Thursday, August 11, 2011

Elm City Live

'Tis a busy weekend in New Haven with 2 big days of music including the return of the New Haven Jazz Festival on Saturday.

But, first, on Friday, venture down to Bru Cafe, 141 Orange Street, for the opening night of the 2-day Uncertainty Music Series.  Curated by bassist/composer/conceptualist Carl Testa, the first show features Bird Fly Yellow, String 4Tet and the duo of Testa & Adam Matlock. Bird Fly Yellow features the brass work of Joe Moffett (trumpet) and Dan Blacksburg (trombone) paired with the rhythm section of Matt Engle (bass) and Dave Flaherty (drums). String 4Tet combines the sounds of Nathan Bontrager (cello) and Al Margolis (violin) with James Ilgenfritz (bass) and Ben Shirley (guitar). Testa & Matlock blends accordion, string bass and electronics to create many fascinating sounds.  The music starts at 7:30 p.m.

The following night at 8 p.m., the Series moves to Never Ending Books, 810 State Street, to present the fascinating quartet of Kyoko Kitamura (voice), Anne Rhodes (voice), Nathan Bontrager (cello) and Adam Matlock (accordion). Both vocalists do amazing things with their voices to further the music; they create sonic images that can surprise and challenge the listener. Ms. Kitamura has recorded with cornetist Taylor Ho Bynum, the Laura Andel Orchestra, and flautist Jamie Baum and co-leads the adventurous quartet known as ok|ok.  Ms. Rhodes did her graduate work at Wesleyan, working closely with Professors/composers Alvin Lucier and Anthony Braxton as well as Jay Hoggard (jazz vocals) and B. Balasubramian (South Indian music.)  With Messrs. Matlock and Bontrager, she is an integral part of the chamber music trio Broadcloth.

For more information, go to or to check out all the exciting events.

Speaking of Assistant Professor of Music at Wesleyan Jay Hoggard, he's the headliner for Saturday's New Haven Jazz Festival to be held on the New Haven Green from 4:30 - 9 p.m.

The music starts with the Ryan Sands Quartet.  The drummer/bandleader is the younger brother of rising piano talent Christian Sands and will front a group that features trumpeter Adam O'Farrill (the son of composer Arturo O'Farrill), bassist Daryl Johns (son of drummer Steve Johns) and guitarist Gabe Schnider.  Following them at 5 p.m. will be a quartet led by another drummer, Hartford native Jonathan Barber.  His high-powered band features the excellent trumpeter Jeremy Pelt, pianist Zaccai Curtis (another Hartford native) and bassist Stephen Porter.  Ed Fast & Conga-Bop takes the stage at 5:45 for a high-powered set of Latin-flavored music.  Drummer Fast, also a Connecticut-based musician, has worked with the likes of Chita Rivera, Paul Anka and Aretha Franklin while maintaining his popular octet.

If you are one of the many who flocked to the Long Wharf Theater in New Haven to see the exciting production of "Ella" (yes, about the great jazz vocalist Ella Fitzgerald), you'll be thrilled to know that the person who played and sang the title role, Ms. Tina Fabrique, will be gracing the Green stage at 7 p.m. With her years of work on the stage and in nightclubs, Ms. Fabrique has built quite the repertoire.

As mentioned, vibraphonist Jay Hoggard will be the headliner and he's bringing his Africaribbean Vibes octet to entertain the crowd.  Featuring the former New Haven resident (and super guy) Dwight Andrews (saxophones), long-time associate James Weidman (piano), Belden Bullock (bass), Tony Lombardozzi (guitar), fellow Wesleyan associate Pheroan akLaff (drums) and a percussion section consisting of Asher DeLerme, Jawara Brian Gray and Middletown resident Kwakuu Martin Obeng, this music will get you off the ground and dancing (yes, you can dance to jazz.) And, the whole evening of music is free!

For more information, go to - they are the fine folks who put the event together.

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