Orchestra and appeared with performers including the Vogues and Bobby Vinton. John served with the Third Armored Division Band in Germany. Afterwards, he began an award-winning career in music retail, working for Kimball Piano and Organ Company for twenty years and Roland for fifteen. John sings in the Jubilate Choir at Auburn United Methodist Church and accompanies the Chapel Five, the church’s men’s quartet.

SARAH SCHRADER, born in Hanceville, Alabama, earned her Bachelor of Music Education from Auburn University in 2006. She has been teaching music at George Washington Carver Elementary School in Tuskegee ever since. She started playing the violin at age three and was a regular member of the Alabama All-State Orchestra through middle and high school. Sarah studied vocal music education at Auburn and minored in violin performance. Aside from teaching a growing studio in the Auburn area, Sarah plays for weddings and events as a regular member of the Auburn String Quartet. She also directs the Trinity Lutheran Church choir.

MARY SLATON is known throughout the southeast as one of the region’s premier piano-lounge soloists. Over the years, she has entertained many with her extensive knowledge of popular music. Among Memphis venues, Mary has performed at the Hilton and the Hyatt Regency. In Atlanta, she has played the Omni Hotel, the Hilton, the Atlanta Country Club and others. At home in the Auburn-Opelika area, the Terra Cotta, the Saugahatchee Country Club and the Marriott have featured her. Mary holds piano degrees from Memphis State University and from the University of Montevallo. She teaches privately and at Southern Union Community College.

A rising senior at Auburn High School, violinist MATTHEW WEATHERS won the 2012 Alabama Music Teachers Association Division III State Solo Competition and received honorable mention in the 2010 AMTA Division II competition. He participates in the Young Artist Program at Columbus State University and plays in the first violin section of the Auburn Community Orchestra. He has been playing violin for 9 years and viola for 2. Matthew is currently a student of Dr. Lorna Wood.

CHARLES WRIGHT is cellist and leader of the Auburn Quartet, a string quartet in the East Alabama and West Georgia area. Having been a member of the Auburn Community Orchestra since 1985, he now plays principal cello for the group and is president of its board. He performs in the Montgomery Symphony Orchestra and is involved with the Auburn Chamber Music Society in which capacity he founded this chamber music series. Mr. Wright is passionate about classical music and plays a significant role in cultivating its growth and influence in the Auburn community.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Spring 2012 Lunch Music Archive

This is an archived post of A Little Lunch Music's spring 2012 season. For more about the series, go to the Lunch Music Schedule page on this website. I have some photos and more audio from the season, and if I ever get around to it, I'll post them here. UPDATE: I did! They're at right.
 
January 19: The Woodfield Trio
January 26: The Woodfield Trio
February 2: cellist Laura Usiskin and pianist Jeremy Samolesky
~Sponsored by Virginia Transue and an anonymous friend
February 9: pianist Thomas Harbin
February 16: flutist Nancy Vinson and pianist Laurelie Gheesling
February 23: Performance moved to Friday, Feb. 24
February 24: saxophonist Patrick McCurry with guitarist Dan Mackowski 
March 1: pianist Tzu-yi Chen
~Sponsored by Charles and Melanie Wright
March 8: The Woodfield Trio
March 15: Spring Break (no performance)
March 22: Raj Chaudhury and the Auburn Indian Music Ensemble
March 29: soprano Christina Burroughs with pianist Nicole Agostino
~Sponsored by Haygood, Cleveland, Mattson, Thompson & Pierce, LLP
April 4 (Wednesday): pianist Michelle Huang
~Sponsored by Haygood, Cleveland, Mattson, Thompson & Pierce, LLP
April 5: performance moved to Wednesday, April 4 (there will be music at the museum, however)
April 12: violinist Robin Scott and cellist Ahrim Kim
~Sponsored by Gene and Phyllis Stanaland
April 19: AU Chamber Choir, pianist Julia Tucker, The Woodfield Trio
April 26: flutist Stephanie Erdman with guitarist Jacob Brown
~Sponsored in part by Emil and Margaret Wright
May 3: pianist Mary Slaton
~Sponsored by Gene and Phyllis Stanaland
May 10: pianist Barbara Acker-Mills with guest The Woodfield Trio
~Sponsored by Bill and Josie Walsh
May 17: violinist Sarah Schrader and pianist Julia Tucker
with the George Washington Carver Elementary School Music Makers
May 18: saxophonist Patrick McCurry with bassist Sidney Simmons (jazz)


