Sunday, March 31, 2013

Friday Choices

Those of us in central Connecticut who enjoy adventurous creative music rarely have to make choices like the one we have to make Friday April 5.  In Middletown, bassist Joe Fonda has organized and curated the 8th Annual CT Jazz Composers & Improvisers Festival to take place starting at 7:30 p.m. in The Buttonwood Tree, 605 Main Street.  Scheduled to appear are poet Steve Dalachinsky, violinist/ composer/artist Terry Jenoure (pictured), and the Michael Jefry Stevens/George Schuller Quartet.

Brooklyn, NY, native Steve Dalachinsky is well-known as a New York City "downtown poet" and is famed for his collaborations with creative musicians such as pianist Matthew Shipp, bassist William Parker, and saxophonist Rob Brown. Accompanying his poetry will be Mr. Fonda and saxophonist Gerhard Ullmann.  Ms. Jenoure, who has recorded with the late clarinetist John Carter, is an accomplished musician and vocalist who lives in the Northampton, Massachusetts area.  Closing the show will be the Quartet of pianist Stevens, drummer Schuller, bassist Fonda and multi-reed player Ullmann (you may know them better as Conference Call.)  For more information, go to where you can and should make reservations.

Meanwhile, the Firehouse 12 Spring Concert Series continues with the return of Tomas Fujiwara and the Hook Up. The quintet - drummer/composer Fujiwara, guitarist Mary Halvorson, saxophonist Brian Settles, trumpeter Jonathan Finlayson and bassist Adam Hopkins - last appeared in the performance space in April of 2010 (though Fujiwara is no stranger, having played 4 shows with cornetist and good friend Taylor Ho Bynum.)  Fujiwara also works with saxophonist Greg Ward, Anthony Braxton's Tri-Centric Orchestra and Ideal Bread (among others). The music he creates for the band is a swirling blend of styles that transcends numerous barriers. The mix of Ms. Halvorson's adventurous guitar and Finlayson's clear trumpet tones makes for good listening - add in Settles' fiery tenor saxophone work plus the fine rhythm section and this music truly moves.  Several of Fujiwara's melodies feature drums parts that work in tandem with the front line.  The interaction of the 5 musicians is mighty impressive and lots of fun to see and hear.

The band plays 2 sets - 8:30 and 10 p.m. - to find out more, go to  To check out the drummer and his numerous projects, go to

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