Chien Chien Lu is a vibraphonist, contemporary percussionist, and composer whose Taiwanese upbringing, classical music education, and passion for R&B grooves crystallize into a fresh and distinctive approach to contemporary jazz. Lu’s fierce authenticity and jazz mastery shine bright on her September 2020 debut solo project, The Path, which spent 20 weeks on the Jazz Week Charts Top 20, earned Best Jazz Songs in Golden Indie Music Awards and three Golden Melody Awards nominations, four Golden Indie Music Awards nominations and led to Lu’s being named the “vibraphone rising star” in Downbeat Magazine’s 69th Annual Critics Poll. Lu’s band has also played many prestigious festivals including the Clifford Brown Jazz Festival, and toured extensively in Europe, Asia, and the United States. Accompanied on The Path by an elite cast of musicians, Lu offers a unique, intersectional perspective on modern jazz as a Taiwanese-born woman vibraphonist with a masters in classical music from Taipei National University of the Arts as well as in jazz from University of the Arts in Philadelphia.
In her time as a classical percussionist, Lu has collaborated with composer Ching-Mei Lin and performed her marimba concerto for six-mallet marimba entitled Pulsing Wave, performed a solo percussion concert at Taipei Novel Hall, and in 2014, was named “Emerging Young Artist” for her work with her marimba duo at Taipei University of the Arts.
In 2015, Lu came to the United States to study jazz vibraphone with Philadelphia’s Tony Miceli, and graduated with a Masters of Music in Jazz Studies from University of the Arts in Philadelphia shortly thereafter. In 2017, she attended the prestigious Banff Jazz Residency under the direction of jazz pianist, Vijay Iyer, where she first met jazz trumpeter Jeremy Pelt. From there, Lu began to perform regularly in the U.S. and was invited to join the esteemed Jeremey Pelt Quintet.
In the next few years, Lu will continue to record and tour internationally with the Jeremy Pelt Quintet and her own band, and she plans to soon release a project in collaboration with bassist Richie Goods entitled, “Someday We’ll All Be Free.”
Photo credit: Stephen Pyo
Chien Chien Lu
Bay Area artist Jay DeFeo had one guideline when she began painting The Rose in 1958: to create “an idea that had a center.” Her sole focus for eight years, it bloomed into a 12.7 x 8 foot, one foot-thick mixed-media monument, weighing over a ton. Due to its unwieldy proportions and structural fragility, DeFeo was unable to find The Rose a home, and the painting languished in the basement of the San Francisco Institute of Art, entombed and forgotten, for over 25 years. In 1995, six years after DeFeo’s death, The Rose was bought and restored by the Whitney Museum and is now regarded as a seminal work of contemporary art. When I tell people this story, common responses are “she seems tortured” and “she must have been mentally ill.” When I write music, I adopt a protective, reclusive mindset; I feel that this could be the last thing I ever do in my life. Many writers and composers I know cocoon themselves similarly. Why is it crazy to be passionate about what you are creating, to never let up, until you feel you that you have finished? And then… when do you know you have finished? Would the answer be different if one had no deadlines, no pressing financial obligations, no ‘career’ to think about? If DeFeo were a man, would she instead be looked at as a genius and celebrated for her commitment to her work? A Point on a Slow Curve is inspired by the creation story of The Rose. Scored for four female voices, violin, clarinet, cello, bassoon, vibraphone, upright bass, and drums, it is presented in eight movements, one for each year that DeFeo worked on The Rose, plus a coda entitled “Removal”, inspired by the removal of the painting from DeFeo’s apartment. This has become one of those situations when life starts to mirror art; I started this endeavor by writing a short piece inspired by The Rose in 2013 for a string trio. Since then, I have tacked more and more onto it, all the while struggling with the instrumentation, orchestration, and direction of the piece. I was finally able to record it in the fall of 2021 and it was released on Feb. 18, 2022, via In a Circle Records. I am so grateful to the musicians who will help me bring this to life on Oct. 18: Patricia Brennan on vibes, Noel Brennan on drums, Mike McGinnis on clarinet, Hank Roberts on cello, Sara Schoenbeck on bassoon, Gary Wang on bass, and the gorgeous singing of Danielle Buonaiuto, Catherine Hedberg, Adrienne Pedrotti and Elizabeth Merrill. -Dana Lyn Photo credit: Mike Weintraub
The Loser’s Lounge is back with at Joe's Pub from October 6-8 with all of the incredible songs, great performances, irreverent antics and special guests that you can only find at The Losers Lounge. For one weekend only, only at Joe's Pub. Photo courtesy the artists.
