Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
As I approached Campbell Hall, I knew that I was in for a treat. Clusters of excited fans gathered at the steps to the lecture hall, clasping their tickets and engaging in animated chatter about the upcoming performance. Settling into my seat, I soon realized that I was surrounded by not only fans, but by a wide array of accomplished musicians. Behind me sat a man who was an electronic/hip hop music producer who had just completed a music archive project that intersected environmental sustainability with the soundtrack of old-school funk and jazz. In front of me was a married couple of classical concert pianists who exchanged tender murmurs of excitement as the lights came down. "He's the real thing," they whispered. And then it started. Coming on stage, with a personality that filled up the lecture hall of 860 seats to the brim. The epitome of cool, he danced and jived all through the set and when he played his infamous instrument of choice, the seductive and powerful sax, there was no one in the lecture hall who wasn't moving right along. It was time, as he said, to get funky. Every solo elicited a holler from the audience members, every little dance a grin. The performance was like nothing I had ever seen. More than two hours of pure, unadulterated music (and don't let Maceo Parker hear you call it your mama's jazz!). This was prime, old-school, full-throttle funk. Fresh off a tour that has taken him everywhere from Moscow to San Francisco, Maceo Parker has been keeping funk alive for over twenty years, collaborating with a diverse set of artists such as Ray Charles, Dave Matthews, and even the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Weaving in songs and riffs from classic motown, R&B and soul, Parker demonstrated the absolute breadth and musical aptitude that he can incorporate into this established genre. This sentiment was only amplified by the immensely talented musicians that he surrounded himself with on stage (which he introduced with James Brown-esque zest and humor). A throwback to the glory days of funk and a harbinger of the many golden days to come, it reminds us that his catchphrase of "2% jazz, 98% funk" still rings true. And that's 100% okay with me.
I stumbled upon Mariee Sioux in the wee hours of an early morning music binge and was instantly captivated by her use of visceral imagery and her utilization of a sparse but powerful musical technique that echoes the theme of longing for solace, a solace that can be both lost and found within the natural world.
"The tale of Mariee Sioux began as delicately and spiritually as her captivating song, as a small ember introduced to the universe that soon grew into a flame of hope and illumination. Her dazzling debut album, Faces in the Rocks, weaves together the poetic interpretations of the universe’s deep truths and interconnectedness that have intrigued her since childhood. Each spin invites listeners to be the cast in Mariee’s entrancing tale with a journey ahead that is only beginning.
The stage was set in her hometown of Nevada City, CA, a historically creative community in which artists have flourished over the ages, where Mariee intertwined the vivid verse she had been writing as a child with the life lessons she has learned as an adult for this powerful record. Her roots had been planted deep in music through the love of her mandolin-playing father, but it was not until Mariee ventured a life-changing trip to Patagonia at the age of 17 that she began to play an instrument herself. She soon perfected the spry, delicate finger picking guitar technique featured on Faces in the Rocks, a faultless accompaniment to her strong yet sweetly cooing vocals, and toured internationally with her adoring compatriots Brightblack Morning Light.
Featuring Grammy-nominee Gentle Thunder’s enchanting sound on a redwood-carved Native American flute as well as her own famed father Gary Sobonya on mandolin, Mariee recorded Faces in May 2007 with a troupe of Nevada City’s talented musicians. Recorded with the intent of aligning the magnificence of the human voice with the universe’s creative energy, each song is a stirring exploration of life. Her tales range from the profundity of friendship on the single “Friendboats” to the yearning of self-understanding on “Bundles,” each laced with fabled images and poignant verse. “Two Tongues at One Time,” recently released on a rare 7” vinyl, is a sonnet-filled homage to the ancestors who traversed the wild lands of America hundreds of years ago, reminding listeners of our vital ties to our past.
Continuing the folk tradition of songwriting greats such as Joni Mitchell, Kate Wolf and Nick Drake, Faces glorifies an appreciation of the working spirit and the oneness of nature that remains timeless." http://www.grassrootsrecordco.com/artists/artist_mariee.html
With respect and love,
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Tuesday, April 5, 2011