Friday, February 28, 2014

Guitarist, Composer Francois Fowler to Play Goodwin Hall Thursday, 3/6/14

Francois Fowler performing his composition, Meditiation. Video is from GuitarDana's YouTube channel.
Guitarist Francois Fowler is completing a short concert tour of colleges and universities in Alabama, Georgia, Ohio, and South Carolina. He will play Goodwin Hall (map) on Thursday, March 6, 2014, at 7:30 PM. The recital will feature bluegrass music, Spanish music, music by J.S. Bach, and three of Fowler’s own compositions including his latest, Wavelength Sonata. Click here for the event page with full program info.

From his bio...

Guitarist Francois Fowler has given recitals in the United States, Canada and the recipient of national and international prizes...A faculty member at the Dana School of Music (Youngstown State University, Ohio)...For more information please visit

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Museum Now Hosting Weekly Jazz Every Thursday Evening

Last year, the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art changed its hours to include being open late every Thursday night. It added Thursday-night programming like films and lectures and opened the café serving drinks and appetizers.

Starting last week, it started hosting jazz every Thursday for the after-hours patrons. The music starts at 4:45 and continues until the film or lecture for that night begins, usually 6:00. Charlotte Hendrix did a post about this on the museum's blog here: Bring your friends (and the weekend) a little closer

[UPDATE 3/12/2014: Start time for jazz is now 6:00. End time will usually be 8:00 except on the third Thursday when there's an open poetry group, the Third Thursday Poetry Series that meets in the café at 7:00.]

[UPDATE 3/20/2014: Unfortunately there will be no jazz or café after hours on March 27, 2014 due to a private event. This will not affect normal 10-5 museum operations and programs.]

Guitarist Dan Mackowski, bassist Jason DeBlanc and myself will be the regular trio for the event, though that will morph from time to time.

For instance this Thursday (2/27), I will be playing at the Saugahatchee Country Club with the Mary Slaton Trio for the Lee County Literacy Coalition's event (details at this Auburn-Opelika Tourism calendar page). But Dan and Jason will play duo jazz at the museum.

Dan plays jazz standards like no one else in town. He approaches them with a finger-picking style, using lots of open strings, creating an ambient sound that fills up the reverberant museum halls. It reminds me of the way Bill Frisell plays.

Above is embedded a track of Dan playing his original piece, "Before the Fall." It's more of an ambient improvisation, and not exactly the kind of thing he plays when he's doing jazz. But you'll get the idea of his style.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Gospel Jazz at the Museum Tomorrow (2/20), Langston Hughes Jazz-Poetry Event Tonight and Tomorrow (2/19-20)

The David Banks Gospel Jazz Ensemble returns to A Little Lunch Music tomorrow. There should soon be a post from me on the museum's blog with a little more info. If it doesn't turn up, the free concert will be noon to 1:00 PM in the auditorium at the Jule Collins Museum of Fine Art.

There's some video of David's group in a previous post of mine, where I talked about his weekly Jazz-Up Weekend e-mail list that you should subscribe to.

I just returned from rehearsing with them in Columbus. Aside from the easy-going jazz-Gospel arrangements and a David Banks original, come enjoy the violin solos of Janie Weise and the versatility of trumpeter Michael Johnson. Johnson also plays a mean keytar solo, and will trade scat lines with vocalist Rusty Taylor! David's wife Barbara Banks will also be in the group sharing lead vocals with Rusty. It will be fun.

Malcolm-Jamal Warner, Ron McCurdy in Auburn for Black History Month

Tonight I will actually be going to something as an audience member, which is very rare for me. It's strange that it's rare, especially as much as I seem to profess arts advocacy, but there it is. I'll be at the Foy Union Auditorium to hear actor Malcolm-Jamal Warner read the poetry of Langston Hughes for Hughes's Ask Your Mama: Twelve Moods for Jazz. It will feature the Ron McCurdy Quartet.

I would have worked harder to publicize this earlier if when I called the other day, they hadn't told me there were only four tickets left out of 400ish. More about what you'll be missing on McCurdy's website FBS MAL and at this Wire Eagle news story:

Malcolm-Jamal Warner and Ron McCurdy Quartet to perform Langston Hughes’ ‘Ask Your Mama: Twelve Moods for Jazz’ at Auburn University

Maybe I'll review it.

[UPDATE (2/19/2014): I should have publicized this better, as there were hundreds of seats available at the performance. Next time, I won't trust that everyone will claim their reserved tickets to a free show. The good news is that from the stage, Dr. McCurdy announced that the group will repeat the performance in Tuskegee tomorrow night, 2/20. I am looking for details, but can't find them.]

Friday, February 14, 2014


Eleven years ago,
There was a moon.
It's still there.

May 28, 2013

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Two Bands Will Perform for Auburn Knights Orchestra's Valentine Swing Dance

Once again, The Auburn Knights Orchestra ( will hold its Valentine's Day Swing Dance, this time at the Downtown Event Center in Opelika. I wrote about the group's dances in a post last December, and the terrifically successful formula will be the same. Free dance lessons start at 7:00 PM, and the music goes from 8:00-11:00. Admission is only $10.

This time, the Auburn Knights Alumni Association has organized a band for the event to split the work with the current band. I'll (AKO '87-'88) actually be with the alumni band starting at 9:00. The current AKO will do sets at 8:00 and 10:00.

