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Ginger Baker Jazz Confusion ft. Pee Wee Ellis, Alec Dankworth & Abass Dodoo
Friday 06/19
Ginger Baker Jazz Confusion ft. Pee Wee Ellis, Alec Dankworth & Abass Dodoo @ The Howard Theatre
$42.50 / $50
“…what’s remarkable is just how consistently recognisable Baker’s style is: whether he’s playing jazz, Afrobeat or psychedelic blues rock…there’s never really been another drummer quite like him.” - Daniel Spicer, Jazzwise “…virtuosic small-combo jazz abounding with spirit, excitement and smarts.” - Jeff Tamarkin, Relix Ginger Baker, renowned for his work with the Graham Bond Organisation, Cream, Blind Faith, and Fela Kuti, is back with his first new album in 15 years, Why?, released by Motema Records. It features his Jazz Confusion band, who have accompanied him on tours in the UK, Europe and Japan and also on several sold-out dates in the US. The sound is both a return to Baker’s roots and a new exploration of the kind of cross-genre, innovative fusion that he has always championed since his afrobeat years in Nigeria with Fela Kuti in the 70s. Why? continues that tradition thanks in no small part to Ghanaian percussion powerhouse Abass Dodoo. The two have worked together for several years now and it certainly shows; the charged interplay between Dodoo’s explosive exuberance and Baker’s trademark disciplined insistence has been honed into a web of complex rhythm that forms the backbone of each piece. Meanwhile, funk giant Pee Wee Ellis, who got his start as bandleader for James Brown, lays down line after line of effortless bluesy soul on the tenor sax; in a quartet where half the musicians are percussionists, both Ellis and bassist Alec Dankworth are called on to sustain the melodic element just between the two of them, a challenge they more than rise to. It’s an unconventional line-up and an unconventional sound from a man who has never done what anyone expected of him; once voted ‘Musician Least Likely To Survive The 60s’, Ginger Baker is still here, still playing and still pushing boundaries.
Jazz Is Dead feat. Alphonso Johnson, Jeff Pevar, Tom Constanten, Rod Morgenstern & Chris Smith
Wednesday 08/19
Jazz Is Dead feat. Alphonso Johnson, Jeff Pevar, Tom Constanten, Rod Morgenstern & Chris Smith @ The Howard Theatre
$30 / $35
"JAZZ IS DEAD promises to be one of the year's highlight events for the DEAD and jazz communities." - Ian D'giff/Long Island Village Voice "I haven't witnessed such a vibrant DEAD scene since JERRY's passing." - Steve Bloom/High Times on the Variety Playhouse show in Atlanta, GA "JAZZ IS DEAD not only exceeded my expectations (the crowd went wild!) but so did ticket sales. The show sold out and I hope we have JAZZ IS DEAD back to the House of Blues in the near future." - Michael Yerke/House Of Blues, Chicago, Ill "JAZZ IS DEAD would not normally be the first show I would choose to go to, or at least drive two hours for. I was, however sucked in. It is definitely a creation worth seeing, no matter what your musical taste." - Big Shout Magazine on the Keswick Thr. show in Phil., PA "You don't have to be a Deadhead to dig this musical event." - Natalie Davis, Baltimore City Paper "It was awesome to see such incredible musicians taking the DEAD'S music and spinning it into their own magical expression, putting a hip jazz twist into it." - Neil Wigenbach/KPFT, Houston, TX I. A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE MUSIC: Led by highly stylized, virtuoso guitar player JERRY GARCIA, San Francisco’s GRATEFUL DEAD formed in 1965. Their music was a unique amalgam of bluegrass, folk, blues, motown & rock and roll, evolving to later include elements of jazz - the latter particularly, as regarded their penchant for free-form improvisation. In their time, GRATEFUL DEAD were the highest grossing concert attraction in the history of the touring talent industry, an unexpected statistic, when measured against ‘mediocre’ record sales. There are two reasons to explain this: First, GRATEFUL DEAD performed more than anyone else - three major tours (approx. 100 shows) a year since the advent of ‘arena rock’ circa 1972. Whereas THE ROLLING STONES or U2 for example, easily out grossed THE DEAD in any calendar year, the latter two (as with any major attraction) chose to tour every three to five years on average. Beside the physical demands of the road, no arena/ stadium sized attraction would dare tour in consecutive years, fearing depletion of market demand from overexposure. Second, GRATEFUL DEAD played long shows (3 to 6 hours), consisting of two sets with an intermission - working from an active repertoire of over 100 original compositions and cover material ... reprised differently from show to show, in off times bizarre & unexpected medleys - segue ways interwoven with lengthy, jazz-like, ‘psychedlic’ improvisations & dynamic drum solos. Over the course of a thirty or forty city tour, no two shows would be alike. On top of all of this, the band allowed ... even encouraged the fans to tape record the performances - unheard of in a record industry whose chief fear was ‘bootlegging’. Yet, instead of 'bootlegging' (selling the clandestinely recorded tapes for profit), the fans codified the phenomenon ... recounted orally from fan to fan, musically from tape to tape. II. BACKROUND: On August 9, 1995, at the age of 53, JERRY GARCIA died from heart failure in Northern California, where he was born and began an American musical legacy that is sure to reverberate down through the generations. A short time thereafter, GRATEFUL DEAD announced that it's existence as an ongoing, performing entity, was at an end. In the wake of these events, some remaining DEAD members and close musical associates that had played with GARCIA in other projects endeavored to continue the journey. In 1996, the DEAD's BOB WEIR and MICKEY HART created "Further Festival," a revolving retinue of Artists that had admired GARCIA and the spirit his music embodied. This ensemble featured JAZZ IS DEAD co founder, WEATHER REPORT bassist ALPHONOS JOHNSON (who had previously toured and recorded with BOB WEIR). At the beginning of 2015, the surviving members of GRATEFUL DEAD announced historic “Fare Thee Well” (farewell) concerts) … inspiring JAZZ IS DEAD to reform and likewise celebrate GRATEFUL DEAD’s 50th Anniversary. III. OVERVIEW: JAZZ IS DEAD, "Explorations Into the Music of GRATEFUL DEAD” embarks from the compass point of GARCIA and company's most complex and audacious material, culled from many periods of their storied history. From there, the musical heading is unknown ... each performance, promising inspired improvisation and new discovery ... crafted by a line-up of stellar players.