Monday, February 29, 2016

JULIAN LAGE PLAYS JOHNNY BRENDA'S 3/8/16



 
Julian Lage Goes Electric

By Rob Nagy


A genuine prodigy by age 7, acoustic guitar virtuoso Julian Lage, now 28, showcases his talents on the electric guitar, with his newly formed trio, on “Arclight” (Mack Avenue Records).

I took this as an opportunity to start a band and to play electric guitar, which is something I always wanted to do, but didn’t have an outlet for,” says Lage, from his home in New York City. “It was more the concept of not an acoustic guitar that we were electrifying but an electric guitar we were electrifying.  In my case, it was a focus on the Telecaster and what would I do with the electric guitar, bass and drums? I kind of went down this rabbit hole, as far as material, and connected to songs from the 20’s and 30’s that were kind of forgotten. I always find there is a parallel between the birth of the electric guitar and the birth of early jazz writing. I grew up with so many jazz recordings that I just love - Jim Hall, Scofield, Metheny and Abercrombie.  So, I just tried to find something that I felt maybe wasn’t represented conceptually and just went for it.”

“In a lot of ways, this was really a challenge,” adds Lage. “The last record I made was a solo acoustic guitar record. This [record] was a summation of a lot of years and, most recently, of a lot acoustic guitar focus. I had to learn and I had to focus, fine tune it and ask a lot of questions about it and fail at it in different ways. I’m thrilled with it.”

Offering an 11-song collection of works that have long been shelved in obscurity, Lage, backed by double bassist Scott Colley and drummer Kenny Wollesen, rises to the occasion. Arclight features masterfully delivered interpretations of early 20th century classics and a handful of original compositions, including “Fortune Teller,” “Persian Rug,” “Nocturne,” “Supera,” “Stop Go Start,” “Activate,” “Presley,” “Prospero,” “I'll Be Seeing You,” “Harlem Blues” and “Ryland.”

Lage fondly remembers his professional introduction to the world at a tender age in the 1996 Oscar nominated documentary, “Jules at 8.”

The documentary, as you would imagine, was kind of an unusual call to action,” recalls Lage. “It was made by Mark Brecker, a grad student at the time in the film department at Stanford. He was looking to do a film on a young musician who was also reconciling being a kid and going to school and doing kid stuff. So, he reached out to my family. My parents felt it was flattering, but there was no reason to have promotion at that point. I didn’t feel especially inclined to do it, so we respectfully declined the offer. Then he came back, ‘I’ve looked all around, but I still think Julian makes sense,’ for one reason or another.”

“We just took a gamble on it,” adds Lage. “It was filmed when I was 7. I started playing guitar when I was 5. What’s cool about it is that what [Brecker] ended up making was less a film about me personally and more about someone in my position. Even though I’m the subject, it’s not like a music documentary where you see someone playing a whole lot and you see them putting on shows. I play a couple of times, but briefly. It’s almost incidental. In a way, we got exactly what I think we had hoped for - a degree of anonymity while still being the focus.”

Lage recalls his debut performance Grammy Awards in the late 90’s, when he caught the attention of Gary Burton, resulting in a personal friendship and a musically collaborative adventure. 


Citing this connection with the renowned vibraphonist as a pinnacle moment in his career, Lage recounts his initial connection with Burton.

“In the audience that night was Gary Burton. He wrote me a letter and got my phone number. He said, ‘I’m Gary and I would love to reach out to you and have a phone conversation.’  So, I called him and we had a great talk. He had a gig opportunity at the Ted conference. The theme that year was “Mentors and their Students.” Gary reached out and said, ‘I know we’re just meeting, but would you be okay playing the young person role for a generational presentation?’ I had been a fan of Gary’s. We played our first gig at the Ted conference and that went really well.  So, he asked me to play with him on tour and that went really well. Then, it just kind of snowballed. Every opportunity we got to play together we took.”

At the invitation of Burton, Lage returned to the Grammy Awards in 2000 to perform with his mentor on stage.

“Gary is absolutely my greatest teacher in so many ways,” adds Lage. “The detailed specific technical level of how one becomes a jazz musician and how to carry yourself, just the most invaluable lessons. It began as a relationship with the up and coming kid and grew into a really wonderful thing - feeling like we’re colleagues in a way. It has been the greatest honor.”

