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November 2012

October 2012

Christian McBride and Inside Straight at Columbia University

by Dan Lehner


By now, bassist Christian McBride’s Inside Straight has pretty well established itself as the leading exponent of swinging music. What also needs to be said about the quintet, however, is how much stylistic and emotional diversity it can provide. The common thread in McBride’s band is that everything feels good–the lock-up in both the rhythm section and the sax/vibraphone frontline is tight and cookin'–but at the opening of Miller Theater’s concert series at Columbia University, the group still managed to push the concept of rhythmic clarity into several different idioms.

Of course, in the kingdom of swing, the medium-tempo blues still reigns supreme, and Inside Straight naturally made the most of it. On Milt Jackson’s “S.K.J.," vibraphonist Warren Wolf wrung as much bluesy inflection and varied articulation as humanly possible out of his instrument, non-discriminately switching between simple ideas and fleet bebop. Alto saxophonist Jaleel Shaw injected more keening, pitch-bent wails than are usually heard from the otherwise cerebral player, sometimes limiting his chorus to one or two heavily bent resolutions. During McBride’s gospel-drenched “Used ‘ta Could," pianist Peter Martin covered left-hand bass duties, giving McBride the chance to get vocalistic with a bowed solo that groaned and trilled in a swaggering triple time. 

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Ticket Giveaway: Vital Vox at Brooklyn's Roulette - Oct. 29-30

Anyone interested in the contemporary vocal scene should email [email protected] for a chance to score a pair of free tickets to check out Vital Vox: A Vocal Festival. The festival offers up vocal goodness across the spectrum–from jazz to world music to contemporary classical. This year's theme is "vox electronics," and will feature artists who expand their sonic vocabulary with electronics of all kinds. 

Details: 8 p.m. on Oct. 29th and 30th at Roulette, located at 509 Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn.

Good luck!

CMJ Day 4: Panache Showcase and Pitchfork Unofficial Showcase

by Laura Wasson Dent May CMJ 2012 Public Assembly

Dent May at the Panache Showcase at Public Assembly (Photo credit: Laura Wasson)

Friday, I finally found myself in Brooklyn for the CMJ Panache Showcase at Public Assembly and Pitchfork’s Unofficial Showcase at Villain. The latter was at least official enough to merit a YouTube livestream and sponsorship from Topman (complete with tote bags and baseball hats!), but that’s neither here nor there.

At Public Assembly I was treated to sets from two exceptionally talented Southern bands–something I’m always excited about since I am very much a Louisiana girl at heart. Mississippi’s  Dent May was first and handily proved to be the most interesting act of the evening. May offered a mix of pop-rock goodness that referenced everyone from New Order to The Bee GeesThe Beach Boys, and Elton John in a way that still managed to make sense. “Do Things” and “Rent Money” were two standouts, but every song felt fun and worthy of a little boogie.

Turbo Fruits CMJ 2012 at Public Assembly

Turbo Fruits at the Panache Showcase at Public Assembly (Photo credit: Laura Wasson)

Nashville’s Turbo Fruits were up next with their signature Southern rock swagger and guitar-slaying skills. The lads mostly stuck to material from their latest album, Butter, including “Where the Stars Don’t Shine” and “I Don’t Like to Fight.” While the set didn’t lack for energy, the wear of having played two shows earlier that day in addition to their ongoing cross-country tour was evident. Thankfully, the crowd of devoted fans sang along and ate up every bit of Turbo Fruit’s set.

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