Category Archives: music

Ozere Live at Next Generation Theater (finding anyplace at home)

 On this enchanted evening the stage was illuminated by much more than a few dim lights, but by a band of merry storytellers who through a whimsical mastery filled the atmosphere with a Celtic flair not regularly found within the confines of the genre. A pleasant mix of Celtic overtones combined with delicate sounds blending middle eastern interpretations alongside some wonderfully melodic resonances shows what a daring band can accomplish with musicians who have a multi-varied background flexing their musical muscles. Some of the autobiographical tales speak gently of experiences not soon forgotten and some are skillfully improvised melodies rooted firmly in the imaginations of the mind. Songwriting can be a tricky thing, but Ozere has accomplished it to a Celtic science. Band leader Jessica Deutach conveyed to me that her classical background has given her the freedom to experiment with instrumentation leaning towards a folkish sound, yet incorporating other flavors together for a most unique experience. Her honesty exposes her spirit within her songs and the instrumentals are fresh and lively including an array of instruments taking the spotlight. Their latest CD, “Finding Anyplace” explores these characteristics and has indeed found itself anyplace it may be. 

Written by John D’Alessandro

Photos by Susan D’Alessandro

The Gracie Theatre Presents “Coig” (in a celtic Christmas celebration)

coig   Thursday, December 8th, at seven p.m., a five piece east coast band of musical instrument slingers will take the stage at the beloved Gracie Theatre. Coig which means “five” in Gaelic has already taken on tradition within the name they don themselves with. Their Celtic folkloristic minstrels in the gallery ancient style comes shining through as they travel through time in a musical venture that incorporates sounds of generations past and their more recent audience shaking ones as well. A vast musical calliope of varied instruments from the stringed to the woodwind encircles the atmosphere and creates the very sound that is Coig. From the delicate ballads to the foot stomping super audience participation numbers, the Celtic theme will reign supreme and bring us together to enjoy the sounds of their heartland. Come join us as this celebration invites us one and all from the haunting and heartwarming relics to the contemporary to open the the season for us all.

Written by John D’Alessandro

Photo by Susan D’Alessandro

The Gracie Theater Presents Aztec Two Step Live (in their 45th year anniversary)

azrec-interviewLiving on the edge of nostalgia is a world untouched by mainstream flashes of fame and flash. Many of our memories remain just memories. However, in a place just for us and others who discover the majesty of such a genre, enters those such as Aztec Two Step, a group unhampered by theatrics and depending heavily on the spirit in which their music rests upon. Rex Fowler and Neil Shulman have intercepted a wondrous combination of lyrical sincerity and fret board dancing as one of their trademarks. Fine acoustic lead guitar encompasses and engages together with heartfelt songs reaching those sublime areas of our being together with an almost alchemic formula of two part harmonies into the outer atmosphere. The tour will consist of their original songs along with some Everly Brothers and Simon and Garfunkel classics as well. We may even hear the return of “Velvet Elvis”, a whimsical little number about the great singer. So join us in an acoustical journey with Aztec Two Step at the great Gracie Theater on November nineteenth at seven thirty P.M.

Written by John D’Alessandro

Photo by Susan D’Alessandro

King Llama/Return to Ox

king llama  At long last, a band who has emerged from the modern day ash heap to boldly and fearlessly put together a plethora of sound that engages all of the dimensions into one general theory of relativity. This band has the courage to approach such a project in an instrumental fashion without a net of saving grace. They have interpolated the best portions of rock that are the more than essential to the lost art that has long been forgotten. There are heavy lines of progressive rock ala Yes, King Crimson, and dare I say beyond original conceptual thought. Feelings of jazz, both experimental and even in the style of Pat Metheny with Ryan Tanner and his six string razor at the helm touching both the melodic as well as the bombastic. A most interesting note is that Nico Staub plays some of most intricate and tasteful bass lines ever to come along in recent music. Instead of surpressing the bass he unleashes it to its full potential. Drummer Luis Briones designates his percussive devices in seven ten time along with the styles of Bill Bruford and the like but simulates his own mixture of the aforementioned musical styles. A refreshing burst of musical flavor makes them kings of the wild frontier.

Jethro Tull/ Too Old to Rock and Roll, Too Young to Die (the tv special edition)

tull too old These assorted compilations that find their way through the stones of years are some of the most wonderful collections ever assembled. How else would we truly delve headlong into the inside world of a band that has been more than a multiple milestone in the realm of music (especially if that band were your favorite). For example, the short career of one John Glasscock and his ever ready bass guitar, the countless recordings and outtakes of certain songs popular or reclusive. I always wanted to hear an instrumental version of Salamander, thinking the rapid acoustic duel between Ian Anderson and Martin Barre (which incidentally Martin won) is a hidden jewel. The photographs included in the eighty page book are warm and telling of the company Tull has had walk through their door. Strange how certain songs can connect to others and yet have separate albums assembled. Strip cartoon is pretty much a lost soul of a tune but found its way onto this set. An early version of One Brown Mouse, originally found on Heavy Horses gives way to an incomplete sound as well. The video aspects are on the DVD’s with TV specials, surround sound capability, and remasters. This collection is a most interesting assortment of Jethro Tull at a time when they weren’t too old then and certainly the music is not prepared to die.

Jethro Tull Aqualung 40th Anniversary Adapted Edition

aqualung   This would be a separate installment from the previous double CD Anniversary issue of the famed Aqualung album which held many interesting connections to other albums during the recording sessions of its time. A remix of the album in its entirety guides us through the first disc, remixed by Steven Wilson. Disc two holds the lost and yet found bits of Tull’s alternate universe with a quite different perspective of their masterful songs prior to the ones that made it onto the the master cut. The more seriously diverse being the version of My God with an unconventional choral interpretation and flute solo. Throughout this passage of time and music, a most elaborate friend will be your guide in the form of a book chocked full of photos, information, and all things Tull. Hearing the actual thoughts and discussions of band mates is a most fascinating area since most of the time they have remained silent through those musical years. Continuing through this Passion Play we’ve arrived at the DVD portion of our illustrious journey. Once again we encounter the esteemed Aqualung album in 5.1 surround, treating the ears to a musical candy storm. In some ways Disc two has the potential to be the most interesting stop in this chronicle. It holds its songs within the caption of simple, yet intriguing little videos the way they once were before we entered the world of multi-thousand flashes of undecipherable images. A classic album with a soon to be classic read. Perhaps you too may someday find yourselves sitting on a park bench with Aqualung…

Danny Harper: It’s Who I Am (unconditional honesty no matter what)

danny harper     I waited to feature this amazing album until now so that it would ring fresh for the rest of the coming year. It has certainly been a long time in any genre where truth and honesty in words and music has taken a front seat before the glitz, glam, and gunk which has been filling up the airwaves for far too long has been ousted. A most refreshing collection of country music the way it ought to be has arrived in the form of one Danny Harper. Having seen him in concert has only strengthened this sentiment. His open hearted commentary about his life, his experiences (good or bad), and definite appreciation of our country and all that once made it great is exemplified deep within the doldrums of his songs. Whether they rock you, lull you. or bring you a smile, this man has captured the essence that makes us truly fulfilled, the love of God, true patriotism, and good old fashioned country music unadulterated by commercialism. The title speaks for itself, as does the man.