2012 Blues and Jazz Festival Web Exclusive
Curious about the acts taking the stage at this year's Blues and Jazz Festival? Luckily Cory Vaillancourt offers some insight to each group in preparation for Erie's big weekend.
If you haven't already, be sure to grab a copy of the current issue of the Erie Reader for your official unofficial clip 'n' save schedule for the Erie Art Museum's 20th Annual Blues and Jazz Festival!
Saturday, August 4, 2012
12 p.m. – Shades of Polynesia
Official Site: www.ShadesofPolynesia.com
Shades of Polynesia, like Super Chikan, melds art with music in a folk tradition. "They get together specifically to share their Polynesian culture and to do performances," said Vanco. "And that's a challenge for folk artists. Folk Art takes place within a context; it's a community context and often a religious context, and we want to encourage people to preserve those folk traditions, and one way they can do that is to translate them in a way that they can share them with the rest of us. And it doesn't come automatically; folk artists don't think of what they're doing as 'art.' They don't think of it as performance; it's something that you do that's part of life. So they have to consciously think about how they're going to take what they've always done and make it into something that other people would be interested in experiencing." Check them out on YouTube for a preview of their performance.
2 p.m. – BluesBeaters
Official site: www.jbentertainment.com/bluesbeaters.html
These guys have their own YouTube channel, which contains several videos – taken at a downtown Erie block party in 2011 – which will give you a glimpse of their versatility.
4 p.m. – Travis "The Moonchild" Haddix
Official Site: www.travishaddix.net/home.htm
I was unfamiliar with this artist, but I soon learned that he has a song called "Cialis before I see Alice," so I decided to give him the benefit of the doubt. There are several videos of Moonchild on YouTube, including a few shot live at Hawaiian Brian's in Honolulu on 12-21-2012, which makes Moonchild not only a world traveler, but also a time traveler; after watching them, I think it looks like a great show. You should go. If you can't, catch him in the here and now.
6 p.m. – Super Chikan
Official Site: www.superchikan.com
After watching this revealing Mississippi Public Broadcasting video about James "Super Chikan" Johnson's upbringing and life, I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. He grew up so poor that, as he says, they were recycling before anyone knew what recycling was – hand-crafting Christmas gifts for each other; this experience may explain how and why he crafts the unique guitars he plays. This video also proves how he got his nickname, and also proves that he has an acquaintance with the equally-badass nickname of "Razor Blade."
8 p.m. – Oliver Mtukudzi and the Black Spirits
Wikipedia Bio: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oliver_%22Tuku%22_Mtukudzi
One of the wonderful things about writing, or writing music, is that the author or composer has the opportunity, through thinly veiled satire, to express ideas that if spoken aloud would most certainly result in a head-bashing at best, and a cold earthen tomb at worst.
"Wasakara" is the title of one of Oliver Mtukudzi's songs. It means "you are getting old." Although Mtukudzi has never actually admitted it, refusing to break the kayfabe of this social criticism, the song was a not-so-subtle dig at a man who was one of Africa's most brutal dictators and greatest reverse racists – scratch that; "reverse racist" is an oxymoron. Racism is racism, whether Anglo-Saxons are giving, or taking, and it's still always wrong, whether it's in Pennsylvania's voter ID law or Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe, who compares himself favorably to Hitler.
Sunday, August 5, 2012
12 p.m. – Glarner Group
Last year, the Glarner Group celebrated what is purportedly "the region's longest running Jazz night," by taping this show at the Liberty Street Cafe in Warren.
2 p.m. – Allen Zurcher Quartet
It's kind of hard to find video of this quartet, and on Sunday, they won't even be a quartet! They're adding Chris Dempsey's trombone to Jim Madden's keys, David Blatez's bass, Matt Ferguson's drums, and Zurcher's sax. So, now you have an excuse to go see them for yourself.
4 p.m. – Mary Alice Brown
Why is there no easily searchable YouTube video of Mary Alice Brown in action? Does anybody know of any? In fact, there's not much information on her anywhere on the Internet that I could find…I think we should probably write a story about her in the near future. Until then, I guess you'll just have to go and see her for yourself.
6 p.m. – Lee Konitz
As you know from reading the Erie Reader unofficial clip 'n' save schedule for the Erie Art Museum's 20th Annual Blues and Jazz Festival, Lee Konitz has been performing for decades. "I'm a record collector," Vanco told me. "I have 78s of his." If you have no 78s, here's a sample of his work through eight different decades from the 1940s to today.
"Marshmallow," from "An Unsung Cat: The Life and Music of Wayne Marsh," recorded in New York City on June 28, 1949, featuring Lee Konitz on alto sax, Warne Marsh on tenor sax, Sal Mosca on piano, Arnold Fishkin on bass, and Denzil Best on drums.
"Ezz-Thetic," from "Ezz-Thetic," recorded in 1951, featuring Miles Davis on trumpet, Lee Konitz on alto sax, Sal Mosca on piano, Billy Bauer on guitar, Arnold Fishkin on bass, and Max Roach on drums.
"Variations on 'Alone Together,'" from "The Lee Konitz Duets," recorded in 1967, featuring Lee Konitz on alto sax, Elvin Jones on drums, Karl Berger on vibraharp, and Eddie Gomez on bass.
"There Will Never be Another You," from "Chet Baker & Leo Konitz in Concert," recorded live in April, 1974, featuring Chet Baker on trumpet, Lee Konitz on alto sax, Michael Moore on bass, and Beaver Harris on drums.
"Stella by Starlight," from "The Woodstock Jazz Festival," recorded in Woodstock, New York on September 19, 1981, featuring Lee Konitz on alto sax and Chick Corea on keys.
"I Wish I Knew," recorded live at the Knitting Factory on August 10, 1991, featuring Paul Motian on drums, Joe Lovano on tenor sax, Bill Frisell on guitar, and Lee Konitz on alto sax.
"What's New?" recorded live at the Artist's Quarter in St. Paul, Minn. on June 15, 2007, featuring Lee Konitz on alto sax, Phil Aaron on piano, Chris Bates on bass and Kenny Horst on drums.
"Kary's Trance, Subconscious – Lee, and 'Round Midnight," recorded live at the Strasbourg Jazz Festival d'Or, November, 2010, featuring Lee Konitz on alto sax and Dan Tepfer on piano.
8 p.m. – Red Baraat
Official site: www.redbaraat.com/flash.html
Ever wanted to see 8 guys crammed into cramped quarters playing raucous music? Well, You're in luck.