performance review

Performance review: 2014 Chicago Blues Festival

Jul 10, 2014
Photo courtesy of Ben Payton

The 31st Annual Chicago Blues Fest, this year sub-titled “Blues by the Lake”, was the weekend of June 13-15 in Grant Park. The panoramic  views from this Lakefront park are extraordinary—Lake Michigan, Buckingham Fountain, and the magnificent Chicago Skyline to the north and west.

Dave Mason at the Soiled Dove Underground, Denver, April 22, 2014

   Billed as “Dave Mason’s Traffic Jam,” Mason’s current tour is keeping the music of Traffic alive and well. Mason only stuck around for the first two Traffic albums, but he wrote some key songs and, besides, there’s only one other member of Traffic left; Steve Winwood. And certainly Winwood had a much bigger influence on Traffic than Mason did. But Traffic was one of the greatest rock bands of the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, so maintaining that legacy is unquestionably a worthy venture.

Helen Sung

April 9, 2014

Jazz @ Jack’s, Denver

   Astaire and Rogers; Bogart and Bacall; Sponge Bob and Patrick…The entertainment world is full of classic pairings. Wednesday night’s classic pairing was jazz and craft beer. Dropped in the middle of the 2014 Craft Brewers Conference in Denver, pianist Helen Sung, affiliated with North Coast Brewing Company, put together a virtuoso quintet to match the virtuoso beer on tap.

          

Muddy Waters, arguably one of the most influential bluesmen ever, passed away in 1983. His son, William Morganfield a/k/a Big Bill Morganfield has taken up the torch and has been carrying on the Morganfield blues line for many years and last Sunday he brought some gritty Chicago blues to Colorado for a Sunday afternoon show. (Blues Before Sunset!)

Some key facts about St. Vincent:

1. St. Vincent is female.

2. Her real name is Annie Clark.

3. She’s a pretty flipped out chick.

4. But in a good way.

In her concert appearance Saturday night, she displayed a wide array of rock styles, focusing mostly on the “Art Rock” or “Progressive Rock” genres. She follows in the path of prior purveyors of this sort of music/performance, Laurie Anderson, Tori Amos, Kate Bush, Peter Gabriel and others. Yet she borrowed from other styles as well.

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