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SXSW Postscript: Soul Survives

March 28, 2014
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SXSW Postscript: Soul Survives

In the wake of the Dap-Tones’ triumphs with both Sharon Jones and Amy Winehouse, not to mention the related success by Adele, Charles Bradley, Aloe Blacc and Joss Stone, the retro-soul movement has gathered considerable momentum. So it was no surprise to encounter plenty of old-school R&B artists—both young and old—at this year’s South...
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CP at SXSW: San Fermin blend contemporary art music and Brooklyn indie-rock

March 17, 2014
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CP at SXSW: San Fermin blend contemporary art music and Brooklyn indie-rock

The South by Southwest Music Conference does a pretty good job of incorporating other genres into its rockcentric extravaganza; in recent years hip-hop and worldbeat especially have become major presences. But the conference has never quite known what to do with jazz. They always showcase a few jazz shows at the Elephant Room, but...
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CP at SXSW: Tinariwen brings west African campfire to Austin

March 17, 2014
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CP at SXSW: Tinariwen brings west African campfire to Austin

A lot of bands at South by Southwest go to great lengths to appear strange and exotic. The great Malian band Tinariwen outdid them all without even trying. Tinariwen launched the desert-rock movement by electrifying the Tuareg tribe’s traditional folk music in the 1980s and by reaching out to European audiences with recordings and...
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SXSW: The Case Against 8

March 12, 2014
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SXSW: The Case Against 8

One of the best films at last year’s South by Southwest Conference was Good Ol’ Freda, the story of the Beatles’ secretary Freda Kelly. Ryan White directed that film, at the behest of his aunt, the movie’s Catonsville producer Kathy McCabe, during a lull in the making of another picture. That film, The Case...
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SXSW: Fresh Pulp

March 11, 2014
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SXSW: Fresh Pulp

When the Britpop movement came to the fore in the 1990s, the battle for supremacy was cast as a contest between Blur and Oasis—Blur’s Damon Albarn looking at England through college lenses or Oasis’s Noel Gallagher looking at the nation through pub mugs. But the correct answer was: none of the above. The Britpop...
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SXSW: Ethan Hawke blows up in Predestination

March 10, 2014
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SXSW: Ethan Hawke blows up in Predestination

After the first-ever public screening of the movie Predestination, star Ethan Hawke stood on stage at Austin’s Paramount Theatre Saturday night and explained his enthusiasm for time-travel movies like the one we had just seen to the South by Southwest Film Conference audience. “It’s a genre where you can speak about challenging ideas without...
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The Todd Marcus Jazz Orchestra Plays An Die Musik

January 20, 2014
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Over this past Friday, Saturday and Sunday, the Todd Marcus Jazz Orchestra gave concerts in New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington to prepare for Monday’s recording of a new album, Blues for Tahrir. It was a smart way to road test the material before committing it to a hard drive. Saturday’s show at An...
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Live Review: Warren Wolf and Christian McBride

January 6, 2014
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Live Review: Warren Wolf and Christian McBride

When a visiting jazz star says nice things about the local musicians he’s playing with, that doesn’t mean much; he’s just being polite. But when that star breaks into a spontaneous grin during the locals’ solos, that does tell you something. That happened again and again when poll-topping bassist Christian McBride played with Baltimore’s...
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Music Review: The BSO’s War Requiem

November 15, 2013
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Music Review: The BSO’s War Requiem

A live performance, of course, always offers something you can’t get from a recording, but that’s especially true of Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem, for in this piece, geography plays a crucial role. When the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra performed this piece Thursday, conductor Marin Alsop, in her black uniform with fuschia cuffs, stood on the...
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Live Review: Lucero at Baltimore Soundstage

November 8, 2013
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Live Review: Lucero at Baltimore Soundstage

“You were 16 when you fell in love,” Ben Nichols sang at the Baltimore Soundstage Thursday night. “No one told you it won’t be enough.” Nichols, Lucero’s 39-year-old lead singer and chief songwriter, was there to tell you. Wearing a shapeless white T-shirt, a faded green baseball cap, a jaw covered in stubble and...
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Neko Case lets loose at the Lincoln Theatre

