The tenor saxophonist John Ellis is a commanding instrumentalist with a most gorgeous, carmelized tone. And though he now lives in New York, his band gives away the fact that he learned an awful lot in New Orleans. A chunk of Double-Wide lives there — notably, Matt Perrine (sousaphone) and Jason Marsalis (drums) — and the Crescent City's carnivalesque and high-stepping timbres are refracted through Ellis' tunes. You can take the boy out of the South, but you can't take the South out of his musical vision.
Viola da gamba players are a special breed — a tiny subset in the already small world of early classical music. They rarely meet their own kind, but once a year they come together for a week in July at an annual jam session they call a conclave. Wendy Gillespie, who just finished her term as president of the Viola da Gamba Society of America, says attending the event is the highlight of her year.
The Uptown Vocal Jazz Quartet has been serenading audiences in its native Washington, D.C., across the country and even as far as France for more than two decades. But its members are finding ways to bring something new to their performances. Bandleader and co-founder Ginny Carr says she wrote the words and music to all 10 songs on the quartet's new album, Hustlin' for a Gig — a relative rarity in a jazz world defined by time-tested standards.
James McMurtry's career started hot, thanks to a lucky series of circumstances in 1987. First, at a friend's behest, he entered and won a high-profile songwriting competition. Then, when John Mellencamp got involved in a project written by McMurtry's father (the novelist Larry McMurtry), it gave the young folk-rock musician a chance to get his demo tape into Mellencamp's hands.
Acclaimed singer-songwriter Dina Hall performs live during The Blend on WDIY on Thursday, August 2. She was in the studio to promote her upcoming performance at Musikfest, happening at 6:30pm on Saturday, August 5 at Liederplatz in North Bethlehem. She'll be performing with her band The Backbeat that night.
Originally published on Sun December 2, 2012 12:07 pm
Moya Brennan heads up this episode from the Mountain Stage archives, recorded live in West Virginia in December 2007. Brennan grew up in County Donegal, Ireland, as the eldest daughter in a musical family of nine children. Following the lead of their music-teacher mother and bandleader father, all 11 Brennans would often play together in the family pub.