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April 2015

Michel Camilo "Three+Three" at the Blue Note

by Nick Stubblefield

michel camilo three+three, blue note

Growing up playing piano, I was often asked, "Who is your favorite pianist?" It was a tough question, and the fact was that pretty much all of them had passed on, or would soon. That changed when I discovered Dominican-born pianist Michel Camilo, who soon became my favorite living jazz pianist. Camilo plays with furious energy and deep emotion, a line that is often difficult to walk. He can absolutely defy physics with the repeated chords he hits with his right hand, but his virtuosity always seems to serve a larger musical purpose -- one that is fiery, groovy, and heaps of fun. 

Last week, the dynamic Camilo brought his trio, along an additional three piece horn section, to the Blue Note for a show he dubbed "Three+Three."  The core trio, consisting of Camilo, Lincoln Goines, (bass), and Cliff Almond (drums) played with the kind of easy synchronization that only comes from years of familiarity with each other. Michael Mossman (trumpet), Ralph Bowen (sax and flute), and Conrad Herwig (trombone) complemented the trio sound perfectly, each taking vicious, masterful turns on solos. The added "Three" had the added benefit of allowing Camilo to play his compositions that are often reserved for his big band.

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Handel's "Orlando" at the Whitebox Art Center

by Christina Klessig

Orlando, Whitebox Art Center
Entering into the minimalistic Whitebox Art Center on Friday night was like stepping into a rehearsal space at Julliard, the only stage set an empty five seat park bench on risers. Seeing two donation boxes with small amounts of cash at the entrance raised some red flags about the quality of the production of Handel's Orlando I was about to see, but once the houselights went down, I knew this was going to be something special.

I was there for a preview of Handel’s 1733 opera Orlando, directed by R.B. Schlather. Schlather didn’t simply update the setting to modern times, he actively modernized the interpretations of Handel’s baroque lyrics to coincide with our modern day expectations of body language and communication. There was deep emotion in the acting, which allowed the strong vocal performances to wash over the space. Towards the end, the performance began to blur the lines between opera and performance art - perhaps not unexpected in a space that doubles as an art gallery. The orchestra could have used a few more rehearsals, but otherwise this was an intriguing reinterpretation of this nearly 300 year old masterpiece. 

The final performance of Orlando at the Whitebox Art Center is tonight at 7pm. A limited number of rush tickets are still available; more info available online

Free Tickets: PUBLIQuartet at Weill Recital Hall Tomorrow Night

PUBLIQuartet-Street-Shot-1-1024x819This contest is now ended. 

PUBLIQuartet, one of New York's most "independent minded ensembles" (New Yorker), bring an innovative program to Carnegie's Weill Recital Hall tomrrow night, featuring works by Villa-Lobos, Gyorgy Ligeti, Jessie Montgomery, Howie Kenty, David Biedenbender, and Eugene Birman, closing with a MIND|THE|GAP improvisation. Info and tickets available here.

FoM has one pair of tickets to give away to tomorrow night's concert. For your chance to win:

1. Email    -OR-

2. Tweet #FreeTickets @feastofmusic @publiquartet (and don't forget to follow us!)   -OR-

3. Head to our Facebook page and COMMENT on our giveaway post! Note: "Likes" on their own will not be considered valid entries.

Jazz & Colors at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Marc Cary, Metropolitan Museum of ArtThe Metropolitan Museum of Art has been working hard to pivot away from it's reputation as a sober repository of artistic masterpieces to a fun, friendly place to hang out. This is especially true on Friday nights, when the museum stays open late and offers a variety of performances, many of them free. 

This past Friday, the Met was filled with the sound of jazz when ten ensembles, positioned at strategic points throughout the galleries, played two sets of music, all playing the same list of jazz standards. Dubbed Jazz & Colors: The Full Spectrum Edition, this was actually the fourth edition of Jazz & Colors, which started in the fall of 2012 as an outdoor event played amidst the autumn leaves of Central Park. 

While the concept was designed to sound like a continuous set of music as you wandered through the museum, each ensemble's take on these standards was so varied, it felt more like walking from the Egypt galleries to the Asian galleries immediately upstairs. Several groups - such as Sam Newsome and Meg Okura and the Jovan Alexandre Trio - played off of charts, sounding fine, if a bit uncertain. Others, such as pianist Marc Cary, drummer Kimberly Thompson, and especially tenor JD Allen had so thoroughly absorbed this music that the originals morphed into something altogether different. And brilliant. This was the second edition of Jazz & Colors at the Met; here's hoping it becomes a regular feature.

More pics on the photo page. Complete set lists below.

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