Audio from Spring 2012




Artist Bios (in progress) in Alphabetical Order

An active soloist and chamber musician, pianist NICOLE AGOSTINO has performed recitals across the U.S. In 2011 she toured the southeast as a guest artist giving recitals and lectures on J. S. Bach's Goldberg Variations and has recently recorded the work. Nicole is a doctoral candidate in performance at Florida State University. She holds a Master of Music and a Bachelor of Music, both in performance, from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. In 2008, she held a piano faculty position at the renowned Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp in Michigan. Nicole teaches privately from her home in Auburn.

The AUBURN INDIAN MUSIC ENSEMBLE comprises students in a semester long class where they learn fundamentals of Indian classical and semi-classical music. This music is based on the system of ragas (melodies) and talas (rhythms). The vocal performances of the group feature a variety of traditional instruments such as harmonium (organ), tabla (drums) and tanpura (drone).

The AUBURN UNIVERSITY CHAMBER CHOIR was established in fall 2008 as the premiere choral ensemble at Auburn University. Under the direction of William Powell, the group has represented the university at New York's Carnegie Hall, in northern Italy, and as an invited ensemble for the prestigious Alabama Music Educators Conference. The 40-plus-member group consists of students from throughout the university who represent a variety of majors and disciplines. They perform advanced choral literature including Renaissance madrigals, multi-movement masterworks, spirituals, jazz, and works by current composers.
 
DR. BARBARA ACKER-MILLS holds a PhD in psychology and a master’s degree in piano from the State University of New York at Binghamton. There she won the University Concerto Competition open to graduates and undergraduates on all instruments. While at Salem College in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Dr. Acker-Mills studied with acclaimed performer and pedagogical award winner Barbara Lister-Sink who said that Acker-Mills “demonstrated admirably at Salem that a petite frame is no deterrent to commanding and powerful playing.” Dr. Acker-Mills teaches psychology for Argosy University and in the music department at Auburn University. She performs primarily as a collaborative artist.

A native of Buford, Georgia, JACOB BROWN began his serious study of classical guitar at the age of 21. He currently studies at Columbus State University with Dr. Andrew Zohn. Since 2009, Jacob has competed in Columbus, Georgia’s Guitar Symposium and participated in other guitar festivals such as the Guitar Foundation of America and Appalachian Guitar Festival. During these festivals he has had master classes with Carloz Perez, David Russell, Michael Newman, Patrick Kearney, Stephen Aron and many others. At university he plays with guitar ensembles as well as with other vocalists and instrumentalists.

CHRISTINA BURROUGHS, lyric soprano, holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Vocal Performance from the University of Alabama and a Master of Music degree from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Christina has performed leading roles with California Theatre Center, Theatre West Virginia, Theatre Tuscaloosa, Opera Birmingham, BluePrint and Ensemble Parallele in San Francisco and Santa Cruz, and the San Jose Symphonic Choir. Past roles include: Die Zauberflöte (Pamina), Così fan tutte (Despina), La Bohème (Mimì), La Calisto (Giunone), La Traviata (Violetta), Le Nozze di Figaro (La Contessa), The Phantom of the Opera (Carlotta), Proof (Claire), Into the Woods (Rapunzel), The Tempest (Miranda), and Soprano soloist in the Mozart Requiem and Bach’s Matthaus-Passion. Christina is a native of Wetumpka, a proud alumnus of Edgewood Academy, and former Miss Lynx 1995. She is currently a Voice Instructor at Faulkner University, and teaches voice privately as well.