Here's a link to the event page at the Downtown Event Center.
Here's a link to the Facebook event page.

Classic Romantic Songs in French, English and Arabic for Valentine's Day Lunch Music

Marc Karam
From Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art:

Rescheduled from Thursday because of weather, on Friday, February 14, from noon to 1:00 p.m. in the Martin-Perricone Auditorium, A Little Lunch Music welcomes back pianist and vocalist Marc Karam. It’s Valentine’s Day! The free concert will include love songs in three languages. Songs like “La Vie en Rose,” and “Speak Softly Love” will share the program with French and Arabic songs you may have never heard. Thank you to our sponsor, Sue Haygood.

Read more at this link to the museum's blog:
"A Little Lunch Music" Rescheduled for Friday, February 14.

If you would, please share this Lunch-Music change to as many people as you can. With such short notice, and with Thursday's concerts being regular for so long, it will need a little extra attention.

Cut and paste below for a Facebook status:

A Little Lunch Music at the museum was rescheduled for Valentine's Day this week! Marc Karam will sing classic, romantic songs in English, French and Arabic. More here:

On Twitter, tweet this:

Free Valentine's Day concert @JCSMAuburn noon-1pm! Marc Karam sings classic romantic songs in 3 languages. Café open.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Brooklyn-based band, The Lone Bellow, Play Opelika on Feb. 22, 2014

The Lone Bellow performing on NPR Music's YouTube channel.
Cottonseed Live Presents The Lone Bellow ( in Opelika, Feb. 22 at 8:00 PM at the Lebanon Arts District, 715 N 1st Ave. This will be the band's only southeast date until May, 2014. At right is video of them doing an NPR Tiny Desk Concert.

One special guest will be Jen Coates, and another will be The Hedgerow Folk (Facebook page, YouTube video). Tickets are $17 at the box office at the Arts Association of East Alabama. Call 334.749.8105 or order online. More information is at the Cottonseed Live page here:

The Lone Bellow
Cottonseed Live is a monthly concert series in Downtown Opelika presented by Cottonseed Studios & East Alabama Arts.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

More about Emory Musicians at Lunch Music Thursday (2/6/14) and Tzu-yi Chen's Carnegie Hall Effort

My last post (link here with video!) mentioned the great fortune we have of being able to welcome William Ransom and Yinzi Kong to A Little Lunch Music Thursday, Feb. 6, 2014. Below is a link to a post with considerably more information, including the full program, that I did for the museum's blog:

A Little Lunch Music Welcomes Violinist and Pianist from Emory University, Additional Music from Tzu-yi Chen.

Note that as the title suggests, Tzu-yi Chen will be providing some additional music at 1:00 since last week's lunch music was cancelled due to weather. Click the link to find out what she'll play!

And here is a link to the museum's A Little Lunch Music schedule page where you can read the artists' full bios. If you are reading this past the date of performance, the bios will have been removed. Once it's over, I intend to post an archive of the season somewhere on this site that shouldn't be too hard to find.

Tzu-yi Raising Money for Carnegie Hall Performance

Tzu-yi Chen
Many of us are very familiar with Tzu-yi and her amazing talent. You can search this blog for several references to her ever since she started playing concerts for A Little Lunch Music as a Columbus State University student.

She has now graduated with her Artist Diploma, and is a busy working musician in Columbus. She is also navigating the harrowing process of gaining residency in the US while she builds a performance career.

Part of that career involves recently being accepted to participate in a performance series at Carnegie Hall. The effort is with Distinguished Concerts International New York, and involves fairly significant cost. It was scheduled for last year, but has been postponed until this fall.

A deadline for part of the participation fee is coming up next week. If you would like to donate to this effort, make checks to...

International Friendship Ministries (
3404 University Ave. // Columbus, GA  31907
Ph: 706-653-0097 // e-mail:

Note in the memo of your check that the gift is to support Tzu-yi Chen. She is on staff at, and is co-founder of, the Ministries' art school. Below is her updated bio.


In 2006, Taiwanese pianist Tzu-yi Chen joined the ranks of some of history’s greatest musicians, receiving the Premier Prix upon graduation from the Paris Conservatory. Ms. Chen performs actively as soloist, collaborative artist, and church musician, and has been invited by Distinguished Concerts International New York to debut at Carnegie Hall in October 2014. In 2012, she appeared in a series of concerts in Taiwan and was featured performing Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Third Concerto with the National Taiwan Symphony Orchestra.

She believes that it is her passion and diligent work ethic that has afforded her many notable awards in the United States, Russia, Germany and Taiwan. Among those recently are first prize in the Georgia Music Teachers National Association upper college level (2013), first prize in the Atlanta Music Club Scholarship Competition (2012), first prize in Columbus State University’s concerto competition at its Schwob School of Music in Columbus, Georgia (2012), and fourth prize in the Darmstadt International Chopin competition in Germany (2009).

In 2011, Ms. Chen obtained her Master of Music in piano performance and “Solistexamen,” the highest diploma of piano performance in the National Karlsruhe Music University in Germany, where she held a lectureship of piano as well. In 2013 with a full scholarship, she completed the Artist Diploma program at CSU. There, she served as graduate teaching assistant to Van Cliburn gold medalist Alexander Kobrin. After graduation, CSU immediately hired her as a staff pianist and also as Piano and Violin Instructor in its Preparatory Division.

Ms. Chen is a co-founder of the International Friendship Ministries Arts Academy in Columbus.