Posts Tagged ‘Athens’

Festival Fever: Athens Street Festival, 7/13/13

Thursday, July 11th, 2013
Antigone Rising

Antigone Rising

According to their Facebook page, “The Athens Street Festival began in 1974 with a parade and one guy selling socks.”

My, how things have changed…

The 39th annual Athens Street Festival will keep things hopping in high gear in Athens on Saturday, July 13, but the fest actually starts at 7pm the previous evening (Friday, July 12) with a performance in the park by country band Peaceful Country.

On the Saturday, the festivities begin at 10am and features include a parade at 11am, as well as fest-closing fireworks at 9:45pm. Inbetween, you’ll find carnival rides, a classic car show, demonstrations of cooking, wood turning, dance and martial arts, as well as more than 150 vendor booths selling art, crafts, food, specialty items and more.

And, of course, there will be music – lots of music on three different stages throughout the fest, including headlining performances by the soulful Solid Smoke and the all-female rockers Antigone Rising.

Here’s the complete schedule of musical performances at this year’s Athens Street Festival:

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Five Firsts: Jerry Marotta of David Malachowski & the Woodstock Allstars

Thursday, June 20th, 2013
Jerry Marotta

Jerry Marotta

NAME: Jerry Marotta
BAND AFFILIATION: court appointed drummer
INSTRUMENT: drums

1. THE FIRST ALBUM I EVER BOUGHT WAS … Jimi Hendrix’s Electric Ladyland

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Real Good for FREE: The Athens Summer Concert Series

Monday, June 17th, 2013

The Athens Summer Concert Series is back again for another batch of excellent free shows in Athens’ Riverfront Park.

All concerts are scheduled to take place at 7pm on Fridays, and the series will kick off with the annual performance by David Malachowski & the Woodstock Allstars on Friday (June 21).

Here’s the schedule of shows for Athens Summer Concert Series all summer long:

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LIVE: Paul Kogut, Francois Moutin & Ari Hoenig @ Athens Cultural Center, 5/4/13

Thursday, May 9th, 2013
Paul Kogut, Francois Moutin and Ari Hoenig

Paul Kogut, Francois Moutin and Ari Hoenig

Review by J Hunter
Photographs by Rudy Lu

As I move along in life, I occasionally (and, I admit, morbidly) think about what timeless saying I’d like carved on my tombstone. I’ve considered song lyrics, movie lines, poetry and various iterations of Shakespeare. However, the latest entry on my executor’s to-do list was part of the marvelous long-form “gang interview” that is the Q&A section of Planet Arts’ Jazz one2one concert series – in this case, from guitarist/upstate NY native Paul Kogut: “Music is not a thing you perfect… It’s a monster you let out of the box and see where it goes!”

Aside from the over-all outstanding-ness of that statement, it also sums up the outlook of Kogut’s partners for the evening, bassist Francois Moutin and drummer Ari Hoenig. Now, they were at ACC because George Mraz and Lewis Nash – the rhythm section on Kogut’s latest Blujazz release Turn of Phrase – couldn’t make the gig. But don’t even think about shoehorning Moutin and Hoenig into a “substitute” category. These are two of the best musicians on the scene today: Aside from their various solo and sideman gigs, they’re part of the mammoth improvisation machine Pilc Moutin Hoenig (the “Pilc” being pianist Jean-Michel Pilc, who Moutin met while attending university in Paris), whose astounding disc Threedom was one of my Top 10 Jazz Releases of 2011. If anyone could help Kogut get the aforementioned monster roaming around for Jazz one2one’s last show of the season, these were the guys to do it.

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LIVE: Bopjuice @ Athens Cultural Center, 3/23/13

Wednesday, March 27th, 2013
Ralph Lalama

Ralph Lalama

Review and photographs by J Hunter

I vacillate between amusement and frustration whenever someone asks, “Is jazz dead?” Because my serious answer involves slapping the questioner upside the head, I tend to go with a funny answer. (“Well, if it is, then that explains all these zombies running around thirsting for Wynton Marsalis’ brain!”) Ralph Lalama didn’t slap anybody during the pre-show Q&A at Athens Cultural Center, but he certainly was serious when someone brought up the question people have been asking since time unmentionable. “The bottom line is jazz is about improvisation,” he asserted, getting up from where he’d been sitting for the free-ranging 45-minute session. “I don’t care what style you play! As long as you’re telling a story, jazz will never die!”

The fact that the veteran tenorman bears more than a passing resemblance to Mark Twain makes his comment about jazz as storytelling all the more apt. Lalama’s longtime trio Bopjuice has been playing together for a couple of decades now, but Live at Smalls (smallsLIVE) is their first recorded effort. And while there are two Lalama originals in the red-hot set, there are also classics from icons like Wayne Shorter, Lester Young and (of course) Thad Jones. So the trick is not tell those stories as they’ve been told before, but to tell them in a way others might never have thought of. Ralph Lalama is a master of that trick, and he brought two players to Athens that are just as adept.

Young’s “Love Letters” is somewhere in the middle of Live at Smalls, but Lalama called the mid-tempo ballad to open up the musical side of the evening. Lalama was un-mic’d, which is the best way to see him, because he is completely unbound, and he stood to the left of drummer Clifford Barbaro’s kit throwing out line after line of lyrics – and I do mean “lyrics.” Everything he played made sense, one point following the other, making the solo less about the chops and more about the story. And while this was Young’s story, Lalama was definitely telling it his way.

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LIVE: Ben Allison’s Jim Hall Project @ Athens Cultural Center, 9/29/12

Thursday, October 4th, 2012
Ben Allison, Ted Nash and Steve Cardenas

Ben Allison, Ted Nash and Steve Cardenas

Review by J Hunter
Photographs by Rudy Lu

At the Millenial Territory Orchestra’s rocking Lake George show a couple of weeks ago, MTO leader Steven Bernstein talked about “the true jazz experience” – which, as Bernstein defined it, was “doing something we don’t quite know!” Ben Allison was the bass player on that date, and two weeks later, he demonstrated Bernstein’s definition in a Planet Arts Jazz one2one concert at the Athens Cultural Center, where Allison debuted his latest endeavor: The Jim Hall Project.

This isn’t the first time Allison has explored the work of an artist from another generation. During Jazz one2one’s latest, lively-as-always pre-show Q&A, Allison spoke reverently about his earlier examination of the late pianist Herbie Nichols – an examination that will be momentarily revived this November during the Jazz Composers Collective’s 20th-anniversary festival at the NYC club Jazz Standard. But here’s the thing: Allison is one of the most prolific (and one of the most interesting) composers in the genre today, so he doesn’t have to use other people’s music to flesh out whatever he’s doing at the time. However, to listen to Allison talk about Jim Hall (a hollow-body guitar icon with 60 years of recordings, as both leader and sideman) was to listen to someone who’d found out he was also examining himself.

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LIVE: David Malachowski & the Woodstock Allstars @ Athens Riverfront Park, 7/20/12

Thursday, July 26th, 2012
David Malachowski

David Malachowski

Review and photographs by Lindsay Malachowski

The night didn’t start well. Five hours before the event the rain came through. Ordinarily a little rain wouldn’t have hurt anything. But this was an outdoor show. The stage sat near the water, and while it was covered, there would be no shelter for those watching the performance. The only alternate location, the Stewart House, had been ravaged and destroyed by the flood waters of Hurricane Irene and was currently closed.

Two hours before the event one of the keyboard players Daniel A. Weiss called. He had thrown out his back the night before and would not be able to make it.

One hour before the gig the concert promoter called and said that there had been a mix-up with the dates. There was no sound man available. This was a problem, since most of the band members were already at the venue or on their way from out of town or out of state. Concert-goers were already showing up. The promoter insisted they cancel the concert immediately.

This is how the night started out for the members of David Malachowski & the Woodstock Allstars and their only scheduled show for 2012 at the Athens Riverfront Park in Athens.

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Five Firsts: Pete Levin of David Malachowski & the Woodstock Allstars

Tuesday, July 17th, 2012
Pete Levin

Pete Levin

NAME: Pete Levin
BAND AFFILIATION: David Malachowski & the Woodstock Allstars, Uncle Funk, Python Soup, more
INSTRUMENT: Keyboards

1. THE FIRST ALBUM I EVER BOUGHT WAS … Oscar Pettiford & Julius Watkins. A 10″ LP. I don’t remember the title.

2. THE FIRST CONCERT I EVER SAW WAS … Not sure. I think the Mitchell-Ruff Duo. (Bass & French Horn) They came to my school.

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