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Author: John Chacona

Previewing Dixon’s Violin at Dafmark Dance Theater

Photo by Aaron Lingenfelter

Dixon Hammond is a seeker. The violinist will appear in concert at Dafmark Dance Theater on October 1 as Dixon’s Violin. Hammond, 51, plays what he calls “visionary violin,” but though Dixon’s Violin is just Hammond and his five-string electric violin, the music is multilayered and textural thanks to an array of pedals, electronic looping effects and music software that he wrote for his own use. It’s also completely live and in the moment; Hammond doesn’t use pre-recorded backing tracks or samples. He is fond of introducing musical numbers by telling audiences that they are about to hear “something that has not been created yet.”

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Rob Garcia 4 in Erie and Cleveland

Drummer Rob Garcia might be the only man alive to have played with both Chicago creative music legend Joseph Jarman and Woody Allen. For the record, he’s also appeared with Wynton Marsalis, Joe Lovano, Dave Liebman and Diana Krall. If that suggests a wide musical curiosity and technical mastery, Garcia has all of those attributes and more. He’ll be appearing in Erie tonight under the aegis of JazzErie and at Cleveland’s terrific Bop Stop club on Wednesday.

The band is terrific. Saxophonist Noah Preminger is a restless and probing player who has been Garcia’s primary collaborator for 20 years. Bassist Kim Cass was brought into the band by Preminger and Argentine-born pianist Leo Genovese is onboard after an ear-opening turn in the bands of bassist and vocalist Esperenza Spalding. This, friends, is a heavyweight lineup.

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Roll Call: September 3, 2021

I get a lot of new music for my consideration, 407 releases so far this year. Almost all of them are notable for something, and I’d like to give them their due. So, every week, more or less, I’ll offer hot takes on the releases of the preceding seven days. The week of August 28 was so busy–15 new releases–that I spread it out over two posts, and two weeks. Now I’m effectively a week behind with more delays probably on the way as a big review of Cleveland’s Tri-C festival will occupy my time next week. For now, though, savor what was a very strong week for creative music.

Pianist Rachel Eckroth got her start playing with and writing for large jazz ensembles, but lately, the LA-based musician has added color and texture to music by genre-agnostic artists such as Rufus Wainwright, St. Vincent and KT Tunstall.

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Roll Call: 27 August, 2021, part 2

I get a lot of music for my consideration, 398 releases so far this year. Almost all of them are notable for something, and I’d like to give them their due. So, every week, more or less, I’ll offer hot takes on the releases of the preceding seven days. Last week was so busy–15 new releases–that I spread it out over two posts, and two weeks. Where this leaves this week’s 12 (!) new releases is anyone’s guess. I’m not complaining; this has been a very rewarding week of listening.

Jazz musicians interrogating life’s biggest questions is nothing new, but I can’t recall anything quite like  “Portals, Volume 1 – Mourning” (Sunnyside Records). Then again, its composer Caroline Davis isn’t quite like any other jazz musician.

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