Brooklyn, once the stepchild of Manhattan, has become a musical mecca, attracting hordes of musicians and listeners to neighborhoods with “music in the cafés at night, and revolution in the air,” to quote Zimmie, who was writing about another time and place and revolution.
Here are two new releases from folks who live on planets situated in different galaxies but who inhabit the same modest borough of New York City: Musette Explosion and the Suite
Unraveling, headed by guitarist Lily Maase, an Albuquerque native. Continue reading →
When saxophonist Miguel Zenón, who was born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico, first
encountered New Yorkers of Puerto Rican heritage, he was astonished to find that despite
being two or three generations removed from life on the Caribbean island, they were as
connected to its traditions as the people he knew back home in San Juan. This discovery set Zenón off on a three-year voyage to understand the way in which “Nuyoricans” experience their national identity.
What he learned can be summed up in the title of his new album, Identities Are Changeable (Miel Music), to be released November 4. “The idea that I had is to try to represent musically this
concept of identity being multiple and being able to change,” Zenón explained in a phone
interview from California.
In characteristic fashion, Zenón brings to bear on the project a lively curiosity, an intellectual
rigor, a supple and muscular emotionality, and a musical sophistication capable of translating his social research into an eloquent artistic statement. Backed by Luis Perdomo (piano), Hans Glawischnig (bass), and Eric Doob (drums), Zenón brings his discoveries to the Outpost this Thursday. Continue reading →
The last time gregarious Dutch trumpeter Eric Vloeimans (pronounced Vlouie-mahns) came through Albuquerque, he brought his electronically supplemented quartet Gatecrash, which
delivered eloquent and funky kick-ass jazz at a fairly high volume. No louder than Vloeimans’ wardrobe, though, which is as floridly splendid as anything Carnaby Street ever produced.
This time around, Vloeimans, as sartorially colorful as ever, enlists his stunning virtuosity in the service of a very different musical experience: Oliver’s Cinema, a trio that also includes
Belgium’s Tuur Florizoone on accordion and Germany’s Jörg Brinkmann on cello, virtuosi in their own right, and which inhabits the other end of the volume spectrum. The three, who sound as if they’ve been together for years, draw on both original and popular compositions to produce
expressive, delicate, and uncategorizable chamber music played in the open air of jazz. Forget “third stream.” This music blends several streams—from jazz with a folkloric memory, to
popular movie scores with a classical sensibility.
Near as I can tell, Havana in the forties and fifties was a universe of its own, kind of a
combination of Las Vegas and New Orleans. As the former is now, it was a gambling and
entertainment center, a vacation destination where much was permitted. But unlike Las Vegas, what happened in Havana did not stay in Havana—at least not musically speaking. In that
regard, it was much more like New Orleans: a great port city that imported all manner of
people, blended their musics together, and exported its unique hybrid to the rest of the world, infecting one genre after another with its irresistible creation. Continue reading →
Before anything else, this must be said: Todd Tijerina is a stunning and expressive guitarist with an inborne grace. Shine On (available
October 11) is my first encounter with the man, and I could hardly take my ears off his fingers. He combines the rocking power of Stevie Ray Vaughan with the nuance of Blues Boy King in an economical, almost laconic blues style that wastes nary a note. Speed? Yeah, he’s got that, too, but it’s never an end in itself. He harnesses it in the service of the moment, using a flurry of notes here or there for emotional flashpoints. For most of the album, he’s on the acoustic that graces the cover, but he’s equally at home on his electric axe.
Whatever instrument he’s strapped on, he’s got a funky rhythmic sense that makes for
comfortable listening. Continue reading →