Tuesday, November 19, 2013

More Live Music In CT (Giving Thanks)

Dave Douglas turned 50 this year and to celebrate has vowed to play concerts in every one of the 50 states of the Union.  The trumpeter and his top-notch quintet - Jon Irabagon (saxophones), Matt Mitchell (piano), Linda Oh (bass) and the irrepressible Rudy Royston (drums) appear this Thursday (11/21) in the Oasis Room of the Garde Arts Center, 325 State Street in New London.  Earlier this year, the Quintet played at Firehouse 12 in New Haven, performing songs from their 2 most recents CDs, 2012's "Be Still" and 2013's "Time Travel."  Expect a similar program although Douglas has such a large "book", he has the power to surprise an audience any night the Quintet hits the stage.

For more information, go to www.gardearts.org.  To see where Mr. Douglas and his various have touched down, go to 50.davedouglas.com.

2 nights later in the same room in the same venue, Sara Garazek (pictured left) brings her wonderful voice, music and quartet to New London. The vocalist, born in Seattle, Washington, moved to Los Angeles to study at the USC Thornton School of Music (where she is now on the faculty.)  Her most recent recording, 2012's "Blossom and Bee", is a delightful collection of songs, many of which come from the Blossom Dearie songbook.  Ms. Gazarek can put over a song with ease; she's not prone to vocal tricks, inhabiting the song with real personality and an honesty that can't be faked.

Joining her on this tour is long-time accompanist Josh Nelson (piano) plus Sam Minaie (bass), Zach Harmon (drums) and guest vocalist Matt Dusk.  The show starts at 8 p.m.  Click the link above for ticket information or call the Garde Arts Center at 860-444-7373.

Soprano saxophonist/composer Jasmine Lovell-Smith came to study at Wesleyan University in the Fall of 2012. A native of New Zealand, Ms. Lovell-Smith has lived in the United States since 2010 and released her initial Stateside CD with her Towering Poppies quintet, "Fortune Songs", before undertaking her studies.  Over the past 15 months, she's been studying, composing and being part of the extensive University music community.  Ms. Lovell-Smith informed me of the following event and I want to share it with you.

This weekend (Saturday 11/23-Monday 11/25), the Wesleyan Experimental Music Group presents a 3-night Festival dedicated to "Dualities", musical conversations for 2 instrumentalists or voice at The Russell House, located at the corner of Washington and High Streets in Middletown.  Saturday's sets will commence at 9 p.m. with operatic vocalist Stephanie Lavon-Trotter with pianist Ben Zucker performing the songs of Wesleyan composer Nathan Friedman.  They'll be followed at 9:30 by Menschenduett, the duo of composer/clarinetist Sean Sonderegger and Nathan Friedman (here on clarinet) playing a blend of original compositions and improvisations.  At 10 p.m., Jasmine Lovell-Smith joins forces with pianist Cat Toren (who is also a member of Towering Poppies) to create their own blend of lyrical improvisations.

Sunday evening will belong to the duo of Christopher Otto (violin) and Kevin McFarland (cello, pictured left), members of JACK, a rising contemporary string quartet.  The duo will play a set of music by the weekend's featured composers. The music begins at 9 p.m.

Monday evening, there are 2 sets opening at 9 p.m with the combination of Daniel Fishkin (daxophone?) and Matt Chilton (woodwinds, voice).  The Festival closes with Sam Pluta (electronics) and Peter Evans (trumpet), creating a whirlwind of sounds.  Evans, whose Zebulon Trio joins forces with Dave Leibman (saxophones) and Ron Stabinsky (piano) to perform at Firehouse 12 on Friday November 29, is one of the more interesting brass players on the contemporary music scene.  He's also a member of Moppa Elliott's Mostly Other People Do The Killing, a pre-emminent jazz quartet.

The Wesleyan Experimental Festival is free and open to the public.  If you need directions, call The Russell House at 860-685-2000.

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