One of the highlights of a performance by Alla Boara, percussionist Anthony Taddeo’s jazz-meets-Italian-folk-music project, is “Mamma Mia Dammi Cento Lire.” It’s a musical setting of conversation between a young woman, wheedling 100 lire from her mother so that she can go to America to start a new life, and her mother who warns that if she leaves her village the feckless girl will drown when her ship sinks. All this is set to an earworm of a dancing melody. The words, brought to vivid life by Amanda Powell, a superb singing actress, have the sly worldliness and teasing insinuation of opera buffa.
Tag: Cleveland Museum of Art
Tomorrow evening, Nov. 30 at BOP STOP, I’ll have the honor of presenting the Jazz Journalists Association’s 2023 Cleveland Jazz Hero Award to Gabe Pollack. To borrow the title of a great Paul Motian song, it should’ve happened a long time ago, but scheduling conflicts and my own disorganization got in the way. Oh well, it’s still 2023, isn’t it?
Rather than make a new case for this honor, I’ll refer you to the JJA’s own commemoration of Gabe’s award and repost below an appreciation I published last August. Any similarity in the language is purely coincidental.
If you’re reading this, I hope you’ll come out tomorrow night and give Gabe his well-deserved flowers. Stop by my table and say hello if you think about it. Now here’s that piece:
Word reached me late yesterday that Gabe Pollack, longtime director of Bop Stop at the Music Settlement, will be leaving the Hingetown club to become director of performing arts at the Cleveland Museum of Art (you can read CMA’s announcement here, the Settlement’s here).
Someone once said that all music, even at its most abstract, is about something, and that is the passage of time. That might be, but there are musicians who can transcend time to enter other dimensions in music. Vocalist Arooj Aftab, multi-instrumentalist Shahzad Ismaily and pianist Vijay Iyer who, as Love In Exile, will come to the Cleveland Museum Of Art Wednesday, are among them.
Collective action is on the calendar for the next week beginning with the monthly concert by the NEO composers mob Third Law Collective, a fusion-y three-way courtesy of guitarist Oz Noy with bassist Jimmy Haslip and force-of-nature drummer Dennis Chambers and concluding next Tuesday with a New Ghosts-sponsored performance (and that’s precisely what it will be), by DIOR STAPLER, a group that bears an uncanny resemblance to Eurojazz agents provocateurs Die Hochstapler. New Wednesday’s Cleveland Museum of Art concert by Love In Exile (Arooj Aftab, Vijay Iyer and Shahzad Ismaily) will get a full preview on Monday. Are you ready?
Kurt Elling and SuperBlue at Cleveland Museum of Art
In his 30-odd years on the scene, Grammy-winning singer Kurt Elling has topped the Down Beat Critics Poll 13 times and has received the Jazz Journalists Association Male Singer of the Year award eight times. He’s done this while singing texts written by Theodore Roethke and Walt Whitman, a Monkees hit, one of Brahms’ Liebeslieder Waltzes. Whitney Balliett might have had Elling’s musical choices in mind when he wrote his famous characterization of jazz as being “the sound of surprise.”
Yet none of Elling’s neck-snapping musical eccentricities was as shocking as SuperBlue, which will come to Gartner Auditorium at the Cleveland Museum of Art Wednesday.