Mar 27, 2012 Russ Tarby Uncategorized
East meets West in a spectacular new music video produced at Syracuse’s own SubCat Music Studios.
The video – a version of Michael Hedges composition “Ragamuffin” directed by Jeff Bradbury and engineered by Ron Keck – features Jason Kessler on 12-string guitar and percussionist Josh Dekaney on the African oudou, a ceramic gourd played with a whisk broom, along with a string of tiny metallic cymbals.
While these are two of Syracuse’s most talented jazz musicians, the music they make here simply lays the foundation for a marvelous, mesmerizing interpretative dance by Pallavi Gupta. The little lady from India is a graduate student and adjunct professor at Syracuse University studying for her doctorate in biology.
Gupta may be a scientist, but she’s also an artist.
Gupta has performed professionally in India specializing in traditional dance routines, and she based this particular dance on her native country’s monsoon season. Pallavi calls it Hindustai western fusion, Kessler said.
Nod to the composer
Kessler met composer/guitarist Michael Hedges 24 years ago, a meeting which eventually resulted in the creation of this “Ragamuffin” video.
“I read somewhere that Michael wanted to record this tune with [the Kashmiri percussionist] Trilok Gurtu, so I wanted to doÒ this tribute and add a wonderful dancer,” Kessler said. “I’ll always remember what a great time I had talking with Michael after a half-hour and he would answer any question regarding his unique insightful playing. We both agreed that Julian Bream was a huge influence! Michael was another man who reinvented the guitar.”
Kessler’s version of the Hedges tune is expertly rendered on his 12-string Lowden Honduras/Adirondack guitar and Dekaney adds an aptly understated rhythmic foundation, but Gupta steals the show! Her flowing movements mimic gentle then dramatic rainfall, its reception by the earth and the nurturing of new life. Costumed in a traditional burnt orange skirt with a yellow bodice, Pallavi projects a sense of harmony and happiness as she dances. Not only does she dance beautifully, she is beautiful!
Toussaint tix Saturday
New Orleans pianist Allen Toussaint will perform at Onondaga Community College’s Storer Auditorium at 8 p.m. Friday, April 13, and admission is free, but tickets must be obtained in advance.
Tickets become available at 10 a.m. Saturday, March 31, at Sound Garden, 310 W. Jefferson St., in downtown’s Armory Square. Sound Garden is the exclusive box office for the Arts Across Campus Legends of Jazz Series.
The free ducats will be limited to two per customer and will be issued on a first-come, first-served basis while supplies last. For info, call Sound Garden at 473-4343; or OCC at 498-ARTS (2787).
Music educator retiring
After 35 years of showing students how to merge melody, harmony and rhythm, Liverpool High School music teacher Jim Spadafore will hang up his baton at the end of this school year.
A gifted musician who plays tenor saxophone and flute, Jim blew with abandon Saturday night, March 10, as part of the Stan Colella Orchestra. Sitting next to Spadafore in the reed section was David Carpenter, one of Jim’s former students at LHS. Carpenter’s now pursuing a dual degree at Syracuse University – music and pre-med!
Although Jim will be leaving the school system, here’s hoping that he’ll continue his free-lance music career here as a member both of the Colella outfit and with the Salt City Jazz Collective.
He’ll be in the sax section sitting next to his mentor, Joe Riposo, when the Collective counts off at 6 p.m. Wednesday, April 4, at Syracuse Suds Factory, 320 S. Clinton St., in Armory Square; 471-2253. Admission is free.
Thundering Herd May 23
One of Spadafore’s final performances at Liverpool High School will be at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 23, when he welcomes the Woody Herman Orchestra for the annual Jumpin’ Jazz Jam, at the high-school auditorium at 4340 Wetzel Road, in the town of Clay. The Herd is now led by saxophonist Frank Tiberi and will be augmented by guitarist-vocalist John Pizzarelli. Also performing will be the LHS Stage Band and the LHS Jazz Ensemble conducted by – who else? – Jim Spadafore. Admission costs $10 for adults, and $8 for students and seniors; 453-1500, ext. 4026.
Phish on Bonnaroo bill
Jamesville-DeWitt alum Jon Fishman’s back on the road with his namesake rock band, Phish.
In fact, Phish will be among the acts on the 2012 Bonnaroo lineup, along with Radiohead, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Bon Iver, the Beach Boys 50th Anniversary Tour, the Shins, the Avett Brothers, Alice Cooper and Bad Brains.
I don’t know about you, but I was extremely impressed with the DPW’s snow removal this year.
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