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June 2017

Pharoah Sanders at BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn!

Pharoah Sanders - Celebrate Brooklyn - Feast of Music Jun 23  2017  9-025The rain came down hard last night in Prospect Park, but that wasn't enough to deter a few thousand devoted fans from sticking around to see tenor legend Pharoah Sanders at BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Taking the stage just a few minutes past his scheduled start time of 9pm, Sanders, a six-decade veteran of everyone from John Coltrane to Sun Ra, played with the energy and deep feeling of a man half his age, bouncing between hard-blowing free jazz and mainstream lyricism. Throughout his 90 minute set, there was an overwhelming reverence to his playing that was completely transfixing, presenting himself like some form of oracle. And, yet, he was also down-to-earth, dancing around the stage while his all-star band (trumpeter Nicholas Payton, pianist William Henderson, bassist Nathaniel Reese and drummer Savion Blake) took their solos. Sanders even engaged the crowd in a bit of playful call-and-response, ending with a reminder that "All is Love." Which felt like nothing short of a commandment.   

More pics on the photo page.

Support Karikatura's Kickstarter for "Ghost Light"

KarikaturaTrombonist Dan Lehner, who has written some of our best jazz coverage over the years, is a member of local roots pop band Karikatura, which describes itself as "cumbia meets hip-hop, reggae meets klezmer, and indie-rock meets merengue." Over the years, the band has graduated from gigs in subway stations, to shows in Haiti, to a European tour this summer sponsored by the U.S. State Department. They're currently in the process of producing their second album, "Ghost Light" and have started an all-or-nothing Kickstarter to help pay for it. With less than a week to go, they're now more than halfway to their goal, but could use some help. Check out their music on Bandcamp, then throw them support here if you can. 


Fresh Squeezed Opera Presents "Scopes" and "Prix-Fixe"

by Steven Pisano

20170616-DSC00185(All photos by Steven Pisano.)

You have to admire the courage of a composer of one-act operas. They probably have a better chance of winning Powerball or pitching for the Yankees than they have of staging a commercial run. Thank goodness, then, for the many small opera companies that have stepped in to produce these small-sized works.

Fresh Squeezed Opera is a small, but ambitious Nyc-based company founded in 2013 by Jillian Flexner, Maggie Rascoe, and Lee Braun. This past week at the IATI Theater, they put on two one-acts: "Scopes" by Spencer Snyder and George Gaffney, and "Prix-Fixe" by Kevin Wilt and Caitlin Vincent.

"Scopes," directed by Victoria Benson and conducted by Dean Buck, is about the famous 1925 trial we all read about in history class, with criminal attorney Clarence Darrow (Sean Patrick Jernigan) facing down orator and politician William Jennings Bryan (Joshua Miller) about whether it was legal to teach children about evolution in a state where the Bible was presented as literal truth. The reporting on the trial by journalist H.L Mencken (Melanie Leinbach) was a national sensation. The whole spectacle had the sensationalistic flavor of tabloid TV, despite the fact that TV hadn't yet been invented.

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