Lucid Culture

JAZZ, CLASSICAL MUSIC AND THE ARTS IN NEW YORK CITY

Ljova’s New Cinematic Album – A Movie for the Ears

Virtuoso violist and film composer Ljova’s new album is a lot like the Everything Is Illuminated soundtrack, but more emotionally diverse and ultimately not as dark. A cinephile since childhood, he includes pieces here which have appeared over the last couple of years in films by Francis Ford Coppola, James Marsh, Lev Polyakov and several others. Fans of gypsy music are probably wondering if this is the new Romashka album – well…no, although that charismatic and equally eclectic gypsy band is featured pretty spectacularly on side one (Ljova has arranged the album with a happy A-side, and a more brooding B-side that ends rather hilariously). It’s literally a movie for the ears: that these vignettes and longer set pieces stand up as well as they do without the visuals testifies to how strong they are. Ljova’s signature ironic humor is in full force here, although the strongest cuts are the darkest ones. Many of these scenes clock in at under two minutes, even less than one in several cases.

On many of these tracks, Ljova plays an invention he’s recently popularized, the famiola, a hybrid six-stringed viola whose tonal capabilities surpass those of a guitar. As a result, his own multitracked soundscapes take on an unexpectedly lush, orchestral sweep. Being Russian by birth, it’s no surprise that he tends to favor minor keys, although the stylistic range of these instrumentals (and a handful of vocal tunes) is amazing: a couple of bluegrass numbers (including one lickety-split romp with Ljova backed by Tall Tall Trees); several moody, classically-tinged set pieces; a stately baroque minuet that turns absolutely creepy a second time around; and an anxiously crescendoing theme that very cleverly morphs into something far less stressful in the hands of Romashka clarinetist Jeff Perlman. And guest guitarist Jay Vilnai imbues the most gripping track here, a noir tableau titled Midnight Oil Change, with a distant but ever-present Marc Ribot-style menace.

As varied and enjoyable as all these are, it’s the gypsy music that’s probably going to be uploaded the most: a big, climactic, triumphant scene; an expansive, trickily rhythmic anthem; a fragment of an old Ukrainian song delivered with chilling expertise by Romashka frontwoman (and Ljova’s better half) Inna Barmash; and a blithe, jazz-tinged theme that also goes completely creepy when they reprise it. And Ljova had the good sense to put a genial, Gershwinesque stroll in the hands of this band rather than doing it as chamber music, a choice that pays off deviously the first time around and absolutely diabolically the second. Put on headphones (not those stupid earbuds), close your eyes, watch the crazy characters in motion. Ljova’s next gig is with his folks, Russian song icons Alexander Zhurbin and Irena Ginsburg at Joe’s Pub at 9:30 on Jan 15, advance tickets are very highly recommended.

January 3, 2012 Posted by | classical music, gypsy music, Music, music, concert, review, Reviews, world music | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

2012 Winter Jazzfest Schedule

[repost from Lucid Culture’s sister blog New York Music Daily]

Here’s the 2012 Winter Jazzfest schedule, where the cheesy Bleecker Street strip suddenly turns into heaven for jazz fans. You best bet is the $45 two-day pass for Friday and Saturday, currently onsale at le Poisson Rouge; $35 single-day tix are also available. So many good bills here it’s outrageous – and even the segues are good. Friday night Jenny Scheinman followed by Steven Bernstein and his crew playing Sly Stone? Outta sight! Julian Lage followed by the NY Gypsy All-Stars? Think about that one for a minute…and just go. Saturday night Bernie Worrell followed by Bill Laswell is going to pull both the oldschool crowd and the new jacks so show up early; and all the night owls will be rewarded for sticking around when Soul Cycle and then Marc Cary do their funky stuff in the wee hours at Sullivan Hall.  

