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Tag: Gabe Jones

Countdown: Where To Go & What To Hear In NEO May 30 – June 5

Evelyn Wright
Evelyn Wright

Friendly experiencers,

If you want a wellness check of the local improvised music scene, start with checking the vitals. Return appearance by a touring artist: Check. Exciting new project from ace local players: Check. Free concert: Check and bonus points for the beloved Cleveland artists on the marquee. So things are looking good as northeast Ohio heads into summer and a stacked June calendar is just getting started.

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Flutist Alex Hamburger Has Found “A Crew” And An Audience In Cleveland

Alex Hamburger
photocredit: Nick Moreland

When you’re talking about comebacks, the Cavs recent run of thrillers has nothing on the resurgence of the flute.

It wasn’t so long ago that the silvery cylinder, in the hands of Will Ferrell’s Ron Burgundy character, was a meme-able stand in for disco-era musical cotton candy. But now, artists like André 3000 and Shabaka Hutchings are pied pipers bringing new credibility, and new audiences to the flute.

Just ask flutist, vocalist, and composer Alex Hamburger . “I think there’s been a lot of cool flute stuff happening for a while, but I think it’s exciting when other people get excited about it,” she said. “For me, it was always cool.”

Alex Hamburger
photocredit: Nick Moreland

Hamburger returns to BOP STOP Sunday night for her third appearance at the Hingetown club in four years. Her ubiquity on that stage, and the musicians who will join her there, including bassist Kip Reed, Gabe Jones on drums and percussionist Patrick Duke Graney, might suggest that Hamburger has taken up residence on the shores of Lake Erie. Yet the flutist and her pianist and husband Jose Luiz Martins, are based in Washington, DC.

Still, the audience rapport she has established here keeps her coming back. “There’s just so many amazing musicians and such a tight scene and a lot of legendary musicians,” she said in a video call earlier this week. “The audiences seem so open and into hearing original music, and I feel that sometimes that’s always the first thing to go in a city.”

“. . . found my crew”

Hamburger’s original music will have a distinctly Brazilian flavor, lent authority by Martins, a São Paulo native. The Brazilian connection was also crucial in the formation of her New York band. “My drummer Chase [Elodia] went to Oberlin, and Chase knew Pat [Graney] from Oberlin. The first time we came to Cleveland, we did a double bill with Pat and then Pat ended up just sitting in my band. It was one of those magic moments where you’re like, Oh, I found part of my crew, my sound.”

Alex Hamburger What If? album cover

That sound has been an evolving, to embrace not only jazz and Brazilian music, but also the textural and atmospheric possibilities of the studio. Her latest recording, What If? (Unit Records, 2023) wraps Hamburger’s flute and vocals in an enveloping cloud of shimmering synthesizers and Wurlitzer piano sounds. It’s an appropriate sonic frame for the record’s centerpiece, “Molinos de Vientos [Windmills],” a two-part sound painting inspired by Don Quixote and Dada poetry.

Poetry and sound

Poetry has been fundamental in Hamburger’s life and art. Her grandmother, Ana Maria Codas, was a notable poet in her native Paraguay. ‘My grandmother was an activist and a poet and an educator in Paraguay during the dictatorship there that lasted 35 years,” Hamburger said. “She built a school with her own hands and started what became a national movement for academic integrity. She passed when I was 13, so I didn’t really get to have adult conversations with her, but I’d say that post-college, I started to rediscover all of her writing, and for me, that was a really strong starting place.”

So was her grandmother’s social activism, a tradition that Hamburger carries on in her work as a community organizer and producer of “My Body, My Festival,” a fundraiser for the DC Abortion Fund.

Producing that event, Hamburger said, “has really shown me what music can do in a community organizing sense. I think as musicians, we study this specific thing so much that [we] don’t know how to do anything else and how to be an active part in society other than making music. That was something I always struggled with. But being a bandleader, you have all these skills, and they’re so closely related to community organizing. Now putting together and presenting an event gives me a similar rush to playing a show.

“It brings a lot to me.”

Alex Hamburger, Sun., March 10, 7 p.m., BOP STOP, 2920 Detroit Ave., Cleveland. Tickets $20, available here. The concert will be livestreamed on BOP STOP’s Facebook page.

NOTE: This article was written by a real human being. No artificial intelligence or generative language models were used in its creation.

Red beans and ricely yours,


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Countdown: What To Do, Where To Go & Who To Hear, Oct. 19-25

Orrin Evans

As the weather turns chillier and recreation shifts to indoor locations, the NEO scene is responding with a clambake of compelling offerings this week. Touring artists and local luminaries are throwing down. That’s a challenge for those who like to map out their musical itinerary, but what a nice problem to have, right? Supporting live music is always the right choice, but for a little advice, scroll down. You’re sure to find something interesting.

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Local Musicians Add Flavor To the Sauce At Tri-C JazzFest

For fans of improvised music in the Black American tradition, the arrival of Tri-C JazzFest to Playhouse Square with a roster of artists including Herbie Hancock, Christian McBride and phenomenal shooting-star vocalist Samara Joy is hands down the biggest week of the year.

The touring artists whose shelves are heavy with Grammy Awards and other honors deservedly grab the clicks and dominate the buzz, but for dozens of musicians from throughout Northeast Ohio, JazzFest will be the biggest gig of their year. For some of them, it will be the biggest opportunity of their young careers.

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A Great Week in Cleveland, Part 2: Moor Mother, Lonnie Holley, Lee Bains and Mourning [A] BLKstar

Moor Mother
Moor Mother photo by Samantha Isasian

Eleven months ago, A.J. Kluth was at New York’s New School at a conference presented by Black Quantum Futurism, the literary and artistic collective created by Philadelphians Rasheedah Phillips and Camae Ayewa, the composer and poet who performs as Moor Mother.

“That was my first time meeting Camae and really feeling like the work that the collective was doing [and] that she was doing as a musician was deeply important and urgent,” Kluth said on a video call earlier this month. “I said, ‘I would love to bring you to Cleveland sometime.’ She’s like, ‘That sounds cool. I’ve never been to Cleveland. Let’s do that.’  But she’s really busy. She’s got a really heavy touring schedule and it didn’t seem plausible.”

AJ Kluth
AJ Kluth

Several months of phone calls, planning meetings and grant applications later, the Case Western Reserve University musicologist’s implausible idea has become reality, and a reality greater than even he imagined.

On Friday evening, Moor Mother will be joined on the stage of Gartner Auditorium at the Cleveland Museum of Art by Lonnie Holley, Lee Bains, and the Cleveland-based collective Mourning [A] BLKstar for a presentation Kluth called “Toward a Different Kind of Horizon, an extraordinary collection of artists who to varying degrees are associated with the cultural movement known as Afrofuturism.

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