Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Piano-lounge at the Museum, Martha's Trouble, Local Jazz (Me Included), More

With the approach of another deep-south summer, our quaint townships grow quainter. We lose the cultural momentum enforced by the churning gears of our schools, and the artistic landscape of the plains turns a bit more desertic. But like a desert, there is life, and life enough to sustain other life.

Tomorrow (Thursday, 5/3) at noon, Opelika pianist Mary Slaton will perform for the lunch-music series at the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art. I play with Mary in her trio (website), and am surprised on a regular basis at the skill of her approach to popular music from the last 70 years or so--not that I should be surprised. Mary is classically trained and has played extensively in a couple of big markets, one being Memphis. Her voicings are rich and full, Memphis's blues is a strong influence on her playing, and she clearly loves the music she plays. Piano-lounge music is sometimes something you can put in the background for a classy ambiance, and you should do that tomorrow. Eat at the café and take in the exhibits while Mary plays. But in this case, I would suggest taking a few minutes to sit down and listen. There's more about this series elsewhere on this website.

Sorry I didn't get this post done in time to let you know about Martha's Trouble (website) performing at East Alabama Arts Association's own lunchtime series, Food for Thought, today (5/2). If you don't know, this is an Auburn-based pop/folk duo, but I wouldn't exactly call them a local band. They have tour dates outside of the south, 11 or so CDs released and a merchandising strategy. I went with my 2-year-old to the show today. They are promoting a new CD of lullabies, and the music sounds really nice. This is the most highly polished local group I have heard around here. They have very strong songwriting chops and solid musicianship. Music from the CD, A Little Heart Like You should be embedded immediately below this paragraph. They have several dates coming up locally this Summer. I'll try to keep up.

Jazz in Auburn and Columbus

UPDATE: I'll not be at Hamilton's on Magnolia FBS Monday night (5/7) playing jazz with guitarist Patrick Bruce from 6:30 to 9:00. We're usually doing this the first Monday of each month, now, but not this time. The food is delicious, martinis are half-price on Mondays and there's some nice outdoor seating. There's no online schedule posted, but there is live music most every Monday, just not this date.

Also, this weekend, jazz continues at Piccolo and Ariccia at the Auburn University Hotel and Conference Center. Thursday (5/3) you can hear Jane Drake OOD. She usually sings with bassist Sidney Simmons and pianist Jonathan Lynn. A few weeks back I got to hear Simmons and Lynn play with another AU student, drummer Hunter Jackson, on the jazz half of Mike Pendowski's faculty recital. Mike is the new jazz/saxophone instructor at AU. It was a very good performance from all of the players, and I just wanted to add that Jonathan's piano playing was startlingly good.

Piccolo has been listing its weekend headliners on the Sounds page MAL of its website lately. At the moment, it's showing last week's players, but keep checking. Music there on Thursday, Friday and Saturday (UPDATE:  Stan Murray from Columbus) nights (5/3-5/5) is from 8-11 PM. Ariccia will do its weekly jazz brunch from 11-2 on Sunday (5/6).

UPDATE: At Piccolo, it will be Troy saxophonist La'roy Bodiford on Friday and Columbus saxophonist Stan Murray on Saturday.

Tuskegee's Bill Perry will be playing jazz with a trio at Columbus's The Loft this Friday (5/4) from 7-9 Eastern time. He'll be with Eric Buchannan on drums and Ed Robinson on bass.

I didn't look too deeply for this week's post. There could be more going on. Visit my Event Sources page to check for yourself.

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