'Tis the weekend before Thanksgiving and you've got plenty of choices. Here's a quick look at several events that I wish I were attending.
Middletown-based pianist-composer Noah Baerman cites Mr. Steveland Morris as an influence. Music lovers know Mr. Morris as Stevie Wonder, whose music has permeated the airwaves for over 4 decades. Noah, bassist Henry Lugo and drummer Vinnie Sperrazza will be performing the world premiere of "Fulfillingness' First Finale" (in its entirety) on Friday November 19 at 7:30 p.m. in the Chase-Bear Experimental Theater on the campus of Choate-Rosemary Hall in Wallingford. The program includes such Wonder-ful tunes as "You Haven't Done Nothin'", "Creepin'", "Boogie on Reggae Woman", "They Won't Go When I Go" and others. For ticket information, go to https://www.choate.edu/calendars/events.aspx.
The following night, the NBTrio heads for Brooklyn, NY, to give the audience at IBeam a taste of the Wonder music. That show starts at 8 p.m. and you can find out much more by going to http://www.ibeambrooklyn.com.
Mr. Baerman also has an informative blog housed on his website - www.noahjazz.com - and I recommend you visit him there.
Firehouse 12, 45 Crown Street in New Haven, also has a busy weekend with 2, not just 1, fine evenings of music. On Friday, the performance space welcomes Ches Smith & These Arches for shows at 8:30 and 10 p.m. Drummer-composer Smith, who has worked with Wadada Leo Smith and Nels Cline (among many), loves to play with sound and he has 3 fine collaborators in Tony Malaby (tenor saxophone), Andrea Parkins (accordion, organ, electronics) and Firehouse favorite Mary Halvorson (guitar). The foursome's debut CD, "Finally Out of My Hands", has just been issued on Skirl Records - the music literally dares you to put a label on it (esoterica? punk-jazz? - not worth it, just enjoy.) The band can be thunder-storm loud and whisper soft.
On Saturday, the Firehouse welcomes 2 ensembles associated with the New Haven Improvisers Collective for an evening of fascinating sounds. Set 1 (8:30 p.m.) features NHIC Atlas, a group with Steve Asetta (saxophones), Nathan Bontrager (cello), Bob Gorry (guitar), Jaime Paul Lamb (bass), Adam Matlock (clarinet), and Steve Zieminski (drums, percussion). Set 2 (10 p.m.) belongs to Mayhem Circus Electric and that ensemble features Pete Brunelli (electric bass), Jeff Cedrone (guitar), Bob Gorry (guitar), Paul McGuire (soprano and alto saxophone), Nate Trier (keyboards), John Venter (bass clarinet), Steve Zieminski (drums, percussion). One ticket gets you in to both sets and the adventurous music is worth exploring For more information about these and other shows, go to www.firehouse12.com. To learn more about NHIC, go to www.nhic-music.org.
Guitarist and NHIC leader Bob Gorry can be heard every Thursday from 6 - 8 a.m. on WNHU-FM, 88.7 in New Haven - the show is streamed live on http://wnhu.net.
Reviews return next week in between getting ready for the Thanksgiving onslaught and other responsibilities. Have a great holiday! Go dig some live music.