Husband and wife duo Jaime Lozano and Florencia Cuenca create Mexican musical magic on Broadway en Spanglish. Featuring Mariachi Real de México de Ramon Ponce, they deliver fresh interpretation of some of musical theater's most iconic tunes with new arrangements by Lozano. Photo credit: Gabrielle Mariella
Sarah Elizabeth Charles and her band SCOPE celebrate the release of their fourth album, Blank Canvas. Championing the choice to start new in the midst of difficult, complex, and beautiful circumstances, Blank Canvas is Charles' most lyrically and musically dynamic release yet. Featuring her band/team of twelve years, Jesse Elder, Burniss Earl Travis II (Boom Bishop), John Davis, Jordan Peters, Jesse Fischer, and Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah, this widely anticipated album will be their first in five years and will be released amongst family via Christian Scott's Stretch Music label in partnership with Ropeadope. "Impeccable technical prowess providing the base for boldly uninhibited expression, all driving sharply shaped political and cultural views: It’s a combination as rare as it is thrilling, bringing to mind Betty Carter and Abbey Lincoln and, over the past half-decade, the neo-soul-meets-jazz fervor of Sarah Elizabeth Charles." – JazzTimes Photo credit: Shervin Lainez
The International Contemporary Ensemble presents the world premieres of new works by Lesley Mok and Chris Ryan Williams as part of the Ensemble’s 2021-2022 “Call for ____” Commission Program. Lesley Mok’s Stilled leaf-chatter emerges from the contemporary improvisational sensibilities of its performers. The piece explores a sense of narration that can emerge from structural frameworks and is an attempt to find a poetic resonance in the simultaneity of individual expressions. Chris Ryan Williams’ Odu: vibration 1 brings together vocalist Fay Victor, bassoonist Rebekah Heller, and cellist Lester St. Louis. Photos courtesy International Contemporary Ensemble
This special evening is part of the annual Village Trip Festival, which celebrates the arts and activism of Greenwich Village. Nine-time Grammy winner and founding member of The Manhattan Transfer, Janis Siegel, waxes rhapsodic about her beloved city in song and word. She will be assisted by two master musicians, John di Martino on piano and Boris Koslov on bass. The songs are diverse, romantic, bittersweet, vintage, modern, and full of heart and history, just like New York City itself. Photo courtesy the artist
JACK KEROUAC's legendary status as the leading voice of the BEAT writers was cemented with his now seminal work, ON THE ROAD. Published in 1957, the same year West Side Story debuted on Broadway and Sputnik launched into space, The New York Times hailed the book's appearance as "...the most beautifully executed, the clearest and the most important utterance yet made by the generation Kerouac himself named years ago as 'beat,' and whose principal avatar he is." Kerouac's work was greatly influenced by the stream of jazz that became known as Be Bop. Developed in the mid-1940s by trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie and his second in command, alto saxophonist Charlie Parker, it featured angular melodies, at times blistering tempos, the use of Afro-Cuban rhythms, and complex harmonies, it challenged jazz players to a new level of improvisational virtuosity that inspired Kerouac and his colleagues. Two musical titans, one who actually worked with Kerouac, will join forces at Joe's Pub to celebrate Kerouac's centennial in a special evening of bebop, mambo, and poetry. DAVID AMRAM Ubiquitous is the only word that can best be used to describe Maestro David Amram. A composer for symphonic, chamber ensemble, choir, jazz ensembles, movie soundtracks, an arranger, multi-instrumentalist, educator, conductor, and raconteur, he is a true World musician. He has conducted in over thirty-five countries including Cuba, Kenya, Egypt, Pakistan, Israel, Latvia and China and regularly criss-crosses the United States and Canada. He started his professional life in music as a French Hornist in the National Symphony Orchestra (Washington, D.C.) in 1951. After serving in the US Army from 1952-54, he moved to New York City in 1955 and played French horn in the legendary jazz bands of Charles Mingus, Dizzy Gillespie, Lionel Hampton and Oscar Pettiford. In 1957, he created and performed in the first ever Jazz/Poetry readings in New York City with novelist Jack Kerouac, a close friend with whom Amram collaborated artistically for over 12 years. He has composed the scores for many films including Pull My Daisy (1959), Splendor in The Grass (1960) and The Manchurian Candidate (1962). He composed the scores for Joseph Papp's Shakespeare In The Park from 1956-1967 and premiered his comic opera 12th Night with Papp's libretto in 1968. He also wrote a second opera, The Final Ingredient, An Opera of the Holocaust, for ABC Television in 1965. From 1964-66, Amram was the Composer and Music Director for the Lincoln Center Theatre and wrote the scores for Arthur Miller´s plays After the Fall (1964) and Incident at Vichy (1966). Appointed by Leonard Bernstein as the first Composer In Residence for the New York Philharmonic in 1966, he is now one of the most performed and influential composers of our time. His most popular recent symphonic compositions include This Land, Symphonic Variations On A Song By Woody Guthrie (2007), commissioned by the Guthrie Foundation and performed by the Colorado Symphony with Amram conducting and recorded by Newport Classics in 2015; Giants of the Night (2002) commissioned and premiered by flutist Sir James Galway; Kokopeli, A Symphony in Three Movements (1995), premiered by the Nashville Symphony Orchestra with Amram conducting; Three Songs, A Concerto for Piano and Orchestra (2009), Greenwich Village Portraits for Alto Saxophone and String Orchestra (2018) and Partners: A Double Concerto for Violin, Cello and Orchestra (2018) He has collaborated as a composer with Elia Kazan, Arthur Miller, Eugene Ormandy, Sir James Galway, Langston Hughes and Jacques D´Amboise and as a musician with Thelonious Monk, Johnny Depp, Hunter S. Thompson, Dizzy Gillespie, Odetta, Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, Betty Carter, Floyd Red Crow Westerman, Arlo Guthrie, Pete Seeger, Paquito D´Rivera, Tito Puente and Jerry Jeff Walker. A recipient of numerous awards, Amram is the author of three memoirs, Upbeat: Nine Lives of a Musical Cat (2009), Offbeat: Collaborating with Kerouac (2005) and the highly acclaimed Vibrations (1968, 2007), all published by Routledge Taylor and Francis. His fourth book Amram@90: Notes from a Promising Young Composer will be published in November of 2022, celebrating his 92nd birthday. In addition to writing new music, he continues to perform around the world as a guest conductor, soloist, multi-instrumentalist, band leader at jazz, folk and classical festivals and narrates them in five languages. BOBBY SANABRIA "Bobby Sanabria is equally adept at the swinging big band sounds of drummers Buddy Rich and Louis Bellson along with another boyhood hero, fusion pioneer Billy Cobham and timbale titan Tito Puente” - Bill Milkowski, Jazz Times Bobby Sanabria is an eight-time Grammy-nominee as a leader. Known as a drummer, percussionist, composer, arranger, conductor, documentary film producer, educator, activist, and bandleader, his versatility as both a drummer and percussionist, from small group to big band, has become legendary. A native son of the South Bronx born to Puerto Rican parents, he has performed and recorded with every major figure in the world of Latin jazz and salsa, from the founder of the Afro-Cuban/Latin jazz movement Mario Bauzá, to Tito Puente, Mongo Santamaría, Dizzy Gillespie, Chico O’Farrill, Ray Barretto, Candido, to Larry Harlow, Ruben Blades, Celia Cruz, and jazz luminaries as diverse as Henry Threadgill, Charles McPherson, Randy Brecker, Joe Chambers, Jean Lucien, The Mills Brothers, and others. DRUM! Magazine named him Percussionist of the Year (2005); he was named Percussionist of the Year by the Jazz Journalists Association in 2011 and 2013. In 2006, he was inducted into the Bronx Walk of Fame. He was a recipient of the 2018 Jazz Education Network (JEN) LeJENS of Jazz Lifetime Achievement Award for his work as a musician and educator. In 2008 Congressman Dennis Kucinich honored his work as a musician and educator by reading his name into the Congressional Record and in 2018 the U.S. Congressional Black Caucus honored him as a musician, educator. Every single one of his big band recordings, seven in total, have been nominated for Grammys. His 2018 recording, ‘West Side Story Reimagined,' reached #1 on the national Jazz Week radio charts, was nominated for a 2018 Grammy, and won the prestigious 2019 Record of The Year Award from the Jazz Journalists Association. Partial proceeds from sales of this double CD went to the Jazz Foundation of America’s Puerto Rico Relief Fund for musicians. He is the Co-Artistic Director of the Bronx Music Heritage Center and the forthcoming Bronx Music Hall. His lifetime dedication to spreading the history, culture, of jazz and Latin jazz to the general public as a performer, as well as educating a new generation of players, composers, arrangers, has no parallel. A member of Max Roach’s legendary M’BOOM percussion ensemble, he is on the faculty of the New School (his 26th year) and NYU and was on the faculty of the Manhattan School of Music for 20 years. He is also the on-air host of the Latin Jazz Cruise on WBGO FM and wbgo.org, the number one jazz station in the nation. Lehman College in NYC has recently awarded Maestro Sanabria an Honorary Doctorate. Photos courtesy the artists.
Cleveland-born poet, writer, and activist Keith LaMar, 53, has spent the last year hard at work writing and performing new material for his first album, FREEDOM FIRST…from his cell at the Ohio State Penitentiary, where he has spent almost 30 years in solitary confinement on death row for a crime he didn’t commit. A collaboration with Brooklyn-based, Catalan pianist and composer Albert Marquès, FREEDOM FIRST is the first album in history by an artist on death row. LaMar is scheduled to be executed by the State of Ohio on November 16, 2023. Since the first FREEDOM FIRST concert in August 2020 at Grand Army Plaza in Brooklyn with 25 jazz musicians playing for free, crowds have flocked to experience its electric energy and passion. Each concert features a different group of performers, grounded in the original BLM street protests that were the foundation of FREEDOM FIRST . This concert brings together a diverse group of international musicians playing jazz and protest music, accompanying Keith LaMar's spoken word poetry. From Coltrane classics like "Acknowledgement" to new compositions incorporating influences from hip hop to free jazz, FREEDOM FIRST is a coming together of urgency and agency, a call to people to stand up and speak out against brutality.
Chien Chien Lu is a vibraphonist, contemporary percussionist, and composer whose Taiwanese upbringing, classical music education, and passion for R&B grooves crystallize into a fresh and distinctive approach to contemporary jazz. Lu’s fierce authenticity and jazz mastery shine bright on her September 2020 debut solo project, The Path, which spent 20 weeks on the Jazz Week Charts Top 20, earned Best Jazz Songs in Golden Indie Music Awards and three Golden Melody Awards nominations, four Golden Indie Music Awards nominations and led to Lu’s being named the “vibraphone rising star” in Downbeat Magazine’s 69th Annual Critics Poll. Lu’s band has also played many prestigious festivals including the Clifford Brown Jazz Festival, and toured extensively in Europe, Asia, and the United States. Accompanied on The Path by an elite cast of musicians, Lu offers a unique, intersectional perspective on modern jazz as a Taiwanese-born woman vibraphonist with a masters in classical music from Taipei National University of the Arts as well as in jazz from University of the Arts in Philadelphia. In her time as a classical percussionist, Lu has collaborated with composer Ching-Mei Lin and performed her marimba concerto for six-mallet marimba entitled Pulsing Wave, performed a solo percussion concert at Taipei Novel Hall, and in 2014, was named “Emerging Young Artist” for her work with her marimba duo at Taipei University of the Arts. In 2015, Lu came to the United States to study jazz vibraphone with Philadelphia’s Tony Miceli, and graduated with a Masters of Music in Jazz Studies from University of the Arts in Philadelphia shortly thereafter. In 2017, she attended the prestigious Banff Jazz Residency under the direction of jazz pianist, Vijay Iyer, where she first met jazz trumpeter Jeremy Pelt. From there, Lu began to perform regularly in the U.S. and was invited to join the esteemed Jeremey Pelt Quintet. In the next few years, Lu will continue to record and tour internationally with the Jeremy Pelt Quintet and her own band, and she plans to soon release a project in collaboration with bassist Richie Goods entitled, “Someday We’ll All Be Free.” Photo credit: Stephen Pyo
After touring the whole summer in Latinoamerica, Yamaha artist, Cuban pianist and composer Dayramir González kicks off his US tour at renowned Joe's Pub with a special concert that shows the dynamic range of Cuban piano from Ernesto Lecuona to Chucho Valdes, from Gonzalo Rubalcaba to Dayramir González. This band just won the DC Jazz Bands Competition and it's a not to miss show to dance and listen to today's afro Cuban Jazz Grooves. “A thoughtful musical dialogue between turn-of-the-century Havana and 2010s New York.” - JazzTimes (Editor’s Pick) “The writing and playing are breathtaking.” - DownBeat (4.5 stars)
DakhaBrakha is a world music quartet from Kyiv, Ukraine. Reflecting fundamental elements of sound and soul, Ukrainian “ethno-chaos” band DakhaBrakha, create a world of unexpected new music. The name DakhaBrakha is original, outstanding and authentic at the same time. It means “give/take” in the old Ukrainian language. Accompanied by Indian, Arabic, African, Russian and Australian traditional instrumentation, the quartet’s astonishingly powerful and uncompromising vocal range creates a trans-national sound rooted in Ukrainian culture. Photo credit: Vitaliy Vorobyov
Alexia Bomtempo was raised in the beach culture of Rio de Janeiro, while traveling to America frequently over the years. She grew up listening to Brazilian popular music and Bossa Nova, as well as rock, folk and jazz. Since relocating back to New York City, the Brazilian-American singer-songwriter has fully embraced, challenged, and redefined the Northern half of her American artistic roots. Equally comfortable wandering amidst hazy memory-inducing soundscapes as she is in delivering flowing melodies influenced by her beachside upbringing in Rio de Janeiro, Alexia is an artist of of multiple worlds. Her tribute to Caetano Veloso, I Just Happen to Be Here, was called a “hauntingly beautiful collection” (Village Voice). BlackBook called her album Chasing Storms and Stars “a deeply poignant meditation on lost love”. The jazz-meets-bossa-nova-flavored Suspiro (Ropeadope) was released to critical acclaim. NPR named it “one of the best albums of the year”; Jazziz said it was “timeless”; American Songwriter defined it as “an exploratory journey.” The “top-shelf Brazilian jazz musician” (Washington Post) is working with GRAMMY Award-nominated pianist Orrin Evans on the Brazilian inspired jazz ensemble Terreno Comum. They have appeared at this year’s DC Jazz Festival and Exit Zero Jazz Festival. Alexia Bomtempo’s new album Doce Carnaval is a love letter to the timeless soundtrack of Brazilian Carnaval to be released August 5 on Ropeadope.