Category: Concert Previews
In Eastern philosophical systems, time isn’t linear as we think of it in the West. It’s an endlessly looping circle. Musicians can appreciate this concept better than most of us, on and off the bandstand.
Consider guitarist Dan Bruce, who will celebrate the release of Time to Mind the Mystics, the new recording by his ensemble :beta collective with a free concert at Negative Space on Thursday.
Among the many souvenirs of his half century as a music producer, manager, writer and activist, Marty Khan also has a collection of sculptures carved in ebony by the Makonde people of Tanzania, among them, one that resembled both Rodin’s “The Thinker” and his longtime friend and client Makanda Ken McIntyre. One bright and sunny day in June 2001, Khan picked up the phone to call McIntyre, when he heard a rumble in the mountains near his Tucson home. “It was this really deep rumble like thunder,” Khan remembered. “All of a sudden, a wind picks up that sculpture and smashes it on the floor, and the head breaks off. A half hour later we get a call from [producer] Steve Rowland, his brother-in-law, to tell us that Makanda just passed.”
It was a characteristic move for McIntyre, the composer and instrumentalist who shunned the spotlight but still projected his formidable intellect and influence on the jazz seen as an educator and mentor. Yet like the thunder in the Arizona mountains, McIntyre’s presence continues to be felt, as it will be in Cleveland Thursday when the 13-piece Makanda Project big band roars into Bop Stop playing a book of his unpublished compositions.
Saxophonist Diego Rivera‘s 2020 gig at Cleveland’s Bop Stop is one that he’ll never forget, but not for the usual reasons. The Michigan saxophonist’s engagement at the Hingetown club was the first event to have been canceled as the darkness of the COVID pandemic descended on a terrified world.
“We actually canceled the morning of the gig,” Rivera said in a Zoom interview. “This was going to be my first performance under my name at the Bop Stop, and we talked for quite a while trying to make this happen. I was really looking forward to it, but Gabe [Pollack, the club’s director] was incredibly professional, very gracious, and really supportive. He was like, ‘You know, it’s the right thing to do. Don’t worry about it. We’ll do this again.'”
Pollack was as good as his word and so this Saturday Rivera will bring a hard-charging quintet to Cleveland for a concert that’s been 25 months in the making.
On the surface, Perpetual Pendulum, the new release by the trio of organist Larry Goldings, guitarist Peter Bernstein and drummer Bill Stewart who will appear Sunday at Tri-C follows the comfortingly familiar path established by generations of organ trios. But spend some time with this recording and a world of subtleties reveals itself.