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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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Live Review: Shooter Jennings

January 28, 2014
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Live Review: Shooter Jennings

Cancun Cantina West is a country disco in Hagerstown with black lights and tanned twenty­somethings twirling on the bar tops. The waitresses walking around with whistles and trays of shots reminded me of Tijuana, that other southern mecca of sun and sleaze. I frequented TJ during my brief stint as a San Diegan, but...
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Live Review: All-Star Tribute to Gene Clark at Floristree

January 24, 2014
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Live Review: All-Star Tribute to Gene Clark at Floristree

After last year’s gig at the Lyric, we didn’t think we’d ever see Beach House perform in a warehouse space like Floristree again, so we were psyched when they announced a show there, part of a small tour with musicians from Fleet Foxes, Grizzly Bear, Lower Dens, Celebration, Wye Oak, and more. They had...
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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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Live review: John Fogerty at the Lyric

November 7, 2013
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Live review: John Fogerty at the Lyric

In an interview with The Washington Post last week, John Fogerty said this of his days at the helm of the pioneering ’60s and ’70s swamp rock band Creedence Clearwater Revival: “I was sort of an unstoppable force.” He was talking about the CCR’s creative efficiency in its six-year stretch. But seeing him work...
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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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Live review: Pearl Jam at the Baltimore Arena

October 28, 2013
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Live review: Pearl Jam at the Baltimore Arena

It seemed unlikely that threads of rock ‘n roll history as disparate as Fugazi and Ted Nugent could be tied together neatly in one show, but they were on Sunday night at the Baltimore Arena, at the first Charm City date in Pearl Jam’s 23-year history. The first thread came, not with tributes to...
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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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Live Review: Neutral Milk Hotel at 2640 Space

October 12, 2013
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Live Review: Neutral Milk Hotel at 2640 Space

It started much as it had ended in 2011: Jeff Mangum on the stage of the 2640 Space, an acoustic guitar, and a mic. His hair was a little longer this time, and he sported a long, scruffy beard that suggested he might not have shaven in that two year span. He strummed the...
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Bit Gen Gamer Fest goes old school

August 14, 2013
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Bit Gen Gamer Fest goes old school

As thousands of anime fans flocked to the Baltimore Convention Center last Saturday afternoon for Otakon, another equally eccentric homage to nerd culture was being held 10 blocks away at Rams Head Live. Bit Gen Gamer Fest is Baltimore’s one-day festival dedicated to gaming and the burgeoning sub genre of video game inspired music....
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Live Review: Jay-Z and Justin Timberlake

August 9, 2013
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Live Review: Jay-Z and Justin Timberlake

It was just Baltimore’s luck that Thursday, the first day the city would host an all-too-rare stadium concert in years, would be plagued by foreboding clouds and occasional rain. But things had finally cleared up, for the most part, by the time Jay-Z and Justin Timberlake arrived onstage at M&T Bank Stadium for their...
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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: Woods and Parquet Courts at Ottobar

July 26, 2013
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Live Review: Woods and Parquet Courts at Ottobar

“As nice as this is,” sings Woods frontman Jeremy Earl, “is it honest?” It’s not the kind of question you’re used to hearing at the Ottobar, where the band played last night with tourmates Parquet Court (pictured), and which, as a rule, does not advertise itself as a forum for earnest inquiries into the...
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