Tuesday, December 2, 2014

2 Great Shows This Weekend

photo by G Fonck
In a Fall Concert series that has been one of the strongest (schedule-wise) in its existence, Firehouse 12 in New Haven presents the season's penultimate show this Friday (12/05) and it's a doozy.   Trumpeter/composer Jonathan Finlayson, who works alongside and has studied with Steve Coleman, bring his Sicilian Defense to the performance space for 2 sets of exciting new music.  The 32-year old native of Berkeley, CA, has performed at the Firehouse before in ensembles led by guitarist Mary Halvorson and saxophonist Steve Lehman (both graduates of Wesleyan University) as well as the great Henry Threadgill.  His 2013 debut  with his Quintet, "Moment and the Message" (Pi Recordings), was a forceful collection of original material and features the band he'll work with in this concert including David Virelles (piano), Miles Okazaki (guitars), Keith Witty (bass, electronics) and Damion Reid (drums).

Expect this music to go in various exciting and surprising directions.  The first set that  Jonathan FinlaysonSicilian Defense will play is at 8:30 p.m. and is followed by a 10 p.m. show.  For more information, call 203-785-0468 or go to firehouse12.com.  To learn more about the young composer/musician, go to pirecordings.com/album/pi48.

The "Improvisations" series at Real Art Ways, 56 Arbor Street in Hartford, continues its impressive streak of collaborations featuring curators Stephen Haynes (cornets) and Joe Morris (guitar, bass) this Sunday (12/07) at 3 p.m.  Joining the dynamic duo is drummer and percussionist Chad Taylor.  The Arizona native grew up in Chicago where he first played with the legendary saxophonist Fred Anderson and bassist Malachi Favors (of the Art Ensemble of Chicago.)  In 1997, he and trumpeter/conceptualist Rob Mazurek started the Chicago Underground Duo (adding guitarist Jeff Parker a few years later), a group that reunites every year (although the trumpeter now lives in Brazil).  He also has worked with saxophonist Matana Roberts in the trio Sticks and Stones and is currently a member of guitarist Mark Ribot's Trio with the great bassist Henry Grimes. Taylor also is a member of Digital Primitives as well as bassist Eric Revis's Quartet.

Chad Taylor is well-known for his creativity as a percussionist; he can play as hard as anyone in creative music but also has a softer touch that really pulls the listener in.  This show should be quite enjoyable and exciting.  For more information, go to www.realartways.org or call 860-232-1006.

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