Trained in classical and semi-classical traditions of North Indian music, DR. S. RAJ CHAUDHURY has been performing and teaching college students for over 20 years. He has directed Indian music student ensembles at UCLA, Kansas State University, Christopher Newport University and now at Auburn University. A vocalist by training, Dr. Chaudhury plays harmonium, tabla, and tanpura. In 2009, Chaudhury became the Associate Director of Auburn Universtiy's Biggio Center for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning and has a background in physics education.

Among pianist TZU-YI CHEN’s many orchestra credits are the Taipei Symphony, the Saint Petersburg Symphony and the Utah Symphony. Her awards include first prize at both the National Taiwan Symphony Orchestra Piano Competition (2007) and at the International Piano Competition of Mauro Paolo Monopoli (2001). She has appeared as a recitalist throughout Taiwan and in broadcasts in Hong Kong and Germany. She earned a master's degree at Karlsruhe Music University in Germany and studied at the National Superior Conservatory of Paris. Tzu-yi is currently enrolled at Columbus State University working on her Artist Diploma in the studio of Alexander Kobrin.

Flutist STEPHANIE ERDMAN currently studies at Columbus State University with Dr. Andrée Martin. In 2012, she performed at the National Flute Association Convention. For the last two years of high school, Stephanie attended the Advanced Academy of Georgia at the University of West Georgia where she was active in its music department, studying flute with Melanie Fuller. She has spent time at workshops with flutists such as Michel Debost, Kathleen Chastain, Göran Marcusson and Stephen Preston. A native of Ringgold, Georgia, she studied with Norma Anderson. Stephanie helped charter her school’s chapter of Sigma Alpha Iota, a national music fraternity.


Upon arriving to teach music at GEORGE WASHINGTON CARVER ELEMENTARY SCHOOL in 2006, Mrs. Sarah Schrader formed the 3RD GRADE CHOIR. A year later, she formed the ADVANCED VIOLIN CLASS. Both are audition-only groups. The choir has performed for school productions, at events across Macon County and at the State PTA Convention in Montgomery. Each of the 15-25 third-grade students in the violin class borrows a violin from the school. They are responsible for practicing at home and for the wellbeing of their instruments. This class performs at county events including marching and playing in the 2011 Tuskegee Christmas parade.

Before becoming Coordinator of Accompanying at Auburn, LAURELIE GHEESLING served at Louisiana State University’s School of Music. She was the musical director for the LSU Opera Outreach Program and for fifteen years accompanied the Baton Rouge Symphony Chorus. Ms. Gheesling performed at the 7th International Alexander Technique Congress in Oxford, England. In 2003 she received the James Ronald Brothers Achievement in Accompanying Award of the Southern Division of the National Association of Teachers of Singing. She has been involved as a recitalist, leader and collaborator at Loyola and Tulane Universities in New Orleans and with the Louisiana Vocal Arts Chorale. Click here for an extended bio.

THOMAS HARBIN is a fourth-year Auburn University student from Mobile. He is earning a double major in piano performance and Spanish. He studies piano with Laurelie Gheesling and performs for university recitals as accompanist and soloist. He is a vocalist and multi-instrumentalist whose music crosses stylistic boundaries. He studies jazz with Dr. Mike Pendowski and performs at local events playing piano and singing. He intends to finish at Auburn in December of 2012 and pursue a graduate degree in music.

Michelle Huang
MICHELLE HUANG serves currently as Assistant Professor of Piano at Edward Waters College in Jacksonville, Florida. She has performed throughout the U.S. as well as in the Czech Republic, Italy, Switzerland, and Taiwan where she was born. Recently, she was broadcast on WUOT by the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. She taught in Tennessee at Walters State Community College in Sevierville and at Lincoln Memorial University in Harrogate. An advocate of mind and body wellness, Huang conducts performance anxiety workshops. Her degrees are from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the University of Tennessee, and Florida State University.

