Mar 01, 2012 Russ Tarby Uncategorized
Drummer Vinnie Ludovico can play any style of music.
When I first got to know him in the late-1980s, I thought of him strictly as a rock’n’roller. After all, he hit the skins for the Masters of Reality, a hard rockin’ Syracuse quintet that signed with producer Rick Rubin’s renegade record label, Def American. Their self-titled disc – called “The Blue Garden” by some – turned out to be the all-time best rock record ever released by a CNY band, thanks in good part to Ludovico’s thunderous drumming.
But Vinnie has also played plenty of jazz in his varied career, from standards to hard bop. He has performed on commercial jingles and provided the backbeat for “Leader of the Banned,” a 1990 disc by the late comedian Sam Kinison.
In recent years, Vinnie has immersed himself in the Afro-Cuban sound, setting aside his trap set in favor of congas. He enjoys fusing island syncopations with the harmonic structures common to American jazz.
Vinnie reigns as Syracuse’s current King of Clave, the five-stroke pattern which regulates the heartbeat of many Caribbean rhythms.
Free show Sunday
Ludovico’s new combo, Moyuba Jazz, comes to Liverpool Public Library for a free concert at 2 p.m. Sunday, March 4, presented as part of the Arts Alive series. Moyuba Jazz features Ludovico, congas; Barry Blumenthal, piano; Mike Cortese, drums; Mike Dubaniewicz, woodwinds; and Darryl Pugh, bass.
The quintet’s repertoire ranges from “Midnight Mambo” by Oscar Hernandez to “Caravan” by Juan Tizol. Listeners will also hear a tune or two by jazz piano giants Thelonious Monk and Horace Silver. Moyuba’s pianist, Barry Bluemnthal, is especially qualified to interpret those past masters. Blumenthal’s credits include work with Tony Bennett, Aretha Franklin and the Blues Brothers Band.
Vinnie Ludovico has played congas with Manhattan musicians such as Dave Valentin, Michael Mossman, Cachete Maldonado and John Amira. He now teaches at Onondaga Community College where he directs the OCC Percussion Ensemble.
By the way, “Moyuba” is a Nigerian word that refers to prayers and incantations paying homage to past masters.
Though he wasn’t particularly revered during his lifetime in Elizabethan England, William Shakespeare has since been heralded as the greatest writer in the English language. His output included more than three dozen plays, from “Antony & Cleopatra” to “Romeo & Juliet,” plus 154 sonnets.
The Syracuse branch of the English-Speaking Union of the United States will host its 24th annual Shakespeare Competition from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, March 3, at Syracuse University’s Storch Theatre, 820 E. Genesee St. The public is invited to attend as students from 17 area high schools recite a monologue and sonnet hoping to join 60 other nationwide winners in New York City for ESU’s National Competition at the Lincoln Center in the spring. The National winner will attend a summer acting course at the British American Drama Academy in London.
“The purpose of the competition is to develop students’ understanding of Shakespeare and his universality,” said competition co-chairwoman Susan Jarosz. “The event also helps fulfill ESU’s worldwide mission of furthering friendship and understanding among all English-speaking peoples.”
This year’s competitors include Cho Cheung from Fowler High School, Kathleen Kennedy from Nottingham High School, Paige Gordon from Christian Brothers Academy and Emily Scholl from Westhill High School.
Judging Saturday’s Shakespeare competition will be Frank Fiumano, Celia Madeoy and Dan Tursi.
The Syracuse-based hard rock quartet Amerikan Primitive celebrated a CD-release party playing to a packed club on Feb. 10 at Club Fusion in North Syracuse. At the gig, the band sold nearly 100 copies of their 2011 CD “Dragstrip Courage,” now available at cdbaby.com.
“Dragstrip Courage” was ranked at 4.5 out of 5 stars by Melodic.net. The site’s reviewer, Jörgen Anderson, especially enjoyed the AC/DC-inspired song “Westside Highway.”
The Primitive features singer/guitarist Matt Pedzik, lead guitarist Sue Karlik, drummer Jeff Moleski and new bassist Jamus DePalma. (Tom “Cliff Diver” Bushnell holds down the bottom on the recording).
Hey, it’s already March and almost time for St. Patrick’s Day. They christened the green beer Sunday, Feb. 26, at Coleman’s Authentic Irish Pub on Tipperary Hill, and the big parade, established by the late Nancy Duffy, will draw a huge crowd downtown on Saturday, March 17.
Meanwhile a parade staple – the Syracuse Kiltie Band – is seeking new pipers and drummers. All ages are welcome. Call 464-0276.