Friday January 6th

(Le) Poisson Rouge, 158 Bleecker Street btw Sullivan/Thompson

6:00pm – Curtis Hasselbring’s New Mellow Edwards; 7:15pm – John Medeski solo; 8:30pm – Nels Cline Singers; 9:45pm – Jenny Scheinman’s Mischief & Mayhem; 11:00pm – midnight – Steven Bernstein’s MTO plays Sly

Sullivan Hall, 214 Sullivan St. btw Bleecker & West 3rd

7:45pm – Julian Lage Group; 9:00pm – New York Gypsy All Stars; 10:15pm – Marco Benevento solo; 11:30pm – Marc Ribot’s Ceramic Dog; 12:45am – Jerseyband; 2:00am – Big Sam’s Funky Nation

Kenny’s Castaways, 157 Bleecker Street btw Sullivan/Thompson

7:00pm – Ben Allison Trio w/ Jenny Scheinman, Steve Cardenas; 8:15pm – John Hollenbeck w/Pete Robbins, Simon Jermyn, Oscar Noriega, Ches Smith; 9:30pm – Michael Blake’s Hellbent; 10:45pm – Marika Hughes & Bottom Heavy; 12:00am – Rudresh Mahanthappa; 1:15am – Mark Guiliana / Zach Danziger

Zinc Bar, 82 West 3rd Street btw Sullivan/Thompson

6:15pm – Dominick Farinacci; 7:30pm – Malika Zarra; 8:45pm – Miguel Zenon; 10:00pm – Sketchy Black Dog; 11:15pm – Gilad Hekselman 4tet w/ Mark Turner, Joe Martin, Marcus Gilmore; 12:30am – Adam Rudolph’s Moving Pictures; 1:45am – JD Walter

The Bitter End, 147 Bleecker Street btw Thompson/Laguardia

7:15pm – Joel Harrison String Choir:  The Music of Paul Motian; 8:30pm – Lucy Woodward; 9:45pm – Chris Morrissey w/ Aaron Parks, Mark Guiliana, Ben Wendel, Nir Felder; 11:00pm – Amanda Monaco’s Deathblow12:15am – Burnt Sugar Arkestra Chamber; 1:30am – ERIMAJ

Saturday January 7th

(Le) Poisson Rouge, 158 Bleecker Street btw Sullivan/Thompson

6:45pm – Laurence Hobgood; 8:00pm – Bernie Worrell Orchestra; 9:15pm – Bill Laswell solo; 10:30pm – Vijay Iyer Trio; 11:45pm – David Murray Cuban Ensemble; 1:00am – 2:00am Cindy Blackman’s Another Lifetime w/ Marc Cary, Felix Pastorius, Aurelien Budynek

Sullivan Hall, 214 Sullivan St. btw Bleecker & West 3rd

7:45pm – Lakecia Benjamin & Soul Squad; 9:00pm – Fabian Almazan & Strings; 10:15pm – Justin Brown Group; 11:30pm – Wallace Roney Band; 12:45am – Ben Williams & Sound Effect; 2:00am – Jesse Fischer’s Soul Cycle f. Casey Benjamin; 3:15am – Marc Cary’s Cosmic Indigenous w/ special guest Igmar Thomas 

Kenny’s Castaways, 157 Bleecker Street btw Sullivan/Thompson

7:00pm – Jason Ajemian’s Highlife; 8:15pm – Herculaneum; 9:30pm – Mostly Other People Do The Killing; 10:45pm – Shahzad Ismaily, Ches Smith, Mat Maneri; 12:00am – SIFTER w/ Matt WIlson, Kirk Knuffke, Mary Halvorson; 1:15am – Steve Lehman Trio

Zinc Bar, 82 West 3rd Street btw Sullivan/Thompson

7:15pm – Gregoire Maret; 8:30pm – Lionel Loueke; 9:45pm – Will Calhoun Ensemble w/ Donald Harrison; 11:00pm – Sofia Rei; 12:15am – Ayelet Rose Gottlieb w/ Ethel and Satoshi Takeishi; 1:30am – Sharel Cassity

The Bitter End, 147 Bleecker Street btw Thompson/Laguardia

7:30pm – Stephan Crump’s Rosetta Trio; 8:45pm – Andy Milne’s Dapp Theory; 10:00pm – Matt Wilson Quartet +Strings; 11:15pm – Allison Miller’s BOOM TIC BOOM; 12:30am – Taylor Eigsti Trio; 1:45am – Tyshawn Sorey Oblique

January 3, 2012 Posted by | concert, jazz, Live Events, Music, music, concert | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment