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27 February 2009

Chicana Gypsy Project

On a recent cold night, in a tiny, cellar nightclub in Manhattan's East Village, a fascinating and unusual world music band, the Chicana Gypsy Project, made its USA debut. The performance had a little extra back story drama. The group had been snowed in at the Spanish airport for two days and did not make it from the arrivals terminal in NewYork; just about showtime. Their instruments, however did not fare as well. The musicians played with borrowed instruments but the music was their own.

The group, led by singer/dancer Maria Bermudez, blends seemingly diverse roots and idioms into a sound that is very much its own.

As the ensemble’s name suggests, it draws its inspiration from Latin American and flamenco genres. Add to this, robust flavors from the American southwest, blues, and jazz. One might think that this oleo is a bit on the gimmicky side —but it works! Chicana Gypsy Project’s unique blend of herbs and spices charms, excites, inspires, thrills and soars. The pulse quickens; the blood blazes; and the feet move.

The secret is soul. The numbers typically start with the Spanish guitar, joined by the passionate wails of the two cantatores, the Flamenco singers. When I say “wail,” I am not using the word as some kind of metaphorical flourish. These magical singers reach inside of themselves and emerge with pure distilled emotion shape-shifted into music. It sounds pretty, pretty good.

The other instruments slip in. They are gypsy violin, drums, electric guitar and upright bass. And then of course, there is the presence of  Maria Bermudez—founder. lead singer and dancer. Her body swoops, glides, stomps and swirls, and her vocals match the moves.

The repertoire, though no without it exotica, also contained blazing versions of some familiar classics, such as “Moondance” and “Summertime.”  The latter, while perhaps not the most infectious,  resonates with the group’s mission. Its composer George Gershwin, a son of Russia Jewish immigrants, created his own multi culti sounds spun from French classical  composers, Tin Pan Alley and Jazz.

Add Chicana Gypsy Project to the honorable list of Musicians Without Borders. Their explosive results will reverberate for a long time.



Chicana Gypsy Project

Maria Bermudez (Lead Vocals/Dancer)
-Jesus Alvarez (Flamenco Guitarist)
-Juan 'Cantarote' (Flamenco Singer/Palmas)
-Pele De Los Reyes (Flamenco Singer/Palmas)
-Bernardo Parrilla (Gypsy Violin)
-Tato Macias (Drums)
-Lolo Bernal (Electric Guitar)
-Sandro Fornasari (Upright Bass)


05 February 2009

Golden Filter On Tour

New York based remixers, The Golden Filter get words like Moroder and Kraftwerk  strewn in their path. (Perhaps an instrumental of Fats Waller’s “Ain’t Misconstruing” plays in the background.) Referring to  the group’s Solid Gold, Zimbio said, “this dance beat-a-thon reckons and wrecks hard floors.” Pitchfork calls The Golden Filter’s remix of Peter Bjorn and John’s “Lay It  Down” hypnotic and a download is available from Pitchfork. The group will have a release soon from Dummy Records and is touring the U.S., starting with 18-23 March appearances at SXSW. The rest of the tour is as follows.

3/27 - Club Downunder at Florida State University w/ The Presets Talahassee, Florida
3/28 WMC - TBA Miami, Florida
3/29 - Common Grounds w/ The Presets Gainesville, Florida
3/30 - Masquerade (Hell Stage) w/ The Presets Atlanta, Georgia
3/31 - Cats Cradle w/ The Presets Carrboro, North Carolina
4/1 - 9:30 Club w/ The Presets Washington DC, Washington DC
4/3 - Webster Hall w/ The Presets New York City, New York
4/4 - Paradise w/ The Presets Boston, Massachusetts
4/5 - Studio Juste Pour Rire w/ The Presets Montreal, Quebec
4/6 - The Mod Club w/ The Presets Toronto, Ontario
4/7 - The Grog Shop w/ The Presets Cleveland, Ohio
4/8 - Metro w/ The Presets Chicago, Illinois
4/10 - Bluebird Theatre w/The Presets Denver, Colorado
4/11 - Murray Theatre w/ The Presets Murray, Utah
4/13 - Commodore Ballroom w/ The Presets Vancouver, British Columbia
4/14 - Nuemos w/ The Presets Seattle, Washington
4/15 - Hawthorne Theatre w/ the Presets Portland, Oregon
4/17 - Mezzanine w/ the Presets San Francisco, California
4/20 - The Glass House w/The Presets Pomona, California

