Sunday, September 16, 2012

You Got Alive a Little, Alive a Lot!

The trio of Kris Davis (piano), Ingrid Laubock (tenor saxophone) and Tyshawn Sorey (drums percussion) come to Firehouse 12, 45 Crown Street in New Haven this coming Friday September 21.  Collectively known as Paradoxical Frog, they play music that is challenging, exciting, multi-directional and dynamically impressive (truly "a whisper to a scream.")  They have 2 CDs, both issued on Clean Feed Recordings, but seem to thrive better in the "live" setting.

Paradoxical Frog plays 2 sets - 8:30 and 10 p.m. - and you can find out more by going to or calling 203-785-0468.  To get a taste of the trio's music, go to

If hot guitar licks and soulful blues grooves are more to your liking, the Robert Cray Band is in the midst of a tour that brings the quartet to the Warner Theatre in Torrington this Friday. Cray, who's been on the concert and club circuit for nearly 4 decades, just issued his latest CD, "Nothin' But Love" (Nozzle Records) and it is his best in years.  Featuring his crackling solos and chunky rhythm work as well as his r'n'b-influenced vocals, the 11 tracks (several of which feature excellent horn arrangements) jump out at the listener for their creative take on the blues. Bassist Richard Cousins, an original member of the group, rejoined the RCB several years ago and reviews have said that the group sounds revitalized.  Rounding out the RCB is Jim Pugh (keyboards) and the hard-rocking drums of Tony Braunagel (who joined the band around the time Cousins returned.)  Enjoy the hits ("Strong Persuader", "Phone Booth" and "The Forecast (Calls for Pain") but check out the new material.

Opening the show at 7:30 p.m. is guitarist Kenny Wayne Shepherd and his Band - Shepherd burst onto the blues scene with a huge bang early in the 21st Century and continues to grow as both a player and composer.  For ticket information, go to or call 860-489-7180.

New Zealand-native, saxophonist and composer Jasmine Lovell-Smith brings her quintet, known as Towering Poppies, to The Buttonwood Tree, 605 Main Street in Middletown, for an 8 p.m. hit this Saturday night September 22.  Ms. Lovell-Smith, newly ensconced in Wesleyan's Masters in Music program, just issued her debut American CD, "Fortune Songs" (self-released) with her fine ensemble that features Russell Moore (trumpet), Cat Toren (piano),  Patrick Reid (bass) and Kate Pittman (drums.)  It's a fine group of original compositions, with smart arrangements, strong playing and great promise.  Ms. Lovell-Smith started out on tenor saxophone and, just a few years ago, moved to the soprano saxophone where she has already developed a lovely tone (with echoes of both Jane Ira Bloom and Branford Marsalis.)  To learn more about her and her fine band, go to  For ticket information, go to

Here's one of the fine tracks from "Fortune Songs", courtesy of Ms. Lovell-Smith and Bandcamp:

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