October 31, 2013
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Neko Case lets loose at the Lincoln Theatre

Neko Case has long had one of the best voices in pop music, but it wasn’t until this year’s album with the unwieldy title, The Worse Things Get, the Harder I Fight, the Harder I Fight, the More I Love You, that she had written songs as deep and complicated as that voice. She...
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Lionel Loueke at the Hopkins Club

October 22, 2013
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Lionel Loueke at the Hopkins Club

Most attempts at forging fusions between jazz and third-world music founder because one party (sometimes both) doesn’t understand the other—or, even worse, think they do and impose their misunderstanding on the collaboration. The concert by the Lionel Loueke Trio at the Hopkins Club Saturday night was a welcome exception, because Loueke is a one-man...
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Live Review: Janelle Monae at the Lincoln Theatre

October 15, 2013
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Live Review: Janelle Monae at the Lincoln Theatre

Janelle Monae has set her debut EP and two subsequent albums in the year 2719, where her alter ego Cindi Mayweather is on the run from the Metropolis police. But like George Orwell’s, Monae’s vision of the future is really set in 1984. That’s the year that Michael Jackson and Prince battled for supremacy...
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Stage Review: Argonne at Annex Theater

September 6, 2013
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Stage Review: Argonne at Annex Theater

ARGONNE By Kaitlin Murphy and Evan Moritz Through September 9 at the Annex Theater The Annex Theater is a low-budget operation. That’s reflected in the group’s inexpensive sets, uncomfortable seats, and under-rehearsed performers. This can lead to underwhelming productions, but it doesn’t have to. This past February, for example, the Annex put on a...
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Steve Coleman dominates day two of Newport Jazz Festival with double set

August 5, 2013
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Steve Coleman dominates day two of Newport Jazz Festival with double set

Though they’re not related biologically, Steve Coleman is Ornette Coleman’s heir. More than just a last name and an instrument (alto sax), they share an approach. They both favor short, squiggly phrases that fuse catchy blues melodies to syncopated rhythms, phrases that can be infinitely altered via small adjustments and which encourage simultaneous improvising...
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Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Bill Charlap highlight day one at Newport Jazz Fest

August 4, 2013
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Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Bill Charlap highlight day one at Newport Jazz Fest

This year’s Newport Jazz Festival began Friday night at the International Tennis Hall of Fame, the festival’s original home in 1954. The wealthy sponsors who buy the expensive tickets come in high fashion, more interested in being seen than in listening to the music, and they chattered throughout the concert. It was unfortunate because...
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Live Review: Bob Dylan, Wilco, and My Morning Jacket

July 24, 2013
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Live Review: Bob Dylan, Wilco, and My Morning Jacket

To understand why My Morning Jacket is the most overrated band in modern rock, one had only to hear their attempt to recreate the Band’s arrangement of the Marvin Gaye song, “Don’t Do It,” at the Americanarama Festival at Merriweather Post Pavilion Tuesday. Jim James’ blaring, unfocused guitar noodling made him, if not the...
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Tonight at Joe Squared: Morning in Glen Burnie

July 24, 2013
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Tonight at Joe Squared: Morning in Glen Burnie

Tom McBride didn’t grow up in Maryland, but his dad did, and that’s why the son’s third album is called Morning in Glen Burnie.  The title track imagines the father at the same age the son is now, a twenty-something torn between hitchhiking out west and staying home to work at Bethlehem Steel or...
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Theater Review: The Beaux’ Strategem at the Everyman

June 21, 2013
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Theater Review: The Beaux’ Strategem at the Everyman

THE BEAUX’ STRATAGEM By George Farquhar, Thornton Wilder and Ken Ludwig Through June 30 at the Everyman Theatre Jack Archer, the leading character in The Beaux’ Stratagem, has a habit of stepping out of the action, strolling to the front of the stage and talking to us in the audience about the show we’re...
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Chick Corea gets intimate at Hopkins

May 22, 2013
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Chick Corea gets intimate at Hopkins

“I want to take you into my practice room,” Chick Corea told the audience at the Hopkins Club on the Johns Hopkins University campus Monday night. He wanted to take us away from the big stages where he performs on a battery of electric and acoustic keyboards with Return to Forever or his other...
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