02 February 2009

New 2L Trumpet and Organ Release

Trumpeter Jan Fredrik Christiansen and organist Terje Winge collaborate on 2L release Missa da Tromba. The trumpet/organ combo often is associated with works of such composers as Henry Purcell and Jeremiah Clarke's that mark events with a sense of occasion. This recording also shows the more contemplative possibilities inherent in the pairing of the trumpet’s sweet clarity and the organ’s intricate majesty. Works include “Missa da Tromba” and “Choralsonate nr. 3” by Kjell Mørk Karlsen, Jon Laukvik’s “Lamento,”  “Sonate for trumpet and Organ” by Ketil Vea, and Egil Hovland’s “ Cantus X for trumpet and Organ.” To order or hear samples, click here.

30 December 2007

Happy Birthday Bo Diddley

Happy Birthday Bo Diddley. On 30 December, 1928, Bo Diddley was born in McComb, Mississippi. (His name at that time was Ellas McDaniel.)

The Penguin Encyclopedia of Popular Music describes Bo Diddley as “one of the most influential R&B artists of the mid-‘50s.” He was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame in 1987. On its site, the RRHF states the following:

Bo Diddley broke new ground in rock and roll’s formative years with his unique guitar work, indelible African rhythms, inventive songwriting, and larger-than-life persona. He will forever be known for popularizing one of the foundational rhythms of rock and roll: the Bo Diddley beat.
We celebrate Bo Diddley both as an indies artist and as a great inspiration to and source for generations of indie artists.

06 November 2007

Hello World

In the spring of 1983, two events occurred were the yin and yang of the recording industry. The first took place in Black Rock, New York City corporate headquarters of the mighty Columbia Records. An overflow crowd of journalists, analysts and other interested parties filled an auditorium to witness the unveiling of the new Philips/Sony joint venture. Ta da! the audio CD-ROM. It was the dawn of a new era. We were freed from the tyranny of the scratchy, accident-prone vinyl. Not a bad day really.

But two or three weeks later, a Philadelphia hotel saw a gathering of a different sort — independent record labels and their distributors gathered under a loose umbrella of their organization, NAIRD (National Association of Independent Record Distributors.) Not quite a button-down situation. One member of the Board of Governors received praise simply for wearing a shirt with buttons, for a change. The CD-ROM was on their minds. They had enough problems being competitive with the big guys. Was this market innovation going to wipe them out?

Moses Asch, founder and guiding spirit of Folkways Records gave a talk. It was a walk through his history. And he addressed the new digital medium with a perspective that came from running an indie label since 1948. It’s not about the delivery format. It’s about the music. It’s always about the music. It always will be about the music.

New (and old) Blues and Jazz from Delmark

Chicago-based Delmark, issuing fine blues and jazz since 1953, is preparing to issue a bunch of albums this season. Coming in late, late October are:

· Nicole Mitchell Black Unstoppable Delmark DVD 1575 / DE 575 (includes both a live at the Velvet DVD and a studio CD of new compositions!) Flute virtuoso Mitchell (She placed first as “Rising Star” Flutist in Downbeat magazine’s 2006 critic’s poll.) is Co-president of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM), and founder of Black Earth Ensemble. Appearing with Nicole on the DVD/CD combo are David Boykin (saxophone), David Young (trumpet), Jeff Parker (guitar); Tomeka Reid (cello); Josh Abrams (bass); Marcus Evans (drums); and Ugochi (vocals).

· Ari Brown Live at The Green Mill Delmark DVD 1577 / DE 577. With this work, Chicago Tenor saxophonist Brown adds to his repertoire of deep, emotional and searing music. Personnel are pianist Kirk Brown (Ari’s brother); Yosef Ben Israel (bass); and Avreeayl Ra (drums). Also appearing are Pharez Whitted, on trumpet and Dr. Cuz,on percussion.

· Brad Goode Nature Boy Delmark DE 578 Delmark’s got Brad Goode and that ain’t bad. Maestro Goode is a University of Colorado at Boulder professor of music. Previously Trumpeter Goode burnished his reputation at Chicago’s Green Mill where he led the house band for about 12 years and at the Jazz Showcase where he held his own with such legends as Joe Henderson, Eddie Harris, Lee Konitz, James Moody, Red Rodney, Ira Sullivan. Joining Goode on “Nature Boy” are Jeff Jenkins, piano; Johannes Weidenmueller, bass; and Todd Reid, drums.

