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New York City
An Evening with AndersonPonty Band w/ Jon Anderson & Jean Luc Ponty f @ The Howard Theatre
$52.50 / $60
Music icons Jon Anderson and Jean-Luc Ponty have combined their musical talents to form a new supergroup - The AndersonPonty Band! YES's original singer/songwriter for 35 years, Jon Anderson has had a successful solo career, which includes working with such notable music artists as Vangelis, Kitaro, and Milton Nascimento. International violin superstar Jean-Luc Ponty is a pioneer and undisputed master of his instrument in the arena of jazz and rock. He is widely regarded as an innovator who has applied his unique visionary spin that has expanded the vocabulary of modern music. Together these two music legends have formed a musical synergy that is unparalleled. “A breakthrough feeling came as I sang with Jean-Luc's music, to be in a band again is very exciting on many levels, we will play and sing our way around the world and have fun, for music is pleasure, music is all that is, music is God” - Jon Anderson “Collaborating with Jon who is such a creative singer/songwriter is unlike any project I have done before. I knew that we had plenty of musical affinities to make it work, but the result is way beyond my expectations. It is also a lot of fun to reunite with these excellent musicians who played with me in the past, they really put their heart in this project and with Jon's creative input we are not just rehashing the past but giving a new life to the music we started developing decades ago.” - Jean Luc Ponty The AndersonPonty Band also includes Jamie Glaser on guitars - well known guitarist who has worked with Jean-Luc Ponty, Chick Corea, Bryan Adams and Lenny White; Wally Minko on keyboards - virtuoso player and composer who has performed and recorded with many worldwide stars including Pink, Toni Braxton, Jean-Luc Ponty, Tom Jones, Gregg Rolie and Barry Manilow; Baron Browne on bass who has played with Steve Smith, Billy Cobham and Jean-Luc Ponty; and Rayford Griffin on drums and percussion, who has played with Stanley Clarke Band, George Duke, Jean-Luc Ponty and Michael Jackson. The band visit the music created by Jon Anderson and Jean-Luc Ponty over the years with new arrangements, virtuosic performances and new energy. Jean-Luc Ponty was originally approached by Jon Anderson with the idea of working together as far back as the 1980's. Now 30 years later the dream has finally come to fruition! Along with rearranging old favorites, The AndersonPonty Band have created breathtaking new compositions. The group were in residence for three weeks in September 2014 at the Wheeler Opera House in Aspen, Colorado, rehearsing, recording and playing a public performance on September 20th. An album “Better Late Than Never” featuring the performance is being completed in Los Angeles and is scheduled for release in fall 2015. Also, a videography documenting the making of the album will be released as well as videos and performances.
Mother Falcon and Ben Sollee - The Fall Migration @ The Howard Theatre
$17 / $20
Mother Falcon In June 2013, seventeen young musicians piled into two vans and drove from their hometown of Austin to a brownstone in Queens, where they took up residency for a month. It was Mother Falcon’s first trip outside of Texas and another turning point in a very unlikely story. Years before, when he started what became Mother Falcon, it never crossed cellist Nick Gregg’s mind that his goal to make playing cello as cool as playing quarterback at his football obsessed high school (alma mater of Super Bowl MVP Drew Brees) would get anywhere. Jamming on original material after school with fellow orchestra students at Westlake High was fun, but not radical and certainly not goal oriented. Yet, over months, word of this orchestra jam session spread and the group, now named Mother Falcon after a misheard TV overdub from Die Hard (“Yippee-ki-ay Mother Falcon!), began to include people from McCallum High as well. Before any of its members had graduated, Mother Falcon was featured on the cover of the Austin Chronicle and was playing gigs all over town. While most of them were still teens, Mother Falcon, now numbering up to twenty two players, had become one of Austin’s most popular and beloved “bands” with the release of Still Life, their debut EP of classical-crossover pop songs, and another Austin Chronicle cover story. The next year their first full length, Alhambra, saw major local airplay and a series of sold out local shows. Somehow, while its members were focused on being college sophomores, this wild idea of being as cool as a quarterback had made Nick Gregg the founder of one of the coolest bands in one of the world’s coolest music cities. Yet, as Mother Falcon won multiple Austin Music Awards, collaborated with Austin legends like Alejandro Escovedo and Christopher Cross and ventured to Houston and Denton, it still didn’t seem plausible that such a huge ensemble could make an impact outside of Austin. As the bulk of the collective’s musicians approached college graduation in 2013, this unlikely indie orchestra was at a crossroads. With the need for employment looming, perhaps the easiest choice would be to backburner the band, maybe keep playing around Austin until everyone spun off on their own: grad school, jobs, other bands. Mother Falcon, by now a community with deep ties (among them two pairs of siblings and several relationships begun in childhood) made a tougher choice, committing to a new album and an unusual strategy of moving to other cities for a month at a time to cut costs of touring such a