Fiuczynski rolls in on the KiF Express

Last night was David “Fuze” Fiuczynski’s KiF at Nectar’s, followed by Raq guitarist Chris Michetti with his band. Both bands certainly brought their “A” game for the night. 

Fuze went on at 9:30pm, playing material off of his latest album, KiF Express. His band was with him at every turn. There were certainly times when the crowd just didn’t know what to make of his music and were simply awed. 

Michette took the stage at 11:30 and tore it up with more progressive rock-based music. Though his band couldn’t compare to Fuze’s in talent, they were just as tight.

At a $5 cover, this was certainly the best bang for the buck.  Nectar’s is certainly off to a great start on their part for the festival.

David "Fuze" Fiuczynski | Nectar's 6.6.09

David "Fuze" Fiuczynski | Nectar's 6.6.09

David Fiuczynski @ KiF

David Fiuczynski & KiF | Nectar's 6.6.09

Esperanza Spalding & Anat Cohen Quartet

The Burlington Discover Jazz Festival kicked off yesterday and the streets of Burlington were as lively as ever. Music enthusiasts and general bar-hoppers populated Church St. late into the night as live music filled the evening air on every block. 

Meet The Artist Session

The evening started with a “Meet The Artist” session downstairs at the Flynn Space (the Flynn’s smaller cabaret equivalent). Jazz critic-in-residence Bob Blumenthal moderated the session with bass player/vocalist Esperanza Spalding and clarinetist/saxophonist Anat Cohen.

Spalding was interviewed one-on-one by Blumenthal while Cohen finished up her soundcheck for the evening performance upstairs. Spalding talked about her childhood experiences and their influences on her musicianship. She was incredibly articulate and well spoken during the session. 

Cohen came down after 45 minutes and began discussing her past in Israel as well as her musician brothers. She also discussed her record label, Anzic Records (named by combining “Anat” with “Muzic,”) and the reason for its creation. It’s clear that she wanted to be able to take more control over her albums than a outside label might normally let her. Joel Frahm, Jason Lindner and Cohen’s brother, Avishai Cohen, are artists on the label. 

The session was certainly one of the best I’d seen since I started attending them. At 90 minutes long, I couldn’t remember a longer session taking place in the past. The educational events during the festival are not to be missed. Take a look at the schedule here

Esperanza Spalding describes the size of the sound that she sought from herself on the bass.

Esperanza Spalding describes the size of the sound that she sought from herself on the bass.

Anat Cohen talks about her record label, Anzic Records.

Anat Cohen talks about her record label, Anzic Records.

The Concert

Following the typical introductions and sponsor recognition, the show began with a 75 minute set by the Anat Cohen Quartet. Cohen performed on clarinet for the first several songs, wowing the audience with her emotions and ability to seemingly sing through the instrument. Pianist Jason Lindner made use of a variety of prepared piano techniques throughout the set. In some cases he would mute the strings with is fingers while playing to produce a sound similar to plucking guitar strings. The percussive element was quite captivating as well.

Drummer Daniel Freedman produced all sorts of atmospheres with a variety of techniques. He played simply with his hands for portions and even made use of the brush end of a household broomstick at one point to increase the dynamic of the brush texture. 

The highlight of the set was the performance of “Hofim,” (which translates to “Seashores”) off of her 2007 album Poetica. The vibe was moving and the performance was quite captivating. Cohen sure knows how to grab you and make you feel what she’s feeling. 

Esperanza Spalding took the stage after a more lengthy stage change with a different lineup of musicians from her last performance in Burlington (Discover Jazz ’07). Her light hearted humor and youthful style was endearing as she sang a short introduction to her set, making it known that this would not be your “typical vocal jazz” performance. 

Her ensemble played a nice variety of songs ranging from older compositions to a newer, more “pop” song and a Nina Simone cover. Sadly, the front-of-house sound engineer didn’t quite dial in an adequate mix for her set until the end. One must wonder if he mistakenly thought that, because of Esperanza’s headlining name, the bass must be at the front of the mix. I was never quite satisfied with the vocal level either but that’s just the nature of live sound sometimes.

I’m certainly looking forward to all of the upcoming concerts including guitarist David “Fuze” Fiuczynski at Nectar’s, followed by Michetti (the latest project by Raq frontman Chris Michetti).