“My parents have been incredible,” adds Lage. “I’m the youngest of 5 children. My family, as a whole, I feel so blessed to be a part of it. Everyone I was ever around as a young person just wouldn’t push me.  There was no rush. I didn’t make my first record until I was 21. I was waiting until I could turn on all the frets. Everyone was just so supportive.”

An ascending star in the jazz community, Lage’s dedication to his art and appreciation for his fans and critics alike fuels his passion.

“I feel like now I have to work harder than ever, and I want to,” says Lage. “I just really push myself toward what I think is possible. I’m such a nerd for the music that I play, but also just guitar culture, the instrument, the history and the community. At the end of the day, it’s the same definition - try my best, make a lot of mistakes and connect with an audience and a community.”

“I feel so blessed to have anyone’s attention at all,” adds Lage. “If you come to the show, we’ll take good care of you. We’ll do our best to put on a concert and experience that hopefully will have integrity. That’s our number one focus right now.”

Julian Lage will perform at Johnny Brenda’s, 1201 Frankford Avenue, Philadelphia, PA, on Tuesday March 8, 2016 at 8:00 P.M. Tickets are available by calling (215) 739-9684 or visiting www.johnnybrendas.com.

To stay up to date with Julian Lage, visit www.julianlage.com.

http://www.tickettoentertainment.com/blog/2016/03/03/julian-lage-goes-electric-is-set-to-play-at-johnny-brendas-in-philadelphia/

INTERNATIONAL GUITAR NIGHT 3/1/16




Get your tickets for "International Guitar Night" at the Sellersville Theater (Sellersville, PA) March 1, 2016.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

INTERNATIONAL GUITAR NIGHT AT THE SELLERSVILLE THEATER 3/1/16





The Sellersville Theater to host
International Guitar Night

By Rob Nagy

The brainchild of San Francisco based guitarist and music visionary Brian Gore, “International Guitar Night” is becoming one of the acoustic guitar world’s premier live productions.

Gore gave birth to “International Guitar Night” in 1995 as a platform for acoustic guitarists to showcase live performances through original and diverse composition and to exchange musical ideas in a collaborative and respectful environment.

“I started doing these shows with multiple guitarist locally and saw that the audience liked it,” recalls Gore, from San Francisco. “So I thought, ‘I’m going to see if I can get some theaters interested.’ I started getting some theaters interested, and I found that it was just a really positive thing for everybody.”

“I’m really proud of the work,” says Gore.  “It’s a way to champion artists that I love and believe in. It’s also a way of being exposed to the best guitar playing out there and for me to improve my ear and challenge myself to improve my playing. It’s a way to really help other great guitarists. It’s a dream come true.”

“I think you have to constantly look at the world of guitar at the inner play between virtuosity and musicality,” adds Gore. “What we do on International Guitar Night is to feature players who are from different walks of musical life from around the world - super great virtuosic players, but also great musicians.”

Currently on an 85-date tour throughout the U.S. and abroad, this year’s line-up features a diverse and richly talented roster of acoustic artists - Gore (known as the” poet of the guitar”) touches on folk, jazz and classical compositions; Lulo Reinhardt, the grand nephew of Django Reinhardt, is one of the world’s most authentic Gypsy and Latin swing guitarists; Andre Krengel, a master of multiple styles of guitar from Flamenco to swing;  and Mike Dawes, a virtuoso fingerstyle guitarist, composer and arranger.

“In our show, we do a lot of collaboration.  It’s not just solo,” says Gore. “The first half is solo, but the second half is all collaboration. The guys have been super supportive in this line-up, and they’ve done everything they can possibly do to help make it a success. We’ve had a lot of sold out shows. Everywhere we are going the audience is growing.”

“People get to see the world of guitar when they come to International Guitar Night. There are a lot of unique voices in guitar, and we all stand out in our own way. If we just recognize and embrace that, we can really take the audience to greater heights. I think that people who come to IGN know that they’re in for an experience of hearing the finest guitar players that are out there today.
We want people to come because they’re curious, and we want them to come back because they had an excellent experience and they’re becoming fans of acoustic guitar. “

Capturing the energy of the foursome in a concert setting, the quarter has released “IGN 2016 Live,” a nine song CD offering an exemplary representation of what makes the show an unforgettable experience.

