LIVE: Michele Rosewoman’s New Yor-Uba @ The Egg, 3/21/15

April 13th, 2015, 4:00 pm by Greg

Michele Rosewoman

Photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk

Following her magnificent 2013 performance at Lake George’s Jazz at the Lake festival in celebration of the release of 2-CD set 30 Years: A Musical Celebration of Cuba in America, pianist-composer Michele Rosewoman brought her New Yor-Uba band back to Nippertown for another brilliant concert at The Egg in Albany last month.

With her 11-piece New Yor-Uba band – including Schenectady native and former UAlbany student Gregg August on bass – Rosewoman blended modern jazz, sophisticated funk, dynamic electric fusion with distinctive elements of Cuban folkloric music to create a unique and electrifying musical experience for all.

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BEST OF 2013: J Hunter’s Best Jazz Albums, Part I

December 16th, 2013, 4:00 pm by Greg

By J Hunter

One of the “problems” with doing this thing on the radio – “Jazz2K” is also broadcast from 6-8pm on Tuesdays on WSPN (91.1FM), including this Tuesday’s (December 17) Best of 2013 edition – is that I have 60 or 70 discs to consider instead of 20 or 30. Whoever said, “Be careful what you wish for…” had a good point. Anyway, with the brand-new chainsaw I got for our anniversary (Thanks, honey! Love ya bunches!), I was able to cut the pile down to a Top 10 and eight outstanding “Honorable Mentions.” Let’s get the Honorables out of the way first – mainly because I need to get those bowling trophies off the mantle so we can hang the Festivus decorations:

Their performance at Freihofer’s felt like Saturday night during Mardi Gras, as opposed to the “jazz funerals” they’ve staged in the past. And it’s all thanks to That’s It, Preservation Hall’s first-ever all-originals release. Maybe My Morning Jacket’s Jim James produced the session, but there’s an Old School echo to the 11 studio tracks that makes them seem like gems from NOLA’s marvelously shady past. Even live takes on “Oh Liza” and “Tootie Ma is a Big Fine Thing” jump around like newborn colts. This righteous set is Preservation Hall’s message to “modern” marchers like Rebirth and Dirty Dozen: “Pump the brakes, youngsters! We ain’t dead YET!”

CLIFF HINESWanderlust (Self-released)
Some members of Preservation Hall have ties that are older than this fellow Big Easy resident. That said, multi-instrumentalist Cliff Hines really gets his his Marco Benevento on, with an eclectic assortment of musical styles and cinematic takes on everything from Tehran’s Green Revolution and the Fukushima meltdown to the firebombing of Dresden in World War II. Bewitching vocalist Sasha Masakowski is the not-so-secret weapon in this intricate tapestry, as Hines plays Second Line one moment, Indian raga the next, and quotes William Burroughs’ “Naked Lunch” while mashing up jazz and thrash. Wanderlust is truly addictive. More, please!

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A Few Minutes With… Michele Rosewoman

September 11th, 2013, 2:00 pm by Greg

Interview and story by J Hunter

It’s not a rare thing to live your dream. Depending on the dream and the person dreaming it, it happens every day. But how many people get to live that dream for three decades – and then get the chance to share that dream with the rest of the world?

Pianist Michele Rosewoman had a dream: To build a band big enough and talented enough to present Cuban music in a way that truly exposed its roots – both spiritual and international. That band was New Yor-Uba, and it’s been doing the job for 30 beautiful years. The group has toured the world, so it’s not just New Yorkers who’ve had the pleasure of seeing Rosewoman’s creation. But now, thanks to (one more) successful Kickstarter campaign New Yor-Uba gets to find the people who couldn’t make it to the shows with her new double-CD 30 Years: A Celebration of Cuba in America.

Alumni of New Yor-Uba include jazz stalwarts like Rufus Reid and John Stubblefield. And you might know some of the names in the current 12-piece unit; in the case of multi-instrumentalist Howard Johnson and conguero Pedrito Martinez, you might have seen them play somewhere in Greater Nippertown. But even if you knew none of the names and knew nothing about Cuban music, the light, the fire, the beauty and the spirituality that radiates from each piece on the two-disc set would still touch your heart and soul.

30 Years was released on Tuesday (September 10), and the big “drop party” to celebrate the double-disc just happens in the middle of Jazz at the Lake 2013’s Saturday afternoon show (September 14) at Lake George’s Shepard Park. Rosewoman took time out from preparing for that show to answer a few questions for Nippertown:

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