Monthly Archives: January 2012

Opera review: Why Has Bodhidharma Left for the South? Vidas Perfectas (Perfect Lives)

Date: December 15, 2011
Venue:  Brooklyn’s Irondale Center
Photos by Phillip Stearns
Review by Augusta Palmer

Alex Waterman’s production of Vidas Perfectas is a new Spanish translation of Robert Ashley’s 1979 opera, Perfect Lives. It’s a Buddhist soap opera, a series of visual and vocal images simultaneously held together and pulled apart by illusion.

In addition to the eloquence of the libretto, a recent performance at the Irondale Center in Fort Greene brought together an amazing cast of characters. Ned Sublettes Raoul de Noget was an incredible creature, a lounge lizard dressed in black, never obscured by the brim of his Stetson but casting a large shadow with his physical presence and his voice. Elio Villafranca coaxed beautiful sounds out of the piano at center stage, embodying more than merely playing the role of Buddy, The World’s Greatest Piano Player. Ably supported by Elisa Santiago and Abraham Gomez-Delgado as a chorus of other roles, de Noget and Buddy propel us through a series of worlds.

Continue reading

Special women around us: Meshell Ndegeocello KCRW broadcast of LIVE in studio performance on ‘MORNING BECOMES ECLECTIC’

Text by Kim Smith

Just couldn’t help myself – had to send this performance from Jan 5, 2012 through to you. So inspiring. Just a glimpse of what Meshell has been getting into + a nice way to go through her latest gift to us, the album, WEATHER. Hope you enjoy as much as I did. – Love, Kim

Recommended post: Special women around us: Meditations on Meshell Ndegeocello by Dawoud Kringle

Vinyl and DVD reviews: Pascal Plantinga – moody pop sensibility from Holland

Review  by Jim Hoey

A flurry of activity has reached us here in NYC from Dutch-based sound artist Pascal Plantinga. Three releases from the Ata Tak label have come out recently, featuring Platinga’s production and bass work, as well as vocals, with his moody pop sensibility the constant on all of these recordings. One features a collaboration with a traditional Japanese samisen player, another, a found-sound pop project, and the third is a live album, recorded at The Stone in NYC in 2009, with sax, and electronics. Bundled with this release is also a short film, entitled Learn To Speak Your Language, which is his visual and musical interpretation of what goes through a person’s mind in the seconds before they die.

A so-called “pop-eccentric”, Plantinga seems to be pretty damn busy right now, churning out these different recordings, showing off different sides of his approach to music. From Holland he seems to get around, working with a singer in Okinawa, Japan, downtown scene musicians in NYC, and his hometown crew in the Netherlands. What remains constant though, is his ability to capture the feeling of a moment and craft it into a slow-boiling song that rides out the emotion, checks through a number of possibilities, and eases into the most appropriate vein of expression.

Continue reading

2012 NYC Winter Jazzfest Part 3: feat. Jessica Lurie Ensemble at pre-2012 NY Winter Jazzfest

Date: Thursday, January 5, 2012
Venue: Le Poisson Rouge (NY)

Review by Matt Cole

On Thursday, 5 January 2012, the Jessica Lurie Ensemble opened up a 4-band pre-2012 NY Winter Jazzfest concert at La Poisson Rouge with a very strong set, which was dominated by selections from her upcoming album, Megaphone Heart. Naturally, this band is led by multi-instrumentalist Jessica Lurie, who is known for her saxophone pyrotechnics in Living Daylights and The Tiptons Saxophone Quartet. In addition to Ms. Lurie on the saxophone, flute, and vocals, the band consisted of longtime JLE stalwarts Allison Miller on drums, Erik Deutsch on keyboards, along with frequent collaborator Will Bernard on guitar and a (so far) rare appearance by Chris Lightcap on double bass.

It is very hard to pin down the JLE with regards to genre or style. The band can go from Balkan sounds, to avant jazz, to rock, to gentle ballads and back again in the space of a set (and sometimes within the space of one song). All of the musicians are virtuoso players on their respective instruments, and have excellent listening and communication skills.

Continue reading