New Mexico is blessed with a generous helping of world-class musicians of all types, artists who could play on the world’s finest stages (some do) but choose to make their home here. Stellar reed man, educator, and award-winning broadcaster, Arlen Asher has been on that list for 59 years. Since his arrival here in 1958, Arlen has beguiled audiences with his beautiful tone and his silky lines on an arsenal of woodwinds that he hauls to just about every gig—flutes, saxophones (he once confessed that the bari is his favorite instrument), and clarinet. On May 7, Arlen turns 88, but age has not dimmed his passion for the music. On May 4, this consummate gentleman will celebrate his birthday—and the 83rd birthday of jazz fan and producer Bumble Bee Bob Weil—with a concert in the hall that bears Weil’s name at the Outpost Performance Space. I caught up with Arlen recently to talk about the upcoming gig, which will include pianist Jim Ahrend, bassist Colin Deuble, and drummer John Trentacosta, as well as guest vocalists Judy Christopher and Patti Littlefield. The quartet will reprise the concert at the Museum Hill Café in Santa Fe on May 6, with guest vocalists Susan Abod and Pam Jackson (guitarist Michael Anthony will replace Ahrend). Here are some of the highlights of our conversation. Continue reading
There is nothing sophomoric about singer/songwriter Noah Kite’s self-titled sophomore release. Deftly orchestrating eight songs that he built and often performs solo on an acoustic guitar, Kite has made a giant leap forward from his first release, Light by Light. Focused primarily on the complications of romantic relationships, the digital album Noah Kite excavates, with an admirable emotional honesty and wallop, the pain, accusations, self-recriminations, and disbelief left in their wake. He and English horn/oboe player Laura Gershman, who makes signal contributions to the album, are touring in support of it and will appear in a house concert at Frame-N-Art in Corrales on March 12.
(Full disclosure: Noah Kite is our godson, and the album really is impressive.) Continue reading
On February 19 at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, the magical trio hONEyhoUSe—Mandy Buchanan, Yvonne Perea, and Hillary Smith—will celebrate the release of their live album, Raw Honey. It’s a double shot of hONEyhoUSe love: a live concert, all but guaranteed to lift the spirit and open the heart, and a new album that captures the special energy of their live performances and cements their standing as one of the finest singing/songwriting groups in the country today. Continue reading
Thh-ip fffffff . . . Needle drop, the punctuation to your anticipation. The once-familiar sound, all but eliminated by CDs and digital files, is making something of a comeback these days. Albuquerque’s own singer/songwriter/guitarist Roger Jameson is contributing to the trend with his new release, “Big Black Bird,” backed with “Drive-In Picture Show,” on a 45-rpm heavy vinyl disc. This Friday at The County Line, he’ll celebrate its release in concert with his Jaded Heart Band—Alicia Ultan (viola), Dave Williams (keyboard, sax), Mike Fox (bass), and Mike Mangan (drums), with guest Rick Crouse (guitar, drums), who will open the evening—and he’ll even throw in a digital download card with the purchase of the vinyl. Continue reading
Claudio Tolousse: The Story of, Part One (indie) paints a portrait of the young man as an artist, or perhaps more accurately, of the young man claiming his place in the world as an artist. Its epiphanies and self-encouragements are wrapped in energetic music that pulls from soul, R&B, pop, and rock—all enlarged by a jazz sensibility, not to mention remarkable musicianship from guitarist Claudio Tolousse and his sidemen. This Friday, Tolousse will bring together musicians from New Orleans and Albuquerque to celebrate the launch of his recording career. Continue reading