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Category: Concert Previews

For 49 Years, Kahil El’Zabar’s Ethnic Heritage Ensemble Has Played–And Embodied–Black History

Ethnic Heritage Ensemble
Ethnic Heritage Ensemble: Corey Wilkes, Dr. Kahil El’Zabar, Alex Harding

One of the great consolations of hanging around the music business stage door for a long time comes when people who assume that you know things ask you questions. One of my favorites is: Which band have you seen the most times? I love this question because it gives me a chance to talk about Kahil El’Zabar’s magnificent Ethnic Heritage Ensemble, which is also my favorite band.

Now, for the first time since I moved to Cleveland in 2019, I get to talk about an upcoming concert of theirs that I will attend. It’s Wednesday, Feb. 1 at Convivium 33 Gallery, presented by the Cleveland Uncommon Sound Project and needless to say, if you’re reading this, you should go, too (full disclosure: I played a small part in making this concert happen). An Ethnics concert is never less than completely enjoyable and on any given night, it can be a transformative experience.

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New Composers Collective Lays Down the Law at Bop Stop

Third Law CollectiveWhat’s the second-most exciting day in a composer’s life? The day of the first performance of a new piece, of course. So, what’s the most exciting day? The day of the second performance. World premieres are exciting, but many compositions are heard once and then disappear. A second performance confers a bit of staying power.

This is especially true in the concert music world, but composers of creative music in the Black American tradition face many of the same challenges in bringing their work to the stage. Enter The Third Law Collective, a gathering of local composer/players whose project to present and support new composition in northeast Ohio gets underway Jan. 26 at Bop Stop.

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Tommy Lehman’s Perpetual Search Leads To BLU Jazz+ For An Evening Of ‘Uplift.’

When he was a student at the Hartt School of Music, trumpeter Tommy Lehman occasionally joined the legendary late-night jam sessions at Small’s jazz club in Manhattan. One night immersed in a solo with his eyes closed he opened his eyes for a moment and found himself face-to-face with the late trumpet player Roy Hargrove, who was sitting in the second row.

Remembering the solo, Lehman said with a laugh, “It sounded terrible,” adding, “I’ll always try my best though. Even if I’m sounding sad, I’m gonna give it everything I have.”

Back in his native northeast Ohio, Lehman is giving it everything he has these days, seemingly playing with everyone everywhere. His latest venture is a new recording, Uplift, which be available on Dec. 21 on Lehman’s Bandcamp page and which he’ll celebrate with a release show at BLU Jazz+ in Akron.

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Flutist Hofmann Comes Home for the Holly-Days for Three Concerts with the CJO

 

It’s pretty common these days to find jazz instrumentalists who were classically trained before beginning to improvise. Not Holly Hofmann. The Painesville-born flutist who will appear this weekend with the Cleveland Jazz Orchestra studied with the legendary Walter Mayhall at Youngstown State University and with former Cleveland Orchestra principal flutist Maurice Sharp at the Cleveland Institute of Music. But her first teacher was her father, Nelson.

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Can Three Shamans From New York Help Conjure A DIY Scene in Erie?

Three Shamans (clockwise from top left): Herb Robertson, Phil Haynes, Ken Filiano (photo by R.I. Sutherland-Cohen)

This week I’m taking a Thanksgiving break of sorts. Instead of my stated project of documenting the northeast Ohio scene I’ll cover something notable that’s happening in my old hometown of Erie, Pennsylvania: a concert Saturday evening headlined by New York improvising trio Three Shamans at Erie’s Grounded Printshop on a bill that also includes New American musicians from Syria and an experimental trombone and percussion duo.

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