 “This idea of doing something live in Europe wouldn’t have happened without Lulo, Andre and Mike,” says Gore. “We got together last May and we put together shows in Germany and Poland. We recorded the shows every night and took the best takes, and that is the live CD. There’s a lot of great stuff on it - a lot of great duos that are very introspective.  There are up-tempo pieces.  There are introspective pieces. There are also really good encore pieces as well.  So, it’s wonderful. It’s really been a dream come true.”

Over the past decade, thanks to the efforts of artists like Gore, the acoustic guitar scene has surged in popularity among players and fans. A community of extraordinary players is establishing their own genre.


“What has been the big change over the past couple of decades with this is that I think that there’s a better sensitivity among the world of guitarists to each other,” says Gore. “When I first started out, it was super competitive between the individual players. What we try to emphasize is not competition but collaboration. Maybe I’ve helped a little bit with that.  I certainly hope so.”

International Guitar Night will take place at the Sellersville Theater; located at 24 West Temple Ave., Sellersville, PA, Tuesday March 1, 2016 at 8:00 P.M. Tickets can be purchased by calling
215-257-5808 or on-line at www.st94.com.

To stay up to date with International Guitar Night, visit www.internationalguitarnight.com.

http://www.tickettoentertainment.com/blog/2016/02/26/international-guitar-night-bringing-unique-musical-voices-to-the-area/

STANLEY JORDAN AT THE SELLERSVILLE THEATER 3/2/16



 
Stanley Jordan doing it His Way

By Rob Nagy

One of the most unique and gifted artists within the jazz and jazz-fusion community, virtuoso Stanley Jordan remains on a quest to expand his creativity and connect with his inner being.

“Duet’s” (2015), collaboration with fellow guitarist and Philly native Kevin Eubanks, is Jordan’s latest release.

“I used to see Kevin in some of my favorite places to play,” recalls Jordan, from Chico, California. ”He was one of my favorite musicians, because I could really relate to him. He was a guitarist who was approaching the guitar in a different way. He came up with his own technical way of approaching the instrument. He was also really open-minded as far as his musical style. One day he’s playing straight ahead then, the next thing you know, he’s rocking out. So I always felt like I could relate to him as a musician.”

“In 2010 we were on this festival together and I watched him do an interview,” adds Jordan. “I realized on a personal level I could relate to his thoughts and his opinions. We ended up talking and thought, ‘We should play together.’ So we did a tour and it was just like magic. One of the reasons I like to play solo so much is that I just go with the flow and do what I feel like and I don’t have to coordinate with other musicians. “

“It’s amazing with Kevin, because,” says Jordan.  “It’s that same feeling as when I’m playing solo. I just sort of go wherever I want and he is just like right there. So we ended up doing most of those shows completely improvised from beginning to end. We got such a great response. It was from that tour that we decided that we should record.”

The result is a ten-song album featuring selections co-written by Jordan and Eubanks. Included are interpretations of “Summertime” (George Gershwin), “Someone Like You” (Adele), “Blue and Green” (Miles Davis), “Nature Boy” (Eden Ahbez), “A Child Is Born” (Thaddeus Jones) and “Lights” (Ellie Goulding).

Jordan, who recently lost his father, is excited to be nearing completion of his latest solo album, which is slated to be released later this year

“I’m just finishing up my album,” says Jordan. “I’ve actually got the songs mastered. I’m just making some last minute changes.  So the album is basically done.”

“The whole experience of losing my dad, in some ways, inspired the music,” adds Jordan. “I thought that my dad was with me. There are a couple of songs where I really feel he was with me when I was doing it. I had a very supportive environment.
Both my parents said that I should do what makes me happy.  ‘If you’re doing what makes you happy, then you are probably going to have the most success at that anyway.’“

“I have such a strong feeling about this new album - loss, redemption and coming back to peace and finding inner strength themes. This album best represents my music and my spirit. I just can’t wait for people to hear it. I’m really feeling good about that. I’m really going to love touring with this album.”

Upon graduating from Princeton University in 1981 with a B.A. in music, Jordan signed with Blue Note Records in 1985.  He soon released his major debut, ”Magic Touch,” and the album reached and remained number one on Billboard’s Jazz chart for nearly a year.

Jordan fondly remembers his time in Philadelphia as a springboard to launching his music career.