· 4) Jimmy Blythe Messin’ Around Blues Delmark DE 792 Kentuckian Jimmy Blythe headed North to Chicago back in 1915. He established himself as a studio jazz and blues piano player for Paramount, Vocalion and Gennett. Among the artists he worked with were Ma Rainey, Blind Blake and Johnny Dodds. He also is known for the many piano rolls he recorded. The digitally enhanced piano rolls featured on this CD were recorded a few months before Blythe died in 1931..

Here is Delmark’s November new release list.

· Little Arthur Duncan and the Back Scratchers Live at Rosa’s Blues Lounge Delmark DE 793/DVD 1793This video captures the live performance of 73-year-old harp-playing Little Arthur Duncan at one of Chicago’s best blues clubs. His band, the Back Scratchers, consists of guitarists Illinois Slim and Rick Kreher, Michael Azzi (bass); and Twist Turner (drums). Guest vocalist Little Al Thomas joins in.

· Sabertooth Live at the Green Mill Delmark DE 579 This jazz group proclaims, Sabertooth’s our name, late night jazz is our game.” They display winning form. The group’s personnel —saxophonists Pat Mallinger and Cameron Pfiffner, Ted Sirota on drums and Pete Benson Hammond B3 organ — hold forth with great zest and versatility. They have bee the Saturday night band at this venue for more than 10 years.

· Keefe Jackson’s Project Project Just Like This Delmark DE 580 Composer/reedplayer takes this 12-piece ensemble through its paces and delivers some tight, stunning music. In addition to Jackson, the Project Project players are Josh Berman, Jaimie Branch, trumpet; Jeb Bishop, Nick Broste, trombone; Marc Unternahrer, tuba; James Falzone, clarinet; Guillermo Gregorio, alto sax/clarinet; Keefe Jackson, tenor sax/bass clarinet; Jason Stein, bass clarinet; Dave Rempis, alto and baritone sax; Anton Harwich, bass; and Frank Rosaly, drums.

· Mike Walbridge’s Chicago Footwarmers featuring Kim Cusack Crazy Rhythm Delmark DE 247 Tuba player Walbridge has been an integral part of the traditional jazz scene for more than 45 years. Visitors to Chicago’s “hot clubs” may have seen and heard him play with the Chicago Salty Dogs and his own band, The Chicago Footwarmers
Reedplayer Kim Cusack and Mike have been jamming together since they were teenagers. This album contains a re-release of two sessions from the mid-60s, as well as a new session from 2007. The other 60s players are Johnny Cooper, piano; Eddie Lynch, banjo; and Glen Koch, drums. The additional 2007 musicians are Don Stiernberg, banjo/guitar and Bob Cousins, drums.

Dixie Bee-Liners in Studio

The bluegrass band Dixie Bee-Liners has been putting in some studio time for their first outing on North Carolina label Pinecastle Records. Bil VornDick serves as producer/engineer.” Bluegrass Now named the Virginia-Based group’s first album among one of the “Best of 2006.” Pinecastle’s founder Tom Riggs earned a Distinguished Achievement Award from International Bluegrass Music Association in 2002. We are told The Dixie Bee-Liners new recording will be released in the first quarter of 2008.

You can’t get more indy than Iceland

If you’ve been noticing Icelandic music lately — and who hasn’t — you should know about the new Web site that promotes the nation’s music to the world. is a portal that takes you to an artist and band database; news about the various doings of Icelandic artists around the world; and an events page that details concert dates and places in the country. Visitors to the site also will find downloadable music videos and podcasts plus information on Icelandic studios and producers. And here’s the best part. This is being done by a government sponsored entity Icelandic Music Export (IMX).

Spotlight on Base Records

This is Fadi Dorninger’s label. (You might associate him with Wipeout, Aural Screenshots, and Monochrome Bleu). The label is located in Austria and cyberspace. Dorninger explains the label’s mission is “to present ecstatic accumulations of sonar experiences, vivid dubs of subsonar explosions. The friends of extreme positions in rhythmical and aural structures are pround to present a collective statement: subbass, hyperventilation, ambient of sumo-wrestlers, gay cooks, self-constructed sound-machines, manipulations on vinyl, breakbeats and the handcraft of violin construction.”

TYPE(S): Experimental,Techno, Industrial, sound tracks
ARTISTS: Dorninger, Wipeout, Familie Seelig, 3rd base compilations, 9to5 compilation
ADDRESS: Freistädterstrasse 237
A 4040 Linz
DOWNLOAD URLS: Also itunes, emusic, yahoo music, USA/Canada/Mexico and overseas: