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: Gartner Auditorium
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.