Tuesday, June 17, 2014

O Such Live Music in CT

Bassist/composer Mario Pavone has a compelling new musical adventure and CD titled "Street Songs" (Playscape Recording - review here).  This Thursday (6/19), he brings that project to Studio 59, 59 Barber Street in Torrington. The venue, housed in an historic church just moments from downtown, has been hosting events since earlier this year.

The ensemble Pavone is bringing to the concert is large and includes Matt Mitchell (piano), Adam Matlock (accordion), Carl Testa (bass), and Steve Johns (drums) plus a Brass Quartet composed of Dave Ballou (cornet, flugelhorn), Peter McEachern (trombone), Leise Ballou (french horn) and Gary Buttery (tuba).  The bassist seems to get stronger with age, his music more impressive, especially on this project which recalls the "front stoop music" he heard growing up in post World War II in Waterbury, CT. For more information, go to www.studio59live.com or call 860-482-6801

Not only higher temperatures and more hours of daylight serve as reminders of the time of year but also the annual Hot Steamed Jazz Festival, the wonderful weekend of concerts whose proceeds benefit The Hole In The Wall Gang Camp in Ashford , CT , founded by the late Paul Newman.  The musical fun starts on Friday night, there are 2 separate sets of shows on Saturday, a Sunday Jazz Gospel service (at 10:30 a.m.) and Sunday afternoon performances. Scheduled to appear are pianist extraordinaire Jeff BarnhartDan Levinson’s New Millennium All-Stars, The Heartbeat Dixieland Jazz Band, Jazz Jesters with Jeff Hughes, and the Galvanized Jazz Band (plus more). If you think that traditional jazz is stuffy, these performers will shake you out of your seat. For more information and a rundown of events, go to www.hotsteamedjazz.com or call 860-575-0215. Lots of fun and food, all for a great cause.

Jay Hoggard, the perennial best-dressed musician on the Wesleyan campus (and elsewhere), brings his good vibes to the UMOJA Music Series this Friday at 6 p.m. in the Charter Oak Cultural Center, 21 Charter Oak Avenue in Hartford. He'll be playing with series founders Yunie Mojica (alto saxophone) and Raynel Frazier (trombone) plus an All-Star band including Josh Evans (trumpet), Jen Allen (piano), Stephen "King" Porter (bass), Jocelyn Pleasant (drums, /percussion), and Jonathan Barber (drums). The concert is free and open to the public.  This is the first of 4 Friday concerts (also 6/27, 7/11 and 7/18) featuring both established and impressive young players.  For more information, go to umojamusic.com.

The Side Door Jazz Club in Old Lyme continues its weekly series of concerts that has impressed fans old and young with its variety and high quality.  This weekend is no exception.  On Friday, the impressive Sunna Gunnlaugs Trio makes its first CT sojourn in several years from its home in Iceland. Led by Ms. Gunnlaugs (piano), the Trio includes her husband Scott McLemore (drums) and Þorgrímur Jónsson (bass). With a style that owes as much to Bill Evans and Keith Jarrett as it does to British pianist John Taylor, the Trio creates a wonderful atmosphere where melodies intersect with improvisation.  The rhythm section is impressive in how the 2 interact with the soloist and each other.  To find out more, go to www.sunnagunnlaugs.com.  Doors open at 7:30 and the band's first set is at 8:30.

The following evening, Israeli-born tenor saxophonist Benny Sharoni brings his Quartet to The Side Door for an evening of hard-bop joy.  Sharoni came to the United States in 1986 to study at The Berklee School in Boston, MA, and stayed.  He has worked steadily on his composing and arranging, playing gigs around the Northeast and beyond.  He possesses a full sound, one that displays the influence of artists such as Dexter Gordon and Sonny Rollins but he's not a mere imitator.  His original pieces mine not only the the rich vein of Black American music but also contains echoes of his native land.

His Quartet includes long-time associates Steve Langone (drums) and Todd Baker (bass) plus special guest David Hazeltine (piano). They'll play 2 sets of songs, many of them jazz standards.  To learn more about Mr. Sharoni, go to www.bennysharoni.com.  For ticket information, go to thesidedoorjazz.com or call 860-434-0886.

The International Festival of Arts & Ideas presents one knockout of a free concert on the New Haven Green this Saturday when vocalist Diane Reeves joins forces with the New Haven Symphony Orchestra, William Boughton, conductor. Need I write more?  Bring a chair, a picnic basket, a chilled bottle of wine and enjoy the show.  To find out more, go to artidea.org.

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