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Tag: Tri-C

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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Yo NYO! Carnegie Hall’s Young Jazz Orchestra Begins Its First U.S. Tour at Tri-C

NYO 2022
NYO Jazz 2021 with Sean Jones

My friends in the “jazz is dead” camp often pose two rhetorical questions in defense of their position:  Who will want to listen? and Who will want to play this music?

The answer to the first is unknowable, but the second question will be answered in the most unequivocal way Saturday when NYO Jazz makes Tri-C’s Metropolitan Campus Auditorium the first stop on its inaugural U.S. tour.

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Can We Talk? Gerald Clayton Comes to Bop Stop for Two Conversations on Improvisation

 

For generations, the jazz business has spent a lot of time and money looking for ways to grow the genre’s dedicated but comparatively small audience. Pianist Gerald Clayton has some advice for them: Ain’t nothing to it but to do it.

“That applies to how to approach playing the music, learning how to play the music, and also learning how to listen to it,” the 38-year-old Clayton said in a phone interview Tuesday. “If we just have folks listening to this music over and over and over, I think the process will come pretty naturally and take care of itself, but I think there’s nothing wrong with having a bit of a liaison, a tour guide pointing out some things to listen for.”

On June 1 and 2 that tour departs from Bop Stop sailing under the flag of Piano Cleveland’s Listening Series with Clayton as your guide.

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Jazz Weekend: May 20-21

Friday: Jonathan Barber and Vision Ahead at Bop Stop

One of the most talked about releases of 2021 was put out by Philadelphia-born drummer Johnathan Blake, son of jazz violinist John Blake. But Blake isn’t the only drummer named Jonathan with the initial B. and a new release. The other drummer is Jonathan Barber will play Bop Stop on Friday with his Vision Ahead band to support “Poetic” released last Friday.

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