Cellist AHRIM KIM is a founding member of the Klimt Trio, awarded the Harvard Musical Association's Arthur Foote Award in 2011. Her honors include the Cassado Prize at Japan's Gaspar Cassado International Cello Competition. She has performed at Alice Tully Hall, the Salzburg Mozarteum, the Kennedy Center, and similar venues, and as soloist with the Boston Pops, the Houston Symphony Orchestra and others. She performs with the New York Classical Players and recently as principal cellist visiting the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. Before college, Kim studied at Juilliard and holds bachelor's and master's degrees from the New England Conservatory of Music.

The music of saxophonist and flutist PATRICK MCCURRY crosses boundaries between jazz and classical, pop and art, secular and sacred. Born and raised in Alabama and having returned home to Auburn, Patrick blogs in support of good music in and around his community. He performs with a chamber group, The Woodfield Trio, and holds a Masters degree in Chamber Music Performance from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. There, his instructor and mentor was James Houlik, international concert saxophone maestro. He studied jazz improvisation, composition and arranging while earning his undergraduate degree from Loyola University New Orleans.

DR. JEREMY SAMOLESKY, a native of Manitoba, Canada, has been Assistant Professor of Piano since 2007 at Auburn University. Jeremy has appeared in concert as a soloist and chamber pianist throughout Canada, the U. S., Italy, Aus-tria, Malaysia and Singapore, including a full recital at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, which was broadcast on National Public Radio's "Performance Today." He has achieved the rare distinction of holding two doctoral degrees from the Eastman School of Music as well as multiple honors, awards and scholarships from that school. These included the Barr Award, the Barbara M. King Scholarship, and first place in the Kneisel Lieder Competition among others. Among his festival appearances are Canada’s Banff Centre, the Adriatic Chamber Music Festival and the Chigiana Music Academy in Siena. He has premiered works by David Plylar and David Maslanka and was featured in a documentary on the music of Prokofiev. Click here for an extended bio.

SARAH SCHRADER, born in Hanceville, Alabama, earned her Bachelor of Music Education from Auburn University in 2006. She has been teaching music at George Washington Carver Elementary School in Tuskegee ever since. She started playing the violin at age three and was a regular member of the Alabama All-State Orchestra through middle and high school. Sarah studied vocal music education at Auburn and minored in violin performance. Aside from teaching a growing studio in the Auburn area, Sarah plays for weddings and events as a regular member of the Auburn String Quartet. She also directs the Trinity Lutheran Church choir.

Violinist ROBIN SCOTT currently holds the violin fellowship with the Montgomery Symphony Orchestra. Recent highlights include debuting with the Minnesota Symphony Orchestra and touring with Musicians from Marlboro. Among his top awards are winning the 2010 California International Young Artists Competition. As a soloist he has appeared with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, France’s Orchestre National de Lille and others. He has performed with Indiana University's "Violin Virtuosi," touring France and appearing at Carnegie Hall. Scott is concertmaster of the New York Classical Players. He earned his bachelor’s degree from the New England Conservatory and completed an Artist Diploma at Indiana.

MARY SLATON is known throughout the southeast as one of the region’s premier piano-lounge soloists. Over the years, she has entertained many with her extensive knowledge of popular music. Among Memphis venues, Mary has performed at the Hilton and the Hyatt Regency. In Atlanta, she has played the Omni Hotel, the Hilton, the Atlanta Country Club and others. At home in the Auburn-Opelika area, the Terra Cotta, the Saugahatchee Country Club and the Marriott have featured her. Mary holds piano degrees from Memphis State University and from the University of Montevallo. She teaches privately and at Southern Union Community College.

Auburn native JULIA TUCKER entered Auburn University at age 15 after playing piano for eight years. She majors in economics and piano performance, studying with Dr. Jeremy Samolesky. She is assistant organist and scholarship singer at St. Dunstan's Episcopal Church in Auburn and choir accompanist at Trinity Lutheran Church. She also sings renaissance polyphony and enjoys puzzles and drinking coffee.

