Saturday, June 2, 2012

Got Live (Music) If You Want It! (Part 1)

With the advent of the summer months, a number of venues close down (mostly those on college campuses) but, here in Connecticut, June remains a busy time.

 It's a busy week for the Uncertainty Music Series with 3 concerts between Wednesday and Sunday.  First up is guitarist-vocalist-New Haven native Michael Gregory who performs a rare solo concert at 9 p.m. in Elm Bar, 372 Elm Street in New Haven.  Gregory first came to critical notice in the late 1970s; in those years, he used his full name - Michael Gregory Jackson - dropping the last name in the 1980s (for obvious reasons.)  He played more experimental jazz with saxophonist Oliver Lake and trumpeter Baikida Carroll yet he also recorded several Lps that were serious forays into danceable r'n'b (including one produced by Nile Rodgers.) Gregory seemed to disappear in the 1990s but has been more active in the 2000s, touring and recording again with Oliver Lake as well as with Wadada Leo Smith.

For ticket information, go to  In part 2 of this column, I'll write about Saturday and Sunday's concerts, though you can see for yourself by going to the website. 

The "Improvisations" series at Real Art Ways, 56 Arbor Street in Hartford, presents "IX" on Thursday June 7 at 7 p.m.  Curated by guitarist/bassist Joe Morris and trumpet person extraordinaire Stephen Haynes, the programs have been nothing short of fascinating.  This time around, the "dynamics" duo will sharing the performance space with J.D. Parran (reeds, flutes, pictured left) and vocalist Dean Bowman.  As a college student, Parran played with the Black Artists Group in St. Louis with musicians like Julius Hemphill, Oliver Lake and Hamiett Bluiett (3/4s of the World Saxophone Quartet.  He went on to record with Stevie Wonder, John Lennon and flutist Robert Dick as well as continuing a long relationship with Anthony Braxton and Anthony Davis.  Bowman hasd worked and recorded with clarinetist Don Byron, Steven Bernstein's Millennium Orchestra and Screaming Headless Torso. For more information, call 860-232-1006 or go to

The Firehouse 12 Spring 2012 Concert Series presents its penultimate (always like to use that word) program this Friday June 8 when the Ernesto Cervini Quartet comes to the Elm City performance space.  Drummer-composer Cervini, brother of chanteuse Amy Cervini, is a wonderfully musical percussionist with an intelligent sense of propulsion and coloring.  He also knows how to assemble an ensemble - joining him in the rhythm section is bassist Dan Loomis (he of the Wee Trio) with Adrean Farragia on piano and the former Connecticut resident Joel Frahm on saxophones.  The group's 3rd CD, "There" (Anzic Records), was recorded live in Vancouver, B.C. in November of 2010.  The music is quite energetic - save for Frahm's soft ballad "Alert" and the drummer's sweet tribute, "Gramps" - with a lively sense of interplay.  These guys sound like they are having the best time and their joy is contagious.  The ECQ will play 2 sets - 8:30 and 10 p.m. - for ticket information, go to or call 203-785-0468. Check out the band at

Here's a taste of the ECQ:

Saturday is the 8th Annual Connecticut Open House Day, meaning that venues such as museums, galleries, historic sites, theaters and more will be open all day. You can check out the day's events by going to

That evening, there's a whole lot of music going on.  The Buttonwood Tree, 605 Main Street, presents the Danny Fox Trio at 8 p.m.  The Brooklyn-based Fox (piano), a graduate of Harvard, plays in the "pit band" of The Big Apple Circus and has worked with the Max Weinberg Big Band but the Trio is his main vehicle.  Bassist Chris van Voorst van Beest and drummer Max Goldman interact in an organic fashion, pushing the music in fascinating directions.  The pieces Fox writes for the band are always evolving on the bandstand as the Trio finds new modes of expression.  Their debut CD, "The One Constant" (Songlines Records), was issued about a year ago to strong critical praise (my review is here) and I, for one, can't wait to hear how the music has grown.  For ticket information, go to or call 860-347-4957.

Lots more to write about and I'll do just that very soon.  I've also added a download to my review of the new Orrin Evans CD, "Flip The Script" - check it out at

1 comment:

  1. Thanks, Richard, for keeping the home fires burning. We'll keep a light on in the window for you!