Photo by Denise Canavan
Date: April 26, 2018
Venue: The Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh, Scotland
Review by Fiona Mactaggart
Before the Swedish string trio Vasen have even strolled on stage in this their first visit to The Queen’s Hall in 15 years, the band’s name intrigues and perhaps gives advance notice of the complexity of the sound. Swedish word ‘Vasen’ translates as essence, a living or spirit being, or a potentially unpleasant noise. This last definition points to their wry, gently self-deprecating humour, which together with exceptional musicianship, the ancient sound of the nyckelharpa and extensive touring over the last 29 years, has brought the trio a world-wide fan base – they even have a street named after them in Bloomington, Indiana! They are worthy fillers of this prime slot on the first night of the 2018 Edinburgh ‘Tradfest’.
…The blues had a baby and they named it harmolodic.
Review by Joe Yanosik
Photo by Joe Yanosik
the City Winery (NY) / Date:
May 10, 2018
The legendary guitarist James Blood Ulmer performed an amazing solo concert at the City Winery last Thursday night in the West Village. It was a truly intimate show in a brand new cozy upstairs space called the Loft above the Winery. At 78 years old, Ulmer remains an impressively foreboding figure even before he plugs his guitar into his amplifier. Befitting someone of his renown, he’s a big man. Dressed in African garb, and sporting a grey beard, he walked slowly to the stage and immediately began conjuring his signature sounds from his uniquely-tuned Gibson Byrdland. A guitar-playing friend of mine who attended the concert with me noted how difficult it must have been for Ulmer to step on his wah-wah pedal considering the giant boots he was wearing.
Venue: the Shrine (Halem/NY)
Date: April 21, 2018
Text by Dawoud Kringle
Photo by Sohrab Saadat Ladjevardi
On Saturday, April 21st, 2Birds Band, a fiery quintet of mad musical geniuses, took over at Harlem’s legendary Shrine.
Date: February 13, 2018
Venue: City Vineyard (NY)
Concert review by Dawoud Kringle Photos courtesy of Michelle Shocked
To say that Michelle Shocked is an iconoclast in the service of fairness and righteousness is an understatement. Her music and artistic vision was born of a constant struggle to remain true to herself and her vision. From the beginning of her musical career in 1984, she has explored a great variety of styles, and has been difficult to pin down. Her music has explored folk, rock, big band, and Latin. Throughout, she has remained true to a core belief in fairness, justice, and balance in a world either subtly or directly opposed to this. She has released 13 albums as a leader, was awarded Folk Album of the Year at the CMJ New Music Awards ceremony in 1989, and is a current member of Musicians for Musicians (MFM).
And the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra and Cappella Nova
Date: December 17, 2017
Venue: St Mary’s Cathedral, Edinburgh, Scotland
Review and photographs by Fiona Mactaggart
Rugged up against the bone-chilling cold in the Scottish capital’s visually and acoustically impressive St Mary’s Cathedral, the full-house audience seem aware they are in for something special. The two-part concert begins with a clear as ice spoken introduction from esteemed New York – based jazz singer and previous collaborator with Tommy Smith and the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra (SNJO), Kurt Elling. With appropriate gravitas, Elling explains that this concert will be “a modern meditation on the delirium that visits us at this season”, and that it would be no regular jazz gig.