Posts Tagged jazz

show preview: Leyla McCalla at Davis Square Theatre on Friday, October 6 at 7pm



The sophomore album–A Day For The Hunter, A Day For The Prey— from multi-instrumentalist, multi-lingual singer Leyla McCalla is an emotional, stunning and impressive album to listen to again and again. It makes me want to immediately visit NOLA. There’s sadness, beauty, truth, bravery and hope in her gypsy jazz/ folk music. Haitian-American and NOLA resident McCalla [formerly of Carolina Chocolate Drops] uses her own experiences as well as interpreting Haitian, Cajun and Creole jazz and folk. Every song is magical but I particularly favor the lovely and heartbreaking version of the classic Creole slave song “Salangadou,” the plaintive “Les Plats Sont Tous Mis Sur la Table” and the aching “Let It Fall” as well as the thoughtful title track. Strings truly can speak from the soul.

Leyla McCalla at Davis Square Theatre, Somerville, Mass., Friday, October 6 at 7pm 

Davis Square Theatre

255 Elm St. Somerville, MA

Tickets: $20 General Admission

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show preview: Stains of a Sunflower at Lily Pad tonight, July 1, 2016


Stains of a Sunflower is a Boston-based funk-folk band started by California native Natalie Renee. Sunflowers are one of my favorite flowers so the band name intrigued me. Natalie explained: “Stains of a Sunflower was inspired by a poem by Allen Ginsberg, called “Sunflower Sutra.” Essentially, the poem instills self-confidence and self-love during times of challenges and obstacles in life. In the grand scheme of things, life is a huge obstacle and the poem explores the beauty in that; the beauty in between. What we try to do with our music is make people feel vulnerable, uncomfortable, and comfortable, proud and filled with love and acceptance, all at the same time.” A beautiful sentiment and mission statement for music. This young band infuses soulfulness and honesty with a jazz, folk and funk melodies. Reminds me a bit of Berklee grad Lila and Norah Jones. Stains of a Sunflower released its debut album February in April 2016.


Stains of a Sunflower is:

Natalie Renee [vocals/guitar]

Alex Michael Jones [guitar]

Dan Soghomonian [bass]

Shade Tramp [drums]

Stains of a Sunflower –Lily Pad—Friday, July 1, 2016– will be joined by In Ivy and Atlas Lab. Doors at 7pm.

venue info:

Lily Pad

1353 Cambridge Street

Cambridge, Mass.


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NEW MUSIC: Dwight & Nicole


Dwight Ritcher
Nicole Nelson

from: Boston

sound: roots-blues-jazz-funk. Creative, unique, intriguing compositions, positive vibes. melodies that showcase gorgeous, impressive vocal talents. happy music. Nicole is the funk in the pair. She has a mood-lifting, expansive vocal range that digs deep with a poignant flair. Dwight provides the rock-rootsiness to the duo. His voice is anchored by an earthy, darker, edgier, nuanced sound.


album: Shine On [April 22]

fun fact: In September of 2012, Nicole appeared on NBC’s #1 hit show “The Voice,” causing all four coaches to turn their chairs, and compete for her to be on their team, with her rendition of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.”





April 25— Arts Riot, Burlington VT
May 3— Brighton Music Hall, Boston, MA

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new music: Tin Cup Serenade



Eric Garland (drums)
Safa Shokrai (upright bass)
Rolf Wilkinson (vocals)
Larry Leight ( trombone )
Pete Cornell (saxophone)

from: San Francisco


combines jazz, calypso and swing. All flowy dresses, dark suits and cha-cha. makes you feel like you’re right in a film. emotional story-telling through horns, upright bass and melancholy vocals. mid-tempo songs. A mellower version of 90s band Squirrel Nut Zippers.


album: Tragic Songs of Hope [out April 23, 2013]

label: Tin Cup Serenade Productions

my picks:

“Limbo Jazz”
“Sunny Oakland Day”
“Money is King”


purchase at Amazon: Tragic Songs of Hope

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MUSIC: Polar Bear “A New Morning Will Come”

UK post-jazz outfit Polar Bear releases Peepers on May 11

website for Polar Bear


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Women’s History Month: focus on Beatrix Jones Farrand and Ella Fitzgerald

Beatrix Jones Farrand [1872-1959]—landscape architect

–niece of Edith Wharton
–grew up in New York society during the Gilded Age
–studied with landscape architect who designed Boston’s Arnold Arboretum
–started taking gardening commissions in 1897 and worked for J.P. Morgan, Abby Rockefeller, Princeton, Yale and Vassar

–designed Dumbarton Oaks in Washington, D.C. [If you’ve never been, go. It’s magnificent.]
–co-founded [with Wharton friend Frederick Law Olmstead] American Society of Landscape Architects in 1899
–in 1913, married Yale historian Max Farrand
–honored with the Garden Club of American Medal of Achievement in 1947

Ella Fitzgerald [1918-1996 ]—jazz singer

–grew up in New York orphanage for blacks
–at 16, performed at Harlem’s Apollo Theater
–sang works by George Gershwin and Irving Berlin
–recorded with Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington
–youngest person admitted to American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers in 1943
–in 1947, married and kept her name, adopted a child

–she won 13 Grammy awards and sold over 40 million albums
–awarded National Medal of the Arts by the White House in 1987
official website

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