LAURA USISKIN holds the Montgomery Symphony Orchestra's cello fellowship. She founded the Montgomery Music Project that provides stringed-instrument instruction to elementary schools there. She has premiered works and has performed with new music ensembles including Ensemble Pamplemousse and the Bang-On-A-Can All Stars. She has performed early music with the American Baroque Orchestra and Yale's Schola Cantorum among others. Laura has performed in the Kennedy Center, Alice Tully Hall, Siena’s Palazzo Chigi Saracini, and Boston’s Symphony Hall. Her talents were recognized most notably as sitting principal cellist on Juilliard’s 2006 USA orchestra tour. Laura holds a Bachelor of Arts in Neuroscience and Behavior from Columbia University and a Master of Music from Juilliard. She finished her doctoral coursework at Yale in 2009. In 2008 she received Yale’s Aldo Parisot prize given to a gifted cellist showing promise in a solo career. Click here for Laura's website.

NANCY VINSON is principal flutist with the Montgomery Symphony Orchestra. She has played with the group for over 20 years. As a soloist most recently, in 2009, she performed J. S. Bach’s Suite in B Minor with the orchestra. A teacher for over 35 years, Ms. Vinson has produced a prize-winning legacy of young flutists. Many have placed in Alabama’s All-State bands and orchestra, four being the state’s top high-school flutists. Some have performed at national conventions and won national competitions. She holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Auburn and a Master of Music from the University of Mississippi. A Past President of the Alabama Music Teachers Association and a Certified Teacher of Music in Flute, she recently helped design the Flute Certification Examination for the Music Teachers National Association. She and her husband, Johnnie, live in Auburn. Their two sons, Lee and Ed are both professional musicians.

The Woodfield Trio
Based in Auburn, Alabama, THE WOODFIELD TRIO was formed in 2009 to be the regular performing chamber group for the weekly lunchtime series at the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art. Its members are Patrick McCurry on flute and saxophones, pianist Barbara Acker-Mills and cellist Charles Wright. The trio performs traditional piano-trio repertoire, pieces for flute and basso continuo, and music adapted or composed for its instrumentations. Patrick holds degrees in chamber music and jazz. Barbara teaches psychology and music and studied with Barbara Lister-Sink. Charles leads string group The Auburn Quartet and performs with the Montgomery Symphony Orchestra.

CHARLES WRIGHT is cellist and leader of the Auburn Quartet, a string quartet in the East Alabama and West Georgia area. Having been a member of the Auburn Community Orchestra since 1985, he now plays principal cello for the group and is president of its board. He performs in the Montgomery Symphony Orchestra and is involved with the Auburn Chamber Music Society in which capacity he founded this chamber music series. Mr. Wright is passionate about classical music and plays a significant role in cultivating its growth and influence in the Auburn community.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Some Questions for ATL Saxophonist Kenyon Carter (Upcoming Concert: 8/12/12)

Kenyon Carter
Anticipating his concert tomorrow (Sunday, 8/12) at St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Columbus, Georgia, I posed a few questions to Atlanta saxophonist Kenyon Carter. There's a bit more about the event in my last post, or go to Columbus Jazz Society's website (columbusjazzsociety.com) that is updated regularly with information about its upcoming performances.

You can find Kenyon's album and links to his books of transcriptions at his website: kenyoncarter.com.

###

PMc: What is it about Atlanta and the south that keeps you living and playing around here?

KC: Well, I was born and raised in south Georgia (Tifton) and I just love the south. I've only been in Atlanta since 2007 and love the people, the city, the skyline, the weather, and especially the amazing musicians on the jazz scene. Atlanta is also so close to all of the other great southern venues. It is a perfect place to call home. The best thing about Atlanta for me, though, is that it's where my wife is!

PMc: You are part of the Auburn-originated band Kidd Blue and I know that Coleman Woodson, III, from Montgomery will be playing on the concert in Columbus. How did you start making connections to the Alabama music scene?

