Tuesday, October 7, 2014

This Week of Music in CT + Sand Pounds

Yet another week where CT music fans have much to choose from, including a MacArthur Fellow, a NEA Jazz Master, a world traveler, excellent pianists and much more.

Pianist-composer Dan Tepfer returns to The Side Door Jazz Club in Old Lyme this Friday (10/10), this time as the leader of his own Trio (he is part of the Rob Garcia 4, an ensemble that played the club this past summer.) Tepfer, who often works with saxophonist Lee Konitz, has a multitude of musical interests, from classical to classic jazz and rock and beyond, all of which shows up in his music.  Joining him for this gig is drummer Eric Doob and bassist Chris Tordini.  As usual, doors open at 7:30 p.m. and the music commences at 8:30.

Saturday, the Side Door presents pianist/accordionist Hector Martignon and his Foreign Affairs Quartet.  Like Tepfer, the Colombian-born Martignon plays jazz and classical music (both pianists have rearranged Bach's "The Goldberg Variations") - this desire and ability to cross "over" genres creates music that is exciting and challenging for the avid listener. Besides Martignon, the FAQ is comprised of Roberto Quintero (percussion), Christos Rafilides (vibraphone), Alex Hernandez (bass) plus special guest percussionist Mino Cinelu (Weather Report, Branford Marsalis).  The Side Door stage will be filled with shakers, cymbals, keyboards and more.

NEA Jazz Master and a true saxophone master, Dave Liebman plays a special Sunday night show at The Side Door with his Expansions quintet.  Anchored by his long-time bassist Tony Marino, Expansions also includes the fine young pianist Bobby Avey (who, like the pianists listed above and below, can play just about any style of music and play it well), Matt Vashlishan (alto saxophone, clarinet), and Alex Ritz (drums, percussion). Mr. Liebman has proven time and again over his career, now spanning 4+ decades, that he has no limitations in his music, channeling the spirits of John Coltrane and Wayne Shorter when he plays his tenor and, especially, his soprano saxophones.  This should be a very exciting evening of music.

The doors open at 7 p.m. for this show only with the music beginning at 8 p.m. For tickets and more information, go to thesidedoorjazz.com or call 806-434-0886.

Firehouse 12 in New Haven continues its adventurous Fall 2014 Concert Series on Friday (10/10) with Cuban-born pianist Manuel Valera and his Trio featuring E.J. Strickland (drums) and Hans Glawischnig (bass).  Valera has had a very busy few years, releasing several CDs with his New Cuban Express (Criss Cross has just issued "In Motion", an album chock-full of strong melodies and exciting rhythms) plus a great solo piano CD, "Self Portrait" (my review is here). Valera's musical knowledge is boundless, with classical influences from Europe, South America and especially his native Cuba.  Yet, he can play montunos, sambas, be-bop and beyond with the best of them.

For more information, go to firehouse12.com or call 203-785-0468.

Saturday night, pianist, composer, and conceptualist Vijay Iyer plays a concert at 8 p.m. in Crowell Concert Hall on the campus of Wesleyan University. Joining him will be bassist Stephan Crump and drummer Tyshawn Sorey (who received his Masters in Music from the University in 2011).  Iyer, who has toured with Wadada Leo Smith and Steve Coleman (fellow MacArthur Award grantee) and had groups that included Wesleyan grad Steve Lehman (alto saxophone) and poet Robert Pinskey, studied physics in college (Harvard) before moving into the the music world.  His work with poet Mike Ladd has been tackled issues such as veterans problems, media and racism. Earlier this year, ECM Records issued Iyer's classical piece "Mutations."

For ticket information, call 860-685-3355 or go online to www.wesleyan.edu/cfa.

The Uncertainty Music Series presents an evening of duets on Saturday at 8 p.m. in Never Ending Books, 810 State Street in New Haven. Opening the show will be the duo of Anne Rhodes (voice) and Carl Testa (electronics) - following them will be the duo of Brian Parks (compositions) and Janet Simone Parks (dance). Both Parks and Testa studied at Wesleyan  (the former with Ronald Ebrecht, the latter with Anthony Braxton) and continue to work and perform in the area (the Uncertainty series is curated by Testa who also is the house manager at Firehouse 12).

For more information, go to uncertaintymusic.com.
Drummer/composer Dylan Ryan leads a "power" trio Sand, a hellacious ensemble that features guitarist Timothy Young (Zony Mash, Sweeter Than The Day, Wayne Horvitz) and bassist Devin Hoff (The Nels Cline Singers, Vijay Iyer, Ben Goldberg). "Circa" is the trio's 2nd release for Cuneiform and it's an exciting mash pf sounds.  One can hear echoes of the Jimi Hendrix Experience throughout "Mortgage In My Soul" (a Keith Jarrett piece from 1972 on which he played soprano sax and Charlie Haden fuzz "wah-wah" bass!) ) and Neil Young's Crazy Horse in the final half of "Visionary Fantasy." This music moves in fascinating directions - there is a touch of Tony Williams' Lifetime in Ryan's drum work on "Pink Noir" and more than a dollop of surf music blending into the rousing feel of "Sledge Thread" (Hoff's acoustic bass comes roaring out of the speakers.

At times, the trio's approach brings to mind the Oregonian alternative instrumental band Pell Mell, especially the pounding drums and hypnotic bass lines -  that band often employed 2 guitarists and on "Circa", as far as one can tell, Young rarely overdubs.  He employs all sorts of effects, expanding the sonic palette of the band.  Dylan Ryan pushes but never overplays. He even sits out "Slow Sculpture", giving Young and Hoff plenty of space to create a ballad that builds up to sustained guitar chords and bowed bass frenzy.

Those listeners who enjoy "prog rock", Jeff Beck, or Jimi Hendrix will find much to enjoy on "Circa" - Dylan Ryan Sand can blast with the best of them, sounding great when you crack up the speakers.  Yet, this music does not overstay its welcome, contains both moments where melody stands out and other times when the band pours it on.  For more information, go to sand.dylanryanmusic.com.

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