large group. After making a huge splash at SXSW 2013, second album You Knew dropped in May 2013, strongly impacted national radio and gained major support from NPR. June residencies at Joe’s Pub in New York and Littlefield in Brooklyn were followed by residencies at The Echo in Los Angeles and Soda Bar in San Diego. Subsequent national tours found Mother Falcon unexpectedly selling out small clubs all over the country within months of their first tentative steps outside of Austin. Nick Gregg was now undeniably as cool as a quarterback. Two years later, Mother Falcon return with their third full-length album Good Luck Have Fun, slated for release August 14th on BitCandy Digital and Punctum Records. Seven years, two albums and hundreds of shows on from Westlake High, this unlikely indie orchestra takes a leap into the unknown, blowing up their usual way of composing and recording together in a conscious effort to push themselves into new stylistic and sonic realms. As such, Good Luck Have Fun doubles down on both sides of Mother Falcon. The adventurousness is more adventurous, with fully half the album comprised of experimental instrumental soundscapes composed as the score to an upcoming documentary about competitive gaming. Inspired by Bowie’s Low, 60s improv iconoclasts AAM, Koji Kondo’s score for Majora’s Mask and the psychedelic drone of Fuck Buttons, the instrumental pieces ebb and flow in tension between unresolved crescendos and throbbing, jagged minimalism. Conversely, the rest of the album may be Mother Falcon’s most accessible music ever, with a stronger emphasis on rhythm, concise arrangements that move the vocals to the fore, lyrics grounded in universal themes and a wealth of hooks, upon hooks, upon hooks. Ben Sollee Musicians often claim they are “giving themselves” to their listeners, but it’s rarely as true as on Ben Sollee’s fourth album, Half-Made Man, a revealing, deeply moving album that explores a man trying to figure himself out, just as we all are. Known for his thrilling cello-playing that incorporates new techniques to create a unique mix of folk, bluegrass, jazz and R&B, Sollee possesses rough-smooth-smoky vocal stylings and a knack for intricate arrangements that has brought about comparisons to Sufjan Stevens. Sollee shares himself completely with his audience, whether it be by personal lyrics, or his commitment to the environment. Sollee can often be found riding a bicycle to his concerts (cello strapped to the back), which have become legendary for their intimacy. The album, produced by Sollee himself, boasts a sublime cast of musicians, including Carl Broemel (My Morning Jacket) on electric/acoustic guitar and pedal steel, Alana Rocklin on bass, Jordon Ellis on percussion, Jeremy Kittel (formerly of the Turtle Island String Quartet) on violin, and guest vocals by Abigail Washburn. Sollee contributes octave mandolin, guitar, and of course, his signature cello. “I wanted it to have a raw, real-time performance quality,” Sollee says. “This is kinetic expression. I dug deep into myself and asked the musicians to go there with me. To my ear, it sounds like musical search party; we often find what we’re looking for in between defined styles and genres. It won’t be easy to place this in one category, but I, and my generation, are measured by a little bit of everything these days.” Sollee first gained major notice with his 2008 debut, Learning to Bend, which led NPR’s Morning Edition to call him one of the “Top Ten Great Unknown Artists” of the year. Later, All Things Considered called his debut “an inspired collection of acoustic, folk and jazz-flavored songs, filled with hope and the earnest belief that the world is good.” Around the same time, Sollee was touring the world with Abigail Washburn’s Sparrow Quartet alongside Grammy nominee Casey Driessen and multi-Grammy winner Bela Fleck. Sollee’s music drew the attention of My Morning Jacket frontman Yim Yames, who produced his second full-length album, a collaboration with Daniel Martin Moore. In 2010 they released Dear Companion, a stunning collection of songs meant to inspire environmental stewardship. The next year Sollee contributed his cello stylings to My Morning Jacket’s hit albumCircuital and released Inclusions, a sonically awe-inspring album about relationships that was called “structurally brilliant” by Slant and “stunning” by No Depression. Through it all, Sollee has garnered a rabid following of listeners devoted to his music. They will be greatly pleased with this, his most personal and adventurous album yet. His voice is grittier here, and the instruments—fiddles, lovely in their sawing, and electric guitars grinding out love and disappointment and every emotion in between—mimic the urgency and passion so evident in his vocals. “The vocals are more off the cuff and freer,” he says, stressing that the production strives more for rawness than perfection. “We steered our ears toward getting the right energy for each song. The takes took on their own life and led us along. The machines and mics had a weighty sound that we could use to drive the story through the lyrics and arrangements.” The songs give us the many facets of a human being who is acutely aware of the world around him and his own faults. The album is novelistic in its scope and theme as we travel with the narrator who reveals everything about himself as a father, a spouse, a musician, and more. We are along for the ride as the narrator sings of selfishness, joy, impatience, romance…being human. With Half-Made Man, a record of raw power, grace, and wisdom, Sollee is sure to be measured alongside the best artists of his generation.
Daley @ The Howard Theatre
$20 / $25
Behind the signature black frames and hair, lies and honesty and truth of voice increasingly rare in todays musical landscape – it is for this reason Daley has continued to rise on his journey to becoming budding future-soul prodigy. At 24-years-old, the UK singer-songwriter is well on his way to redefining the way heartfelt music and songwriting looks, sounds and feels. “I want my music to feel of it’s time,” the young artist divulges as perhaps the most telling description of his work. “I sometimes refer to it as ‘future-throwback-soul’… everything I write is very much rooted in a feeling, the kind you get from throwback R&B and Soul that I grew up around… then sonically I try to take that and bring it a into the future.” Growing up in Manchester, England, with little around to stimulate his talent, Daley spent time taking in the greats of yesterday and today, nurtured by US and UK sounds growing up, from the all-encompassing musical stylings of Prince and soulful swagger of D’Angelo and Soul II Soul to sparse experimental sonics of Sade, RadioHead and Imogen Heap, he amalgamated a unique sound of his own. Developing his style and pen as a teen through bedroom recordings, which later found there way into the world as he moved away from home and began making a name for himself on London’s underground urban music stages. “It was tough fitting into a Manchester scene, there wasn’t a great deal of musical variety there at the time and I never felt there was a place for me. So I spent a lot of time by myself and in London, exploring how I wanted to sound and what I was capable of.’ He first perked mainstream ears writing the Gorillaz 2010 chart hit, ‘Doncamatic’ after a mutual friend introduced Gorillaz creator Damon Albarn to his music at one of his early London shows. First radio plays on BBC Radio 1 and 1Xtra plus guest spots writing, featuring and touring with UK artists including Wretch 32, Emeli Sande and Jessie J – eventually paved way for Daley’s first solo project, the independently released ‘Those Who Wait’ mixtape. The body of work took on a life of it’s own, garnering over 150,000 downloads worldwide, and spreading his music internationally – fuelled purely by word-of-mouth. “Those Who Wait was a project I put out for free. I wanted my voice to be heard without constraints, to really show people who I am and what I’m about, away from the features I’d done.’ The mixtape continued to generate viral online acclaim, with songs such as title track ‘Those Who Wait’, ‘Smoking Gun’ and ‘Alone Together’ resonating across the Atlantic – eventually securing him a major label deal at Universal Republic Records in 2012. His first official release the ‘Alone Together’ EP came shortly after, furthering his rise with Stateside single, new-classic R&B jam ‘Alone Together’ featuring Grammy nominated former Floetry songstress Marsha Ambrosius. It became a Top 5 Urban radio hit – which New York R&B station WBLS gave its first spins. The US debut EP also garnered Daley ‘Best Newcomer’ nominations from BET, Centric, Soul Train Awards and the MOBOs, made him one of BBC 1Xtra’s most shared acts to date, and has racked up over 16 million YouTube/VEVO views with live performances and music videos, including Jessie J assisted duet, ‘Remember Me’. After touring with the likes of Miguel, Emeli Sande, Gorillaz and label mate Jessie J, Daley has gone on to sell out his own tours all over the UK, Europe and the USA, expanding his audience and picking up fans from the likes of, Maxwell and Jill Scott, to Will.i.am and Pharrell Williams along the way. Part of Daley’s international appeal comes from his ability to combine universally understood sentiments and lyrics, with a sounds that fuses both yesterday and tomorrow. Connected and delivered with the technologies of today, his online following has grown into a solid, loyal foundation of music lovers of all ages. All signs point to a an eagerly anticipated full-length debut from the artist in 2014. Entitled ‘Days & Nights,’ the album balances the young star’s songwriting flair and awe-worthy vocal ability with illuminating vulnerability and substance. “Days & Nights became a diary of sorts for me. I’ve been able to say things on this album that I haven’t even talked about with my closest friends, feelings I’ve only really been able to express through music. When writing I often found myself split, one part of me writing in an optimistic, hopeful, loving perspective, the other describing a much darker, despairing side of my soul.’ he describes. ‘I wanted to identify those ‘light and dark’ elements that balance out and make us human.’ While his palette is rooted in the classics, he pushes the music forward with a futuristic intent. “It’s always soulful at the core, but the sound and production reflects the world the way I hear it – that’s what I find most exiting about making music,” he details. Songs like ‘Time Travel’ transcend to another dimension, with building layered vocals and drum intensity. On “Be,” he employs a warmer approach, loving sentiment and warm piano chords run through ambient, spaced-out production reminiscent of Sade. “Blame The World’ and ‘Broken’ both highlight Daley’s ability to lead vocally over triumphant brass and orchestral backing, while a delicate interpretation of Joan Armatrading’s ‘Love & Affection’ sets him akin to the likes of an Adele, with a beautiful ballad. Pharrell’s production on “Look Up” even manages to capture an essence of Maryn Gaye, without ever falling into Motown-era cliches. Past and present have rarely combined so seamlessly… Daley welcomes the world into his ‘Days & Nights’ without compromise.
Mac DeMarco @ The Howard Theatre
$25 / $30
In 2015, the talent for creating a prolific output of exceptional music is almost a curse. Press people will tell you that there’s a bottleneck of too many artists covered by too few media outlets who always want to talk about something new. Managers will tell you that there’s too much money to be made on the road, so the album cycle goes on and on to support that. Artists may even feel pressured by reviewers and themselves to go into a deep stasis, only to emerge again when they’ve reinvented themselves into a newly revamped and retooled model, as opposed to just capturing time in a bottle and offering more to their catalog. At times, even fans have adopted this rule as well and are almost shocked when their favorite artist is able to release an LP already after two and a half or three years of waiting (let’s call this the MBV-effect). Lucky for us, Mac DeMarco is old school in his approach: when Mac wants to make a record and he has the songs ready, he makes it. Like the days of Steely Dan, Harry Nilsson or Prince releasing a classic every year (or less) comes Mac DeMarco’s Another One, a Mini-LP announced almost one year to the date of the meteorically successful Salad Days. The album was conceived and recorded entirely by Mac in a short period of time between a relentless tour schedule. At his new place in Far Rockaway, Queens — a neighborhood as east as you can possibly be before hitting Long Island — you can live in relative isolation despite technically still being in New York City. This left Mac with nothing more to do with his down time than to make music. Another One is an eight track release of brand new songs, freshly written for this release and each of which expand the arsenal of Mac’s already impressive catalog. Centered around a pump-organ riff and lilting vocal melody that is somehow both haunting and warm, “A Heart Like Hers” is a track that shows the maturity of Mac’s progression as songwriter. It’s a little bit more refined, a little bit more sophisticated, but nonetheless still retains the guts and soul of any classic Mac track. Opener “The Way You’d Love Her” has a playful swing to the chords and a guitar solo that wouldn’t be out of place on a mid-period ‘Dead’ LP, Mac’s new favored listening past time. The overall feeling of the LP is lost love, or perhaps love never found, a topic that the world never tires of and one Mac can move through without it being a dour and somber experience. Title track “Another One” and stand out “Without Me” exhibit this bittersweet sensibility in lyrical and musical context, both melancholic and romantic, blurring the line between happy or sad nostalgia. The record leaves you with the same satisfaction as an old Bogart movie: he’s still the hero, but he doesn’t quite get the girl. It’s odd that despite working at the same pace as artists like Creedence, The Byrds and The Rolling Stones, coupled with an equally unending schedule of touring, press and recording, Mac is still labeled as a slacker. With two full-lengths and two EPs released and hundreds of sold out shows performed in the last several years, a recent late night television debut on Conan following a special guest performance on The Eric Andre Show, it seems, as Mac DeMarco nears his 25th birthday, there’s not a slack bone in the man’s body, besides maybe his a penchant for wearing comfortable clothes. You need comfortable clothes to work this hard anyway. Great singer/songwriters (Elton, Joni, Neil) don’t need to reinvent themselves; they just need to keep going and let the songs out in the world. If you’re like me and don’t think it’s been too soon since Salad Days – and you’re actually about to freak if you don’t hear more — here’s Another One.
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