Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Mid-June Music Live

Busy time for the arts in Connecticut what with the International Festival of Arts & Ideas in New Haven, regional theaters busy with their individual presentations, town concerts beginning and so much more.  Meanwhile, The Side Door Jazz Club in Old Lyme continues its excellent weekly weekend concerts.  This Friday (6/17), Jan and Ken present Gillian Margot's Black Butterfly Project.  Ms. Margot (pictured above left), a native of Canada, released her second CD last December, "Black Butterfly", on HipNotic label - produced by Jeremy Pelt, the album displays a person with a fine voice, an impressive presence and a smart arranger.  For example, there's a great a cappella rendition of Joni Mitchell's "Conversation" that's filled with emotion.  She locks in with bassist Richie Goods on "What You Won't Do for Love" and one cannot miss the longing in her voice. She and Goods introduce "Holding Back The Years" (the soulful Simply Red song) - that direct approach draws the listener in. The only original is "Yesterday's Blues", a duet with Goods   that showcases both artists at their best (Ms. Margot's finger snaps are the only percussion!) Her take on "Delirio", a lovely ballad from Cuban composer Cesar Portillo de la Luz (1922-2013) is delicate and quite moving.

For her appearance in Old Lyme (which will feature most of, if not all, the material from the album), Ms. Margot has a top-notch trio including bassist Goods, pianist Geoffrey Keezer, and the great drummer Billy Kilson (Dave Holland Quintet, Chris Botti). They'll begin their first set at 8:30 p.m.  For more information and reservations, call 860-434-0886.

Here's Ms. Margot in a duo setting with pianist Keezer and the title song of the album:

On Saturday night, The Side Door presents Christos Rafalides Manhattan Vibes.  Mr. Rafalides, who has studied with the great vibraphonist Joe Locke, is a fine player whose music mines the percussive quality of his instrument but also loves melodies and interactive arrangements.  His band includes long-time associate Sergio Salvatore (piano), Thana Alexa (vocals), Petros Klampanis (bass) and Mauricio Zottarelli (drums, percussion).  Ms. Alexa possesses a beautiful instrument in her voice (you'll hear that in the video below) and is an integral part of the ensemble.

The doors open at 7:30 p.m. and the musicians take the stage an hour later.  For more information and reservations, go to thesidedoorjazz.com.

Here's the band from 2011 with special guest drummer Antonio Sanchez:

On Friday, The Buttonwood Tree, 605 Main Street in Middletown, welcomes the Omar Tamez Fantasía Quartet.  Tamez, a native and resident of Mexico, is a first-class guitarist and composer who has performed around the world with artists such as Wadada Leo Smith, drummer (and Wesleyan instructor) Pheroan akLaff, drummer/composer Tyshawn Sorey and many others.

He's bringing quite a group to The Buttonwood including pianist Angelica Sanchez, clarinetist Guillermo Gregorio, and bassist Joe Fonda (a frequent visitor to Middletown and the venue).  The music will have an experimental edge (the leader calls the group a "chamber ensemble") and can and will go in many directions.  To learn more about Mr. Tamez and his music, go to omartamez74.wix.com/omartamez.  For reservations and more news about the venue, go to www.buttonwood.org.

Here's the guitarist and Ms. Sanchez in a duo setting:

That lovely smiling face belongs to Ms. Jocelyn Pleasant who is a drummer and composer living and working in Middletown and beyond.  She's part of an ensemble called The Final Notes that...well...will be playing the "final notes" of the Spring Concert season at Firehouse 12 in New Haven.  Besides Ms. Pleasant, the quartet is composed of bassist Doug Touissaint, pianist and keyboardist Julian Reid, and vocalist Tina Colón.  Admission for the evening will get you into both sets (8 p.m. and 9:45) where the band will be playing originals and new arrangements of popular songs.  For more information, go to firehouse12.com.

Ms. Pleasant will be appearing with her group Medusa next Friday (6/24) at The Buttonwood Tree - more about that next week.

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