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Tag: jazz

Bop Stop Rings In 2023 With Tim Mirth’s Night Terrors Band

Tim Mirth has been experimenting with guitars for a long time. “As a 10-year-old, I found my dad’s guitar, this Gretsch Corvette,” he remembered. “I would sneak it out after school, play with it, try to figure it out. One day my dad comes by, and I thought, I’m not going to get to play with this anymore, but he totally knew me. He showed me a couple of things and ever since I haven’t been able to put it down.”

Thirty years later, he still has the Gretsch. one of the 20 or so guitars in his arsenal. Mirth will select a couple of them to the concert by his Night Terrors band that will open Bop Stop’s 2023 schedule, Wednesday, Jan. 11.

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Dan Weiss’ Trio Made One Of The Year’s Best Recordings. Hear Them At Bop Stop Sunday

(from left) Thomas Morgan, Jacob Sacks, Dan Weiss

Dan Weiss talks a lot like he plays the drums. When I spoke with him about his Sunday concert at Bop Stop, his answers to my interview questions were short. To the point. Nothing wasted. Next question?

Yet forward momentum, essential for any drummer, is just one part of his game. Color, an original voice as a composer and a keen ear for texture are in there. They’re all present on Dedication (Cygnus Records), the stunning new release by Weiss’ longstanding trio with pianist Jacob Sacks and bassist Thomas Morgan.

Given his many musical associations with artists as diverse as the saxophonists Jon Irabagon and Lee Konitz, pianist Sylvie Courvoisier and vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Jen Shyu, it’s kind of amazing that he’s only appeared in Cleveland twice. The trio played Bop Stop in November 2019, and 19 months earlier he was at the Hingetown club with saxophonist Chris Potter band.

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Reunion: Steve Swell and the Frode Gjerstad Trio from Norway Reconvene at Beachland

Steve Swell
Photo by Žiga Koritnik

With its wide dynamic range, speech-like articulation and capacity for playing off-the-scale notes, the saxophone would seem to be the perfect instrument for creative improvised music (some people call it “free jazz” or “avant-garde jazz” or “fire music”). Fine, but anything the saxophone can do, the trombone can do better. So why don’t we hear more trombones in creative music—or in mainstream jazz, for that matter?

It’s a question that Steve Swell, the trombonist who will appear at the Beachland Ballroom Sunday with saxophonist Frode Gjerstad, Jon Rune Strøm on bass and drummer Paal Nilssen-Love, has pondered for a long time.

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Exploring the Unknown: Bassist Aidan Plank Arranges the Music of Carmen Castaldi

Aidan Plank
photograph by Tanya Rosen-Jones

Tribute concerts, for better or worse, are an established marketing hook for jazz presenters and an evergreen source of inspiration for musicians. The honors tend to cluster around past masters, and the bigger the name the batter. Living musicians who can actually appreciate the tribute aren’t often feted and even less often asked to play, but a tribute concert where the honoree is a sideman? Never happens.

Yet when bassist Aidan Plank’s octet takes the Bop Stop stage Thursday to present a program of music by Carmen Castaldi, the man of the hour will be seated where he can usually be found: behind the trap set.

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Terence Blanchard and the Turtle Island Quartet Ride A Second Wave To Tri-C On Saturday

David Balakrishnan-Terence Blanchard

To be an improvising musician at the highest level means being ready for anything that might happen. Still, nothing could have prepared violinist David Balakrishnan for the call he received in February 2020.

It’s just an amazing story,” said Balakrishnan, 68,the founder and first violinist of the Turtle Island Quartet, the rare string quartet expert in improvisation. “I got a call from a friend of mine who worked for a booking agency. He said, ‘Do you want to record with Terence Blanchard in two weeks?’”

If you’ve heard Blanchard’s double-Grammy-nominated Blue Note release Absence, you already know how Balakrishnan answered. And if you want to hear how that music sounds live, you’ll have a rare opportunity to do so when Blanchard and his five-piece E-Collective ensemble and the Turtle Island Quartet visit Tri-C Saturday evening to perform music from Absence.

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