KC: I joined Kidd Blue when I moved to Atlanta in 2007 thanks to my good friend and KB keyboard / trumpet player, Andy David (drummer's brother). I'd been playing with their band, the David Brothers Band, for a few years before moving to Atlanta. I met Coley on Kidd Blue gigs and Tim Chambliss (KB's leader) has had us both on many jazz gigs over the years. Tim books me at Piccolo pretty often as well and I've gotten to know a lot of great Alabama players through that gig too.

PMc: Your latest album, Right by My Side, tends toward the smooth side of jazz. I know from live listening that you have straight-ahead chops, too. Do you identify more with either of these? Are there other areas of music that you gravitate toward?

KC: Great question! I'm a huge fan of music that grooves, regardless of style. I love [Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, Dexter Gordon], and all the masters of straight-ahead but I also love Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Prince, etc., and even Rascal Flats, John Mayer, and tons of other current pop artists.

While I love straight-ahead jazz, and I'd say I spend most of my practice time in that style, I find myself being most influenced as a composer by pop music. When I sit down to write, I'm finding that those "groove" influences tend to dominate and I'm just trying to write music that feels good above all else.

PMc: Who are you listening to these days?

KC: It really depends on the situation. On the jazz side of things, I always come back to Cannonball [Adderly] but I have really been into Hank Mobley lately and just wrote a Sonny Rollins transcription book last year. There's also always a bit of Chris Potter and Michael Brecker in the mix.

I've also just recently gotten into Jeff Lorber's last couple of albums. I love the way he merges pop-jazz and straight-ahead.

PMc: Tell us about the players in the band for tomorrow's gig?

KC: These are some of my favorite players around! Coley is on keys and John David is on drums. The three of us have worked together as a trio quite a bit and those two guys play SO well together! They're coming from the same place conceptually as far as time/groove/swing is concerned and it's an absolute blast to play with them! Tim Aucoin, a native of New Orleans, fills out the rhythm section on bass. Tim is one of the hardest swinging players you'll ever hear and he always brings joy to the stage. I think we've really got a great group for the Columbus gang and I can't wait!

###

Friday, August 10, 2012

Terrific Band led by Atlanta Saxophonist Kenyon Carter To Play in Columbus

This Sunday (8/12) in Columbus from 6-9 EDT, the Columbus Jazz Society will hold its monthly concert and jam session. Headlining will be Atlanta saxophonist Kenyon Carter who is often heard in Auburn at Piccolo and gigs around town. He will have with him a fantastic bass player named Tim Aucoin who is an award winning high-school orchestra teacher in Atlanta. I heard Tim play a good bit in New Orleans. He was known then for his deeply funky electric bass playing and is a phenomenal acoustic player as well. On piano, Tyrone Jackson will join Kenyon who has a tremendous reputation in the region as one of the very best players. I'm writing this on the fly, and don't have at my fingertips who the drummer will be, but this will be a very, very good band. The concert will not be at its regular venue. It will play at St. Thomas Episcopal Church due to road construction around the Liberty Theatre. Click the CJS link above for the address and more about the jam session and food and drink available.

UPDATE: Personnel has changed a bit since I last checked with Kenyon. Here are the players:

Coleman Woodson, III - keys
Tim Aucoin - Bass
John David - drums

There are other things coming up, but this is all I have time for at the moment. Kenyon's website is kenyoncarter.com.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Artists of ATL's Sunset Jazz and the Bios Who Love Them

On August 18 at 6:00 EDT, Atlanta's Delta Classic Chastain Park Ampitheater will present Sunset Jazz (event page). I get excited to see an event title like this one. National-scene artists are hard to come by in the south, and when it's billed as jazz, I tend to expect (for some reason) music from at least the middle of the spectrum. But these are smooth jazz, instrumental pop, and R&B artists and, with one exception, are outside of my usual listening rotation. That being said, this should be a very entertaining show. But they might think about changing the name to Sunset Jazzy.

I would like to survey the opening sentences from the bios, displayed on the Ampitheater's event page, of the six featured artists. I hear that successful musicians are often beholden to managers, publicists and record labels who have great influence on what gets put out there about them. So any implied criticism is not necessarily directed at the performers. As a writer and editor of artist bios, mainly for the series I coordinate at the museum, I could certainly produce some criticism, but I won't. Instead, I'll highlight one that to me stands out as being good. It's from the one artist who has actually established himself as an accomplished improvisor, who wields a sound that I think defines a subset of jazz, and whose influence I hear throughout the genre. I've put his last.

"Women love Will Downing. And men love the women who love Will Downing."

"Her name is legendary." (Lalah Hathaway)

"After eleven inspired albums that have passionately surveyed a broad spectrum of musical styles and prominently featured many of music’s finest players, R&B/Jazz multi-instrumentalist Brian Culbertson decided to keep conceptualism to a minimum and simply title his twelfth album XII (the Roman numeral for twelve)."

"Gerald Albright began to master his talent by working extensively in the studio with such artists as Patrice Rushen, Anita Baker, Ray Parker, Jr., Lola Folana, Atlantic Starr, The Winans, Olivia Newton-John, The Temptations, and Maurice White."

"GRAMMY® Award winner Norman Brown is on close intimate terms with his audience."

"One of the most commercially successful American saxophonists to earn prominence since the 1980s, David Sanborn has released 24 albums, won six Grammy Awards, and has had eight Gold albums and one Platinum album."

Anyway, the truly great David Sanborn will be there, and I'll list the websites of all the artists below so you can check them out. There's some good music here.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Auburn Knights Alumni Big-Band Event This Weekend, Sanborn and Branford in ATL, More

Above is a video playlist of samples of each of the Auburn Knights era bands performing at the 2011 reunion. All of the videos are from the YouTube channel of Procat (procatav), the production company who engineered the concerts.
This weekend will mark the 82nd anniversary of the Auburn Knights Orchestra (current band site). The band's alumni hold a reunion each year resulting in two nights of performances by multiple big bands that include personnel from every decade of the band's existence since the 1930s. Yes, at least one of these players is in his 90s, and several are in their 80s. More impressive might be that a large group are in their 20s and 30s. The group suspects that it is the longest running regional big band in the world. The event will be at the thoroughly named Auburn Marriott Opelika Hotel & Conference Center at Grand National (hotel page) with music on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights (7/19-7/21). Thursday, the Jane Drake Trio will host a jam session at the Marriott which will be set up "near the restaurant" according to her Facebook announcement. The big band concerts will be Friday, 7-10 PM, and Saturday, 7-11 PM with the current band playing at 10 on Saturday. You can find out a little more about the event and a lot more about the group and its members at the Auburn Knights Alumni Association's website.


Other Local Events: Opelika Series, Jazz at Piccolo and Ham's
 
My summer posts are few and far between, so I'll try to look forward a little farther than usual. You can go to my Event Sources page if I am quiet and you want to look around for yourself.

The Arts Association of East Alabama has recently announced its 2012-13 series. This one looks very, very good. If you go to AAEA's website, you'll literally have five ways to preview the series. A simple listing, maybe my favorite, is at this link. You can get to the other four ways on the "Up Close & Personal" page. I enjoyed the Kyle Gassoitt interview of director Phillip Preston for Troy University Public Radio's Community Focus. Included is jazz singer Dianne Reeves, the National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba (Phillip said in the interview that it was a "coup" to get them here.), the Del McCoury Band (distant cousin, I'm sure), classical performers (some edgy, some flashy, all with skills), and two well-known shows and a show star singer. The first performance will be organist Cameron Carpenter on September 27, 2012.

Though PiccoloMAL, the lounge at Auburn University Hotel and Conference Center, may be set up a little differently due to renovations, jazz is continuing on Fridays and Saturdays. It usually announces the headliners a couple of days in advance on the website. Tim Chambliss (Twitter feed), whose Four Star Music sets up the gigs, also usually posts it in a useful Facebook group called Alabama Jazz Musicians. The Jane Drake Trio's Thursday gig will be off until August, except for the aforementioned jam session at the Marriott this week. Jazz brunch at Ariccia is also on break during the month of July.

