Sunday, April 27, 2014

April Out, May In: Bringing It Live

Photo by Kyle Pompey
Yet another fun weekend of live Creative music in Connecticut and we start in Waterbury.  The Mattatuck Museum, 144 West Main Street, presents the Brandee Younger Trio at 6 p.m. on Thursday May 1 as part of its Music @ The Matt series.  Ms. Younger is a harpist who received her undergraduate degrees in Harp Performance and Music Business at the Hartt School of Music and has worked alongside Jack DeJohnette, Ravi Coltrane, Marcus Strickland and Charlie Haden. She is also busy in the classical world, performing with the Waterbury Symphony, the Eastern Connecticut Symphony and Camerata New York.  She has only released 1 CD under her own name (2011).  Not sure who's in the rhythm section but expect the music to go where few harpists dare to.  To find out more about her life and music, go to  For ticket information and more, call 203-753-0381, extension 130. Give a listen below.

It is shaping up to be a very musical weekend at The Side Door Jazz Club in Old Lyme.  On Friday May 2, the Club presents The Cookers, a septet of musicians led by trumpeter David Weiss. Weiss organized the septet over 5 years ago, bringing in musicians such as Billy Harper (tenor saxophone), Dr. Eddie Henderson (trumpet) George Cables (piano), Billy Hart (drums) and Cecil McBee (bass), all of whom began their careers in the 1960s or early 70s. If you look at each player's CV, you'll see they straddle the lines between hard-bop, mainstream jazz and the avant-garde.  Add to that sextet alto saxophonist Craig Handy (who's 15 years younger - on average - than his bandmates, save for Weiss) and they make music that is fiery, rhythmically exciting, very much alive and powerful.  The band has issued 3 CDs (on 3 different labels), all of which feature old and new compositions by band members.  The rhythm section alone would make for a great show. Reservations are a must so call 860-434-0886 or go online to

On Saturday, The Side Door opens for alto saxophonist/composer Steve Wilson and his quartet known as Wilsonian's Grain.  Wilson, who is one of the most sought-after sideman in contemporary music, works or has worked with the Maria Schneider Orchestra, Dianne Reeves, Bill Bruford, Dave Holland, Christian McBride and a slew of others.  He possesses the sweetest tone but also can play with great fire.  His group, which he organized in 2008, includes pianist Orrin Evans, bassist Ugonna Okwego and drummer Bill Stewart. Sadly, they have yet to record but WBGO-FM recorded them "Live at The Village Vanguard" in March of 2010 and you can hear that set by clicking here. I would hate to have the make the choice as to which group to hear at the venue this weekend; perhaps, you should make reservations at The Old Lyme Inn and see them both.

Photo by Chris Rich
Also on Friday night, cornetist/composer/arranger Taylor Ho Bynum returns to Firehouse 12, 45 Crown Street in New Haven, with the Sextet that recorded his excellent new CD/Lp project "Navigation: The Complete Firehouse 12 Recordings" (released on vinyl, CD and digitally by Firehouse 12 Records).  The ensemble, people who have worked with Bynum for over a decade, includes Professor Bill Lowe (bass trombone, tuba), Jim Hobbs (alto saxophone), Ken Filiano (acoustic bass), Mary Halvorson (electric guitar) and Tomas Fujiwara (drums).  The music on the recording moves in many directions, filled with strong solos and intelligent interactions.  Click on the link below to hear for yourself but, to see for yourself, call 203-785-0468 or go to

Sinan Bakir, the young Turkish-born guitarist who makes his home in the Hartford area, returns to The Buttonwood Tree, 605 Main Street in Middletown.  This time, he's playing a solo show at 8 p.m. If you have never heard him play, Bakir has truly matured in the past few years.  Yes, he can play very fast but now melodies and smart improvisations are most important to his program.  For more information and reservations, go to or call 860-347-4957.  There, you can see that this weekend is filled with great guitar music from Friday's show with ensembles from the Guitar Department at The Hartt School to Sunday's 5 p.m. show with the Mike Lorenz Guitar Trio.

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