“I lived in Philadelphia as a kid when I started making music,” recalls Jordan. “After I graduated from college, for a time I was living in Philadelphia again when I was starting my career. And it was really great to go back because now I was old enough to participate in the scene and go to a lot of jam sessions around town.  That period was really pivotal for me.  This was like ’81, ’82.”

With a goal of expanding his creative freedom and expression, Jordan, a classically trained pianist, ultimately gravitated to the guitar. Through experimentation, Jordan mastered what has become his signature touch tapping technique that gives him the ability to simultaneously play chords and melody.

“If you’re a musician, you can create the experience right now that changes lives,” says Jordan. “You can make a difference in an immediate way. I realized that music had this power that nothing else that I knew of really had. So, that desire to do something positive in the world, if I chose music above everything else, I could do that more.”

Beyond gracing the stage of numerous high profile music festivals, Jordan has crossed over to the mainstream by performing on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, The David Letterman Show and the Grammy Awards. A Grammy nominated artist in his own right, Jordan was the recipient of the 2011 NAACP Image Award for his album “Friends.”

In recent years, Jordan has sat in with jam bands “The Dave Matthews Band,” “Phil Lesh” (Grateful Dead), “Moe,” “Umphrey’s McGee” and “The String Cheese Incident” as a guest on their respective concert tours.

In spite of his successes, Jordan has had his share of frustration in earning praise from within his own industry.

“I think sometimes there’s a mainstream attitude that wants to maybe be harder on me than other people, because I was a little bit more off the beatin’ path,” reflects Jordan.  “So, I guess it’s understandable that I’ve had a little bit of a harder road being understood.”

“There’s certainly been a bit of a struggle doing my thing and getting appreciated for it,” added Jordan. “Over the last few years I’ve just really been letting go. Not necessarily letting go of fear, sometimes I do feel fear, but I don’t let it stop me. What has happened is just by being more authentic as a person has really helped my music, and my music has really stepped up to another level.”

“I’ve been expanding on a lot of dimensions,” says Jordan. “What it is really about is finding my authenticity in every way and discovering that that is helping my music. I feel very liberated and that comes through my music.”

Jordan is looking forward to returning to the Sellersville Theater in early March, to perform for an audience that remains dedicated and loyal to his art.

“I’m just so pleased to be coming back here,” says Jordan. “I feel that when I play there anything is possible. I feel that the people are completely 100% with me and it’s in the part of the country where I have my oldest listeners in terms of how long they’ve been following my career. So there’s always a little bit of a reunion. It’s like coming home in a way.”

Stanley Jordan performs at the Sellersville Theater; located at 24 West Temple Ave., Sellersville, PA, Wednesday March 2, 2016 at 8:00 P.M. Tickets can be purchased by calling 215-257-5808 or on-line at www.st94.com

To stay up to date with the Stanley Jordan, visit www.stanleyjordan.com.

http://www.tickettoentertainment.com/blog/2016/02/23/jazz-fusion-guitarist-stanley-jordan-to-return-to-sellersville/

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

BILL FRISELL AT THE ARDMORE MUSIC HALL 2/15/16

Bill Frisell playing to a packed Ardmore Music Hall (Ardmore, PA) last night. Photos by Rob Nagy





Monday, February 15, 2016

BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN ROCKS WELLS FARGO CENTER (PHILLY) 2/12/16



Video Rob Nagy 2016

FORMER QUEENSRYCHE FRONT MAN GEOFF TATE IN SELLERSVILLE 2/28/16



 
Former Queensryche Front Man
Geoff Tate comes to Sellersville

By Rob Nagy

“The Key” is the 2015 album release from veteran progressive rocker and former Queensryche vocalist Geoff Tate.  Fronting his solo band, “Operation:Mindcrime,” Tate is reaping the rewards of a multi-platinum career minus the creative boundaries.

"Musically, this album is quite adventurous," says Tate, from his home in Seattle, Washington. "Of course, there are key elements in the music, melody and phrasings that are really identifiable. But, throughout my career I've opened my eyes and ears to new standards and arrangements, and that's what keeps things fresh and exciting as an artist.  We've thrown out the rules for this record, and it's been really liberating. I'm a fan of old prog, and that music didn't stick to rules. It's inspiring and enjoyable to be able to explore. It's great being in a position to write without constraints."  
 
    

 
"The songs on this record tell a story, and each song is a scene or chapter.  Every scene is different,” adds Tate. “The words tell the story.  The musical bed, the chord progressions and melodies - they set the pace. That's how I envisioned this album in total - very theatrical and definitely cinematic.”         
 
"Music is a personal journey, and all you can do is write what moves you. That's what passion is.  It's so difficult, yet it's such an important human emotion,” says Tate. “There are moments on this record that really impact me - the questions raised and the music those questions are set to. I don't know if it will have that same effect on everyone else, but that's where my passion and their passion meet.“

Tate and Queensryche rose to international prominence in the late 80’s with the release of the albums “Operation Mindcrime” (1988) and the multimillion selling “Empire” (1990).  “Empire” yielded the hit singles "Silent Lucidity" and "Jet City Woman."
   
“We did a lot of opening act slots for bands in arenas, coliseums and theaters,” recalls Tate. “YES, Jethro Tull, Blue Oyster Cult, Metallica, Ozzy Osborne, Quiet Riot, Dream Theater, ACDC - it was a great experience. I always figured it as a wonderful thing when a headliner asks you to open and shares their audience with you. I always felt very fortunate to be able to do that.”

Surpassing record sales of 20 million, Queensryche earned multiple Grammy and MTV Music Video Award nominations, winning Video Viewers Choice Award in 1991 for the song “Silent Lucidity.”

An integral member of Queensryche for 30 years, Tate left the band in 2012 to form his current group, “Operation:Mindcrime.”


“I don’t think it’s very much different from what I did in Queensryche,” says Tate. “I wrote a lot of songs. I tried really hard for years and years to make it not metal. My musical influences are pretty wide. I come more from the progressive rock and R&B background. I always tried to introduce those elements into what we were doing. I’m kind of anti-category, especially the ‘genrefication’ of music.”

“Even though I wrote most all of the music in the band, I was still part of a democracy,” recalls Tate when looking back on his time with Queensryche. “We always talked about everything and came to an agreement. It was very Democratic. In this situation, the last word is always me. I’m just starting to get used to that, because I’ve never been that kind of leader. I’m always more of a collaborator - ‘Let’s work together on this and make it happen.’  The name of the band has changed, but the songs remain the same.”

Joining Tate on his current Operation: Mindcrime's tour in support of “The Key” are guitarists Kelly Gray (Queensryche) and Scott Moughton (Geoff Tate), drummers Simon Wright (AC/DC) and Scott Mercado (Candlebox) bassist Tim Fernley (The Voodoos) and keyboardist Randy Gane (Myth).

“I love touring and I love playing live, performing with like-minded people in front of like-minded audiences and being there in the moment together when all of our passions collide,” says Tate. “Typically I play a few songs off the new album, but really I focus on playing songs from my catalog of albums.  I typically try to pull out different things that people haven’t heard before or that I haven’t played in years or ever. I like doing that surprise thing during the show.”

“I feel very strong, very positive and I’m looking forward to the tour,” adds Tate. “Getting to see all the people that enjoy the music and hearing them sing along to all of the songs - I love that!”

Humbled by recognition from fans and music critics as one of the all time greatest metal/progressive heavy metal vocalists of all time, Tate is proud of what he has been able to accomplish.

“I think I’ve done some pretty interesting things. I’ve certainly learned a lot and grown a lot from where I started out as just a kid coming from a military background,” reflects Tate. “I have a really fantastic group of fans that allow me to do what it is I do. I’m very happy with where I’m at right now,” adds Tate. “It’s a wonderful place to be!”

Geoff Tate’s Operation:Mindcrime performs at the Sellersville Theater; located at 24 West Temple Ave., Sellersville, PA, February 28, 2016 at 7:30 P.M. Tickets can be purchased by calling
215-257-5808 or on-line at www.st94.com.

To stay up to date with Geoff Tate’s Operation:Mindcrime visit www.operationmindcrime.com

http://www.tickettoentertainment.com/blog/2016/02/19/former-queensryche-frontman-geoff-tate-comes-to-sellersville/

PEGGY KING RELEASES "Songs a la King"






Music Legend Peggy King
 releases first album in Years

By Rob Nagy

Thirty-six years since her last studio album, Philly’s Peggy King returns to the spotlight with a brand new release, “Songs a la King,” on Fresh Sound Records.

Backed by “The All Star Jazz Trio,” featuring Andy Kahn (piano), Bruce Klauber (drums) and Bruce Kaminsky (bass), the eighteen-song record features a treasure trove of American music classics.

Delivered by the charismatic chanteuse, “Songs a la King” is a timeless, nostalgic album capturing King’s unmistakable vocals and commanding presence. One of the remaining traditional vocalists King, at 85, is still capturing the hearts and ears of fans.

Standout tracks include “Let’s Fall In Love,” “Cry Me a River,” “Any Questions,” “Maybe You’ll Be There,” “How About You?’ “Born To Be Blue,” “The Boy Next Door,” “Dearly Beloved.” “While We’re Young” and “Can’t Help Lovin’ Dat Man.”

King rose to prominence in the mid 1950’s as a regular on comedian George Gobel’s TV show. She was a regular guest on a variety of TV programs, in film and radio.  On the concert stage, King worked along side Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis, Jr., Mel Torme’, Kirk Douglas, Lana Turner and Bob Hope.  King’s work earned her the distinction as one of the first stars on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame in 1960.

In recent years, King was inducted into the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia (2010). She  also appeared in the 2013 Emmy Award-winning HBO documentary on Liberace, “Behind the Candelabra,” performing an on-screen rendition of “When Liberace Winks at Me.”  

 
Currently, King regularly performs with the All Star Jazz Trio throughout the region.  Lucky fans can sometimes catch King joining the trio’s regular gig on Wednesday evenings upstairs at Square on Square, 1905 Chestnut Street, in downtown Philly. 

Meanwhile, be sure to enjoy the wonderfully satisfying servings of “Songs a la King.” 

BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN AND THE E STREET BAND AT THE WELLS FARGO CENTER (PHILLY) 2/12/16




Bruce Springsteen brings The River
to the Wells Fargo Center

By Rob Nagy

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band held court at the Wells Fargo Center on Friday night in support of the 1980 classic album, “The River”

Greeted by a sellout crowd, with hundreds left out in the snowy cold still hoping to score tickets, “The Boss,” as he is affectionately known by fans, and his E Street Band mates (Little Steven Van Zandt (guitar & vocals), Garry Tallent (bass), Nils Lofgren (guitar and vocals), Max Weinberg (drums), Roy Bittan (piano), Patty Scialfa (guitar and vocals), Soozie Tyrell (violin, guitar and vocals) and Jake Clemons (saxophone) and Charles Giordano (keyboards) ) did not disappoint.

The Band took the stage just past 8:00 P.M. and another Springsteen concert marathon was officially underway.  Launching into his opening song, “Meet Me in the City,” an outtake from “The River,” Springsteen welcomed the packed house with an enthusiastic, “Philadelphia! My brothers and sisters, are you ready to be entertained?” The crowd responded, in unison, with an arousing “Yes!”

Preempting the album’s first official song, “The Ties That Bind,” Springsteen spoke of how “The River” was his coming-of-age record.  “Before that, we were a community of outsiders on the streets of Asbury Park.  I was looking to get inside. So, 30 years on, tonight we want you to come along with us again as we go down to the river. We’ll see what we find.”

By the time “The River” was released in 1980, Springsteen, 31, had already attained superstar status for his “Born to Run” (1975) and “Darkness on the Edge of Town” (1978) albums. Fans identified with Bruce’s meaningful lyrical content and rejoiced in celebration at his signature high-energy live shows.

“The River,” a double album collection of 20 songs, again spoke to his fans, this time not about girls and cars but about real-life topics like adolescence, family, marriage, career and the human experience.  These were the challenges that we could all relate to. While our world has evolved into a very different place some 36 years later, Springsteen’s message continues to resonate with fans of all ages.  Tonight was no exception.

While the Boss and company played to a predominantly older audience of seasoned fans, I observed the occasional adolescent whose parents were undoubtedly sharing the unique experience of a Springsteen concert with a new generation.

Fueling the intensity of a frenzied crowd, Springsteen brought  fans to their feet for the duration. Dancing, swaying, and singing in unison became the evening’s protocol, making for a non-stop party atmosphere.

What was most striking to me was Springsteen’s ability to shift the vibe of a chaotic 20,000-seat sports arena into one of an intimate club setting. It was as if every song was being performed for each and every fan.

Without hesitation, Springsteen ventured into the audience throughout the evening, often after pausing for a visual check on his aging mother, who was seated in the front row stage right. Aisles on both sides of the main floor, connected by a steel walkway through the crowd, gave Springsteen intimate access to his fans. Shaking hands, giving high fives, hugs and signing a handful of autographs symbolized the decades of mutual appreciation and respect that Springsteen shares with his audience.

I don’t know of any rock stars that would allow their audience to physically crowd surf them above their heads and back to the stage, which remains a Springsteen concert tradition and epitomizes the mutual trust between the man and his fans.

Highlights from “The River” set included fan favorite “Hungry Heart,” “Out in the Street,” “The River,” “Point Blank,” “Drive All Night,” “Cadillac Ranch,” etc.  It’s tough to pick favorites from this musically and lyrically significant masterpiece.

“The River was really about time… you realize you have a limited amount of time … to try and do something good,” said Springsteen before playing the final cut off the album, the soul searching “Wreck on the Highway.” 

Almost understatedly, Bruce said “That’s it.  That’s the River,” as the final notes drifted off stage and as the Band segued into several tracks from Springsteen’s vast catalogue.

A deliberate and comical moment took place during the song “Wrecking Ball,” when Springsteen was greeted with a wave of good natured booing after announcing, “My home’s in the Meadowlands,” referencing the home turf of the New York Giants.  Bruce laughed at the expected response from his Philly audience.

Bruce and company also offered up “The Rising,”  the poignant “Human Touch” and a spine tingling delivery of “Jungleland” with Jake Clemons channeling his beloved Uncle Clarence and visibly moving the Boss during the provocative sax solo.  Next came long time favorites “Thunder Road,” and “Born to Run,” with fans singing in unison, never missing a beat.  During “Dancing in the Dark” Springsteen invited Philly Elvis on stage to dance with Soozie Tyrell, while Bruce himself danced with a woman from the audience, eliciting cheers from the crowd.  The effervescent “Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)” brought the evening toward a climactic close.  Yet, still energized, Bruce finally finished out the night with an invigorated version of the Isley Brothers classic “Shout.”

Three and a half hours later, after a 33 song set (the longest of the tour so far), fans streamed out of the Wells Fargo center floating on the adrenaline of another memorable Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band concert.

http://www.tickettoentertainment.com/blog/2016/02/15/bruce-springsteen-brings-the-river-to-the-wells-fargo-center/

Friday, February 12, 2016

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

JOEY DeFRANCESCO SELLS OUT CHRIS JAZZ CAFE IN PHILLY


Joey DeFrancesco Returns to Philly

By Rob Nagy

Jazz icon Joey DeFrancesco, the reigning king of the Hammond B-3 organ, recently returned to his native Philadelphia for four sold out shows at Chris’ Jazz Café.

Rooted among a multigenerational audience of jazz enthusiasts, I sat fixated as DeFrancesco, joined by Dan Wilson (Guitar) and Jason Brown  (Drums), performed a riveting seventy-five minute set.

In complete command from the opening chords of “Squeeze Me,” the trio navigated with vigor through a selection including “Who Shot John,” “The Touch of Your Lips,” “Won't You Come Home Bill Bailey” and “Trip Mode.”

The multitalented DeFrancesco showcased his creative and diverse mastery as one of the most gifted keyboard players worldwide. Equally impressive was his crooning vocal and fine trumpet playing on the seductive ”The Touch of Your Lips.” 


Accompanied by the flawless, high-octane guitar playing of Wilson and the driving steady beat of Brown on drums, the trio performed one memorable night of jazz.

A notably rapt audience connected with every beat, delivered rousing cheers throughout the set and sent the trio off stage to a standing ovation.

Having attended many shows at this warm and cozy club, I’ve never enjoyed the pleasure of a silent audience during a performance there.  Midway through the evening, DeFrancesco himself thanked his fans for their attention.


Between shows, as fans lined up for the trio’s final performance of the weekend, DeFrancesco graciously greeted admirers, thanking them for their support as he signed copies of his latest release, “Trip Mode.”

DeFrancesco’s triumphant return to his home turf will hopefully lead to a follow-up engagement in the not too distant future.

To stay up to date with Joey DeFrancesco visit www.joeydefrancesco.com
For future concert listings at Chris’ Jazz Café visit www.chrisjazzcafe.com


Photos by Rob Nagy 2016

GUITAR ICON BILL FRISELL RETURNS TO PHILLY FEBRUARY 16, 2016


 
Bill Frisell pays tribute
to Classic Soundtracks

By Rob Nagy

“I’m outrageously lucky,” says Bill Frisell, speaking from his home in Seattle, Washington. “I just can’t believe it. This just seems like a dream. The people that I’ve gotten to meet and play with - it just doesn’t seem real.”

As one of the jazz scene’s premier guitarists, composers and arrangers, Frisell rose to prominence in the 80’s. Combining elements of progressive folk, classical and country music, Frisell employs a variety of effects to create unique sounds on the guitar, earning him critical acclaim and adulation from his fans and his fellow artist’s. 



Frisell’s latest release, “When You Wish Upon A Star,” features Frisell (electric and acoustic guitar), Petra Haden (vocals), Eyvind Kang (viola), Thomas Morgan (bass) and Rudy Royston (drums and percussion).  The album offers more than a dozen interpretations of classic film and television theme songs, including “To Kill a Mockingbird,” “You Only Live Twice,” “Psycho,” “Bonanza,” “Moon River,” “The Godfather” and “The Shadow of Your Smile.”

“It seemed a no brainer to just delve into it,” says Frisell. “So much of the music that’s in the tapestry of what’s in my imagination is coming from film and TV. It’s been so much a part of my whole life. I don’t just sit around watching TV all the time, but there’s no escape from it. Growing up in the 50’s and 60’s, it’s just there. It’s a part of what we are, and the music is such a huge part of it.”

“It’s really inspiring in so many ways,” adds Frisell. “Just the music itself, that’s the first thing. It’s so rich with inspiration. I connect those melodies with memories of emotions that I had when I saw the films. It might not even be specifically about the film. It could be some memory of what was going on at the time when I saw the film.  It’s rich with emotion, and it’s much more than just the notes.”

“I could go on forever,” says Frisell. “I have to be careful spending the rest of my life (laughs) in this world because there’s so much stuff.  There are so many possibilities. We had to get it down to some kind of manageable number.”


Working in this medium is just one facet of Frisell’s extensive list of creative accomplishments. His original work can be heard in the films “Finding Forester” (2000) and Buster Keaton’s silent film “Convict 13,” as well as in the 1995 TV version of “The Far Side.”

Frisell released his debut album, “In Line,” in 1983, and has since earned Grammy nominations for “The Intercontinental” (2003) and “History Mystery” (2008). He was awarded a Grammy in 2005 for Best Contemporary Jazz Album for “Unspeakable.”

“Just being in the music community has been inspiring my whole life,” reflects Frisell. “Over the years, there have been these extraordinary opportunities that keep cropping up. Music is my whole life. That’s where everything really makes sense to me. The music just always tells me what to do. I feel like I’m not making these decisions myself. I just follow where the music leads me. It just draws me into whatever the next thing is.”

Currently on tour in support of his latest release, Frisell is excited to be performing in front of a live audience.

“I feel really lucky when I get to play for an audience,” says Frisell. “They become such an important part of the whole thing. I feel really lucky that the audience is willing to follow along with whatever kind of space I’m in at the time.

“Every night is different,” adds Frisell. “I never want the music to be stagnant. The songs happen in different ways every night. I am thankful that the audience seems to understand that. It’s really an awesome feeling when the audience is right there with you and feeling that same thing. They’re not expecting to hear a reproduction of the record.  If that’s part of what their expectation is, it’s just the best thing when that all starts happening.”

“All I ever wanted to do was play.  I never dreamed I’d be able to do this,” says Frisell. “I just don’t understand how it all happened. I just keep cracking away at it. I still feel like I’m at the very beginning, like I haven’t even scratched the surface.”

Bill Frisell performs at the Ardmore Music Hall, 23 E. Lancaster Avenue, Ardmore, PA 19003, on Tuesday February 16, 2016 at 8:00 P.M. For tickets, go to www.ardmoremusichall.com.

To stay up to date with Bill Frisell, visit www.billfrisell.com.

http://www.tickettoentertainment.com/blog/2016/02/09/bill-frisell-pays-tribute-to-classic-soundtracks-comes-to-ardmore-music-hall/