Busking NYC – Dexter Jones – December 15, 2016

Busking NYC  -  Dexter Jones  -  December 15, 2016

Jones had a full repertoire of Christmas songs to brighten up the Columbus Circle station, so I stayed past a few trains to give him my best.

Dexter Jones

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Tribute to Alfred Mann – December 11, 2016

Tribute to Alfred Mann  -  Manhattan School of Music  -  December 11, 2016

Philanthropist Alfred Mann, who passed away earlier this year, was a great benefactor of the MSM; he was honored with this concert.

Mark Steinberg

Nicholas Mann

David Geber

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Busking NYC – Quoom – November 15, 2016

Busking NYC  - Quoom  -  November 15, 2016

Busking in the subway station, on the platform, OK I get it.  Banging your conga drum inside the moving train?  What a life!  Quoom was only on for one stop, I’m not sure how much of a response he was expecting.  Certainly not mine!

Quoom

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Manhattan School of Music Jazz Orchestra – November 11, 2016

Manhattan School of Music Jazz Orchestra  - Neidorff-Karpati Hall – November 11, 2016

This was the final concert presentation at MSM for program leader Justin DiCioccio (although the following Monday the Orch will be playing the same program at Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola); much beloved JD is retiring at the end of the year.  The sketch included here is from a different gig; at this MSM event DiCioccio restricted himself to conducting the orchestra with guest (and NEA Jazz Master) Dave Liebman.  The oeuvre was a “recomposition” of the classic Gil Evans/Miles Davis album collaboration, “Miles Ahead.”  Liebman showed why he is a master, soloing his way through, channeling Miles with the soprano sax (and a brief stint with some small whistley thing I wasn’t nimble enough to catch).  Despite neither piano nor guitar here, the Evans tonal palette is rich, and not stinted on, including French horns, tuba, multiple bass clarinets, and alto flute, aside from the usual suspects.

Dave Liebman

Kushal Talele

Michael Brinzer

Oriol Valles

Justin DiCioccio

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Escher String Quartet – November 6, 2016

Escher String Quartet  -  Vassar College, Skinner Hall  -  November 6, 2016

The quartet program included works by Mozart, Bartók, and then a quintet (add Crow’s piano) of Dvorák.  (Sorry Anton, all those different accents available, but not the correct one for your “o”!)   Somehow I got the start time incorrect, and arrived so late that I missed the first piece (sorry Wolfgang!).   I stood in the back for the high priority Bartók (string quartet #2), sublime.  It was composed during the first world war, and had a melancholy wtf vibe that I find common to pieces created under such circumstances of duress.  Finally got a seat for the quintet after intermission.  Two sketches of the complete ensemble were on facing pages in the book, combined here for a composite.

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Manhattan School of Music Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra – November 4, 2016

Manhattan School of Music Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra  -  Neidorff-Karpati Hall    November 4, 2016

Once again Bobby Sanabria has whipped his student charges into shape (including getting them all dressed up) for an evening of new pieces or new arrangements of canonical masters (Wes Montgomery, Elmo Hope).  The ensemble had no shortage of energy, the evening boasting a sustained dynamic tasteful and powerful groove.  Many of the new compositions/arrangements were by MSM alumni (and one by a current AFJO member); quite a number were in attendance, and each of these was brought to the stage to bask in audience appreciation.  As usual, Sanabria extends the eduational mission to the audience by providing background on the music and its historical context, and his sterling showmanship – he dances, he chants, he bangs timbale LOUD, he barks like a dog – is always part of the package.

Toby Ekpunobi and Armando Vergara

Luis Vazquez - Takao Heisho - Noel Mason

Rico Jones

Matt Wong

Nicola Caminiti

Tyler Tritt

Cole Hazlitt

Santosh Sharma

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Dia de Muertos – October 29, 2016

Dia de Muertos  -    Brewster Public Library/Southeast Museum  -  October 29, 2016

I don’t think that the day of the dead (Dia de Muertos) is exactly the Hispanic Halloween, but the affinities are striking.  That there could be acceptance, even celebration associated with death, honoring those passed – it’s a bit deeper than the sanitized Hershey’s/Nestle’s version that’s all too common – and no clowns, please, too frightening?  So this event had multiple components, including face-painting, a procession, music, dance, and snacks (but no candy).  One hilarious dance featured three stooped oldsters with canes who may or may not have been dead.  I know my limits, so didn’t even try to capture dancers.

Paula Mora

Miguel Angel Mendoza

Vanessa Verdin

Lisa Velazquez

Lisseth Morin

Miguel A. Mendoza and Cosobi Mendoza

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Jane Ira Bloom – October 20, 2016

Jane Ira Bloom  - Bruno Walter Auditorium  -   October 20, 2016

Bloom, soprano saxist, is a seeker for inspiration for her new works, and she landed on Emily Dickinson once she learned that ED was a pianist and an improviser.  From there, she selected a dozen or so choice verses and used them as the basis for the works performed here, as “Wild Lines”.  Pitching in was actress Deborah Rush, who recited the poetry as intro to the pieces.  Among the expansive innovative techniques employed by Bloom were back-and-forth motion of the sax to make a mild wavering Doppler effect, and blowing directly at the strings of the open piano (sustain pedal down) to provide a batch of lingering string notes – wild stuff!  Somehow my autograph mojo was a little off, so I only got three.

Jane Ira Bloom

Dawn Clement

Kent McLagan

Bobby Previte

Deborah Rush

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James Ruff – October 1, 2016

James Ruff  -  Skinner Hall, Vassar College  -  October 1, 2016

Ruff’s original (and still principle) musical career focus has been voice, and I’m not sure I would have attended if that was the extent of this solo concert.  But he also performs on early Gaelic wire harp (you know, the one on the Guinness logo), and is a scholar of the instrument’s history and repertoire.  So the combination was sufficiently beguiling, and proved worthy.  The singing was in old Gaelic, and Ruff dives deep into ancient authenticity here as well, bringing us back hundreds of years with his expressive tenor voice.  Unfortunately, a harp string broke, but luckily it was on the final tune.

James Ruff

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Julie Corbalis – October 1, 2016

Julie Corbalis  -  Brewster Farmers Market  -  October 1, 2016

Corbalis was the final performer for this year’s local farmers market, cheerfully reeling off the numbers despite the intermittent drizzle.  Her latest CD effort is titled “What’s Up With This Heart?”.  Mostly originals, though she covered Tina Turner’s “What’s Love Got to Do With It”.

Julie Corbalis

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