Posts by Tristram Lozaw
- Tristram Lozaw at Maximum Performance8 mths ago
Steve Reich, Phillip Glass, John Adams, and Terry Riley are among the modern music heroes that have been feted by Bang on a Can at their Summer Festival in the Berkshires. Tonight, electronic mastermind Aphex Twin gets the treatment –his trippy, transistorized clips translated into modern scores for classical instruments.
Crossing over musical genera to connect and mess with the work of Aphex Twin make perfect sense for Bang on a Can. The New York-based, downtown-modern collective has a penchant for pushing works that in turn stretch musical envelopes – just like its Summer Music Festival home, the Massachusetts . Museum of Contemporary Art, pushes the boundaries of artistic creation. If you want to hear the future of music, now, you come to Banglewood. So here I am, for my 11 th annual helping.
Besides being a destination for fans of new music, BOAC’s Summer Festival is a place for budding talents to meet musicians with like minds. At its center are 35 selected fellows – “students” who are worked “super hard” by the 14 BOAC faculty members in residence. And today they join to present a six-hour marathon (it will be closer to seven) of 19 remarkable new-music works.
THURSDAY MAY 2:
A series of heavy rains have only served to multiply the mud fields generated at the 44th Annual New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival’s first weekend at the Fair Grounds Race Course. On my way in for the first day of weekend #2, with threatening clouds overhead (again), I pass by some serious testifying by the Singing Mustangs Choir to find that some of the track’s grassy infield has become a beach. A layer of sand has been added in an attempt deal with the growing quagmire, though some areas remain a gooey swamp -- like the wide moat that separates the Jazz & Heritage Stage and Big Chief Iron Horse & the Black Seminoles’ Mardi Gras Indian chants from the crowd. As I slog over to Fais Do Do, with my Converse hi-tops already massacred by mud, I reach a spot on New Beach where there’s a perfect harmonic convergence of sound from three stages, with Big Chief, Grupo Sensacion’s meringue, and the charm of Balfa Tojours’ traditional Cajun participating in a spontaneous, compatible-key mashup. I enjoy it for a full minute before moving on.
If coming to the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival Jazz Fest is like going to school and majoring in New Orleans music, hanging out at the week of all-day in-store performance at the Louisiana Music Factory record store in the French Quarter is the Advanced Placement class. The CD & vinyl mecca – with its “library” of 1000s of hard-to-find and rare “reference” recordings -- presents 32 shows running about 45 minutes each between Jazz Fest weekends, shows by many of the musical luminaries that perform over at Fest.
Did I mention it’s all free ? And even though the huge crowds in the long-narrow shop can make it difficult to shop during the performances, the in-store performances help sell records and keep the Louisiana Music Factory, a music fan and record collector’s paradise, open.
FRIDAY APRIL 26:
Henry Gray’s keyboards are first thing I hear upon arriving at my 27th (or is it 28th?) straight Jazz Fest. It reminds me of a time a few years back, at an early Ponderosa Stomp, when I leaned on Gray’s piano while listening to him reunite with other blues legends from Muddy Waters’ and Howlin’ Wolf’s groups. It was spectacular. “This is the sh*t that inspired the Yardbirds and Stones to pick up guitars,” I thought, “and I’m hearing it like they did.” Recalling that revelation reminds me that even as the number of big touring acts included in the Fest lineup grows and grows, I still make the annual pilgrimage for the Henry Grays among the 500-plus acts performing at the New Orleans Jazz Fest over seven days divided between two weekends, acts that provoke my annual mad darting from stage to stage around the Fair Grounds Race Course where the festival is held. And it’s time to Start The Dart.