Anat Cohen Quartet | Flynn Theater 6.5.09

Anat Cohen Quartet | Flynn Theater 6.5.09

Esperanza Spalding | Flynn Theater 6.5.09

Esperanza Spalding | Flynn Theater 6.5.09

 

Esperanza Spalding & Otis Brown | Flynn Theater 6.5.09

Esperanza Spalding & Otis Brown | Flynn Theater 6.5.09

Burlington Discover Jazz Festival ’09

Here’s what’s on my menu so far:

Thur. 6.4.09
Left Ear Trio @ Ri Ra Pub

Fri. 6.5.09
Esperanza Spalding & Anat Cohen @ Flynn

Sat. 6.6.09
Revision @ Red Square
David “Fuze” Fiuczynski & Michetti @ Nectar’s

Sun. 6.7.09
Michael Louis Smith Coalition @ Half Lounge

Mon. 6.8.09
General musical wandering…

Tues. 6.9.09
CVU Jazz @ City Hall Stage (Church St.)
James Harvey & Garuda @ City Hall Stage (Church St.)
Will Bernard Group (Will Bernard, Tim Luntzel, Stanton Moore, Robert Walter) @ Nectar’s

Wed. 6.10.09
Gordon Stone @ Lawson Lane Stage
Japhy Ryder @ Fountain Stage (Church St.)
Lettuce @ Metronome

Thur. 6.11.09
Lettuce & Porter, Baptiste, Stoltz @ Waterfront Funk Tent

Fri. 6.12.09
Rubblebucket Orchestra @ Fountain Stage for Block Party
Branford Marsalis @ Flynn
Marco Benevento Trio @ Metronome

Sat. 6.13.09
Rubblebucket Orchestra @ Nectar’s

Sun. 6.14.09
General musical wandering…

I plan to catch all sorts of other things around town as I hear about them/hear them. I’ll take pictures and maybe some audio as well and I’ll do my best to post throughout the week.

Burlington Discover Jazz Festival
Picture 1

Chapter 2 kicks up the dust at Metronome

Eric Krasno, the guitarist of Soulive and Lettuce and various other projects, lead Chapter 2 on an evening of funk and soul at Club Metronome in downtown Burlington on Thursday night. The group put on quite a show. Louis Cato, the bass player, managed to steal the show with an incredible solo at one point during the night. Adam Deitch also deserves to be mentioned for some of the tightest and most interesting live drumming I’ve heard in a while. It seemed like he broke new ground with every song they played.

Looking forward to catching Krasno and Deitch together with Lettuce when they play during the Burlington Discover Jazz Festival

Chapter 2 | 5.28.09 Club Metronome - Burlington, VT

Chapter 2 | 5.28.09 Club Metronome - Burlington, VT

 

 


The Dirty Dozen shake things up at Higher Ground

The Dirty Dozen Brass Band of New Orleans, Louisiana tore the roof off of the Higher Ground Ballroom last night in South Burlington, VT despite a surprisingly low turnout. The septet laid down an infectious bed of New Orleans funk and groove that will not soon be forgotten

Though originally it seemed to be an odd pairing, the indie band Adam Ezra Group opened for the Dirty Dozen with a 50 minute set. Adam Ezra had performed a solo set at Higher Ground opening for Kaki King on 10.9.08. A few songs into their set, it became more clear as to why the group had been chosen to open. They performed a set full of vibes that reminded me of Rusted Root and other funky, more mainstream acts. At one point, Ezra mentioned that they had backed out of a gig in New Hampshire to come open for DDBB. The applause that followed ensured that they had made the right decision.

The rhythm section of the brass band took the stage just before 10pm and laid down a funky groove as the rest of the members walked on. The band didn’t let the music stop for more than a minute for the rest of the evening. Bass sousaphone player Julius McKee played some of funkiest bass lines throughout the night even though he remained atop a stool for the majority of the show.

Terence Higgins, the drummer, was easily the highlight of the evening for me. I’ve wanted to see him for years now and I enjoyed every minute of his performance. He is truly an example of a drummer with skills beyond belief who knows how to play tastefully. He would lay down a groove and then I’d catch little over-the-barline phrases with ghost notes and fills between his floor tom and snare. He only had a kick, snare and floor tom in his setup but he played it more impressively than a lot of 5-piece drummers I’ve seen lately. 

I’m definitely looking forward to concerts coming up in the next few weeks including the Burlington Discover Jazz Festival. Eric Krasno & Chapter 2 are playing this Thursday at Club Metronome in Burlington. Adam Deitch is sure to bust out some funking drumming at that show!

 

Dirty Dozen Brass Band | Higher Ground Ballroom 5.23.09

Dirty Dozen Brass Band | Higher Ground Ballroom 5.23.09

New Music Discovery…Just A Click Away!

(As published in the Racquette Newspaper)
ArticleLayout

Imagine living in the 21st century without the Internet. It’s close to impossible to even consider what that would be like. It’s a means of communication, entertainment, research and much more. You can find almost anything on the Internet in a relatively short amount of time. The world relies on the Internet as a constant source of information.

In recent years people have turned towards the Internet to discover new music.  With the development of peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing with services such as Napster, Internet users could obtain virtually any musical recording with a few clicks of the mouse. Then the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) came in and started suing people for illegal downloading and the situation shifted.

Along came the internet radio stations and music search engines that looked for new music for you based on what you like and what you listen to. People turned to services like Pandora, Last.fm and iLike. Each services has an associated application that can be used to “scrobble” (sync) what you’re listening to on your computer or your mp3 player with your user profile. Each services works slightly differently though.

Pandora, a service created by the Music Genome Project, recommends music and provides a personalized Internet radio station for their users. By entering an artist name or song title, a user can receive recommendations on similar music. As with other similar online services, users can rate the music that is recommended for them. The services record this data and use it in order to better cater to each of their users.

Before the songs become available for listening on Pandora they are individually analyzed by a musician. The analysis is based on a list of attributes, which contain “genes” (parameters) that were created by the Music Genome Project. These include everything from the tempo of the music to the gender of the vocalist to the amount of distortion on the guitar track. There are different sets of genes for different genres. It can take up to 30 minutes for the analysis to be completed. The results allow Pandora to make educated music recommendations for users.

Last.fm has capabilities similar to Pandora but has more of a social networking vibe supporting it. It was designed to help provide people with new music to listen to online. Users can setup a profile and write about music, connect with other listeners and more.

Last.fm employs an application called Audioscrobbler, which records plays from iTunes (or other music players) and mp3 devices. The application runs in the background and automatically opens when your preferred music player is in use. The application uses a miniscule amount of CPU power.  Audioscrobbler posts the information on your profile and provides suggestions for music to check out. Other users can look at what you’re listening to and provide suggestions as well. This may having you watching over your shoulder waiting for some kind of Orwellian “Big Brother” to post your secrets on a public profile but really, it’s just modern technology helping you by providing you with music to fit your tastes.

Last.fm has grown quickly from four programmers to thousands of employees. They are owned by CBS. Their service has become quite popular and very capable. They claim to have more than 21 million users from more than 200 countries.

iLike is the youngest of the three popular services and is still considered to be in it’s Beta version. Aside from being a popular application on the social networking site Facebook, it makes use of a toolbar that runs within iTunes. While the toolbar is optional, it provides a similar function to Last.fm’s Audioscrobbler by providing the website with the music you’ve been listening to.

iLike provides users with the option to buy music off of their website as one might from the iTunes store. There are also free mp3s available every week to promote new music. Users can create playlists of music and share them with their friends. This takes the concept of the trading mix tapes with friends and brings it into the 21st century.

People using iTunes 8 can take advantage of the iTunes “Genius” feature to automatically create playlists of similar music in their iTunes library. The Genius feature must first be turned on, at which point it gathers the necessary information about your music. The information is sent to Apple and then the resulting playlists are sent back to your iTunes account. The whole process can take as little as a few minutes but will take longer given a larger library of music.

The Genius uses what is known as “collaborative filtering in order to create appropriate playlists. This means that iTunes is actually using the data gathered from all iTunes accounts with the Genius feature activated.

Once the Genius has been activated, users can play any song in their library, click the Genius button in the bottom right-hand corner of iTunes, and have a playlist created instantly. Users can limit the number of songs, refresh the playlist and save the playlist for later use.

The best thing about these services is that they’re all free. There are no trial periods or demos, everything is the full version and they’re free. You don’t need to be signed up for the services to receive some of their benefits. You can visit their websites and “test drive” it to see if you like the format. Plenty of people make use of the Internet radio capabilities of these services simply by typing in an artist and listening to similar music while they work. Other people are more interested in being involved in the social aspect of the services. They enjoy reading user reviews of music and general blogs about music.

Take advantage of the technology that exists and open your mind to new music. Your new favorite band couple literally be a few mouse clicks away.

New Band, New Music

groupthoughtlogo

As of March, I’ve been working with a new band called GroupThought. We’re a trio (guitar/bass/drums) playing original Progressive-Jam-Fusion. All of us are students at SUNY Potsdam and have been spending time practicing, writing and recording over at the Crane School of Music. 

We self-produced an EP and decided to release it for free. All of the tracks are available for free download on our ReverbNation and Last.fm pages. We’ve played twice on campus in the past week but plan to take the summer off from performing to focus on writing and booking for the fall.

coverart2

Check out our music and become fans/friends on our sites:

GroupThought on Myspace
GroupThought on Facebook