As for me, I'll be playing with a couple of the Knights alumni bands this weekend. Then on Monday, August 6, from 6:30 to 9:00 PM, I'll be at Hamilton's on MagnoliaFBS, this time with bassist Sidney Simmons to mix it up a little from the usual (and awesome) sax-guitar duo setting.


Columbus Jazz, Montgomery Simulcasts

Atlanta's Kenyon Carter, often locally heard at Piccolo, will be playing for Columbus Jazz Society's monthly event at the Liberty Theatre on August 12. Also, jazz continues at The Loft each Friday. This week (7/20) will be the Solar QuintetMAL. E-mail columbusjazzsociety@knology.net to get on the Society's list for upcoming events by CJS and at The Loft.

Fathom EventsMAL is who pushes through music and other special showings at the Rave Motion Pictures Festival Plaza 16 in Montgomery. I noticed at the site that on Wednesday (7/18) the theater will feature The Metropolitan Opera's production of Gaetano Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor. You can get tickets online here. Another opera, Richard Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier will play there next Wednesday (7/25). Get tickets to that one here. More about The Met's Live in HD series at this link.


Atlanta Concerts by David Sanborn, Branford Marsalis

On August 18, Atlanta's Delta Classic Chastain Park Ampitheater will present Sunset Jazz (event page). Among others, the great saxophonist David Sanborn will be featured.

The first concert of Emory University's Flora Glenn Candler Concert Series in Atlanta will be An Evening with Saxophonist Branford Marsalis on September 21. Marsalis is a versatile player often crossing the river of jazz from mainstream bands to classical music. So I should say that this quartet's new album, hilariously titled Four MFs Playin' Tunes, and its personnel reveals that this performance should, for most listeners (even Wynton, probably) rest squarely in the jazz category. Joining Marsalis will be Joey Calderazzo on piano, Eric Revis on bass and Justin Faulkner on drums. These are top players on the world jazz scene.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Jason Crane Arrives in Auburn!

Great jazz interviewer and traveling poet Jason Crane is in town! He arrived yesterday to the 104-degree Columbus, Georgia Greyhound station. Last night he read some of his poems at The Gnu's Room, and I caught some pictures, embedded at right. Actually the slide show at right is all my Flickr pictures tagged with "Jason Crane", so by the time you read this, it may have more than just last night.

He also made it to our premier jazz venue, Piccolo, the lounge at the Auburn University Hotel and Conference Center. There was a very good lineup that included Atlanta saxophonist Taylor Kennedy, pianist Jonathan Lynn, bassist Sidney Simmons and Atlanta drummer Jared Lanham on drums. I'm trying to be cool, but Crane with his interview show, The Jazz Session, is on my favorite celebrities list, for sure. We're hanging out, and I'm talking a lot, which is what I do when I'm nervous.

Jason will speak tonight, again at The Gnu's Room, at 7:00 PM. This time, he'll share about his interviews and his tour which started June 1. He keeps his tour diary on his personal and poetry blog. Here's the link to yesterday's entry: "Tour Diary: What's Gnu" at jasoncrane.org. In my last post, I wrote more about tonight's event which will feature some of my original music to Jason's poetry. I would love to see you there!

After the TGR event, we have options for music tonight. Piccolo MAL will have Montgomery saxophonist Coleman Woodson, Jr., headlining from 8-11 PM with no cover. I think there will be jazz* at Auburn's Balcony Bar (114 West Magnolia Avenue) as well to warm up the crowd before 11:00 when Big Deal Burlesque, a New Orleans Burlesque show featuring Roxie le Rouge will begin. I'm dead serious. Here's a link to the Facebook event page. We might also go check out a funk/jam band I've been wanting to hear live but have not yet had the chance, namely, The Good Doctor (reverbnation.com page) who will play at Bourbon St. Bar (103 N. College St.), $5 cover. Why don't our bars have websites?

See you out there!

*UPDATE: No jazz at Balcony Bar. Opening for Roxie will be guitar duo the Tim Friedman Trio. I said that right.