Saturday, October 29, 2016

Dan Trudell | 2016 Chicago Jazz Festival

By TOM BOWSER


Day one of the 2016 Chicago Jazz Festival: Many people recognize Dan Trudell as a talented Hammond B3 organ player. The Hammond B3 organ is probably one of the most universally recognized organs currently used in music. You'll hear it in many types of music from rock to blues, jazz and gospel. Dan Trudell's other passion is playing the piano as part of the Dan Trudell Trio.

Dan Trudell playing piano at the 2016 Chicago Jazz Festival | Photograph by Tom Bowser

The show was held in the Claudia Cassidy Theater on the second floor of the stunning Chicago Cultural Center. The Claudia Cassidy Theater is small enough to make it feel intimate. The acoustics are fine if the music is not to loud. The show was sponsored by Chicago's DCASE (Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events). DCASE does a great job providing high quality events throughout the city of Chicago.

My wife and I were not disappointed. Dan Trudell is a talented pianist. Dan's experience playing the organ influences his piano playing style in ways that give him a unique and interesting sound as a pianist. His trio was tight, musical and fun to watch. One of my favorite moments from the show was his performance of the Ramsey Lewis Trio's tune "The In Crowd".

A few months prior to seeing the Dan Trudell Trio my wife and I attended a Chicago Lake FX event where the world famous jazz pianist Ramsey Lewis spoke. The event was also held in the Claudia Cassidy theater. During the conversation Ramsey Lewis stated he did not think white people could play jazz.

I guess Ramsey Lewis never heard Dan Trudell's version of "The In Crowd". I've been listening to jazz for over 40 years. What I heard Dan Trudell playing was jazz Ramsey! The large audience that had assembled for the Dan Trudell Trio responded with hardy, thankful applause. See Dan Trudell play the piano. You will enjoy it!

The Band:
Dan Trudell - piano
John Sims - bass
Matt Wilson - drums


Click on either of the two images below to view a larger version. The image of drummer Matt Wilson shows him putting his left foot on top of his snare drum. He is using the heal of his shoe to alter the tension on the head of his snare drum to change its pitch. Don't try that at home folks!

John Sims playing bass with Dan Trudell on piano at the 2016 Chicago Jazz Festival | Photograph by Tom Bowser John Sims playing bass with Dan Trudell on piano at the 2016 Chicago Jazz Festival | Photograph by Tom Bowser


Dan has a new CD called Dan Trudell Plays the Piano. It's worth the money. One of my favorite tunes from the CD is "I Let a Song Out of My Heart" featuring Joe Sanders & Matt Wilson. I've always enjoyed Ella Fitzgerald's version of the song. Dan Trudell and his Trio put a fresh face on an old classic.

As always, I apologize in advance for the lousy photographs. I'm not a professional photographer.





Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Theo Huff | 2016 Chicago Blues Festival Preview

By TOM BOWSER


Theo Huff and his band playing for the 2016 Chicago Blues Festival Preview event at Chicago's Daley Plaza | Photograph by Tom Bowser

Theo Huff performed at Daley Plaza in downtown Chicago as part of a series of FREE Chicago Blues Festival preview events. The Blues Festival preview events are a nice way to get a taste of some of Chicago's talented Blues bands and performers prior to the start of the Chicago Blues Festival. The events are generally held in smaller venues in the city of Chicago. Preview events have a laid back, family reunion feel to them. My wife and I enjoy going to the Blues Festival preview events every year. Click on any small image below to see a larger version.

Theo Huff and band at the 2016 Chicago Blues Festival Preview event at Chicago's Daley Plaza | Photograph by Tom Bowser Theo Huff works the crowd at the 2016 Chicago Blues Festival Preview event at Chicago's Daley Plaza | Photograph by Tom Bowser

Theo Huff grew up on the west side of Chicago. He is a singer, bandleader and occasionally works with Chicago's Black Ensemble Theater. Theo is good at connecting with his audience. He gets audience members involved during his performances by having people come up on stage or through playful banter during his strolls through the audience area. Theo is fun to watch and he does a great job making everyone feel welcome. Theo and his talented band have a sound, look and feel unique to Chicago! Buy Theo Huffs album The New Beginning from Amazon.com.

Theo Huff interacting with women in the crowd at the 2016 Chicago Blues Festival Preview event at Chicago's Daley Plaza | Photograph by Tom Bowser Theo Huff standing next to dancer on stage at the 2016 Chicago Blues Festival Preview event at Chicago's Daley Plaza | Photograph by Tom Bowser


The following video is Theo Huff singing "Soul Swing".




Monday, May 30, 2016

Toronzo Cannon | 2016 Chicago Blues Festival Preview

By TOM BOWSER


Toronzo Cannon performed in the Chicago Cultural Center as part of a series of FREE Chicago Blues Festival Preview Events.

I'm not originally from Chicago, but moved here with my wife a few years ago. I had never heard of nor seen Toronzo Cannon perform prior to this concert. It was a great show! The band was tight, professional and well rehearsed. Toronzo is not only a good guitar player, but a good performer who knows how to engage with his audience while he performs. For me a live show has to bring more than just a band playing music. I can put on a pair of headphones and listen to music at home if all I want to do is to listen to music. Toronzo Cannon and his band "bring it" with style.

Toronzo Cannon grew up in Chicago. The Chicago style and sound of blues undoubtedly flows through his veins. However, I detect the influence of two great non Chicago guitarists on Toronzo's guitar playing, For example, the tone of Toronzo's guitar and amp combination at this show were clearly influenced by the late, massively talented guitarist from the great state of Texas, Stevie Ray Vaughn.

Guitar enthusiasts will also note that Toronzo Cannon is left handed. The monumental Jimi Hendrix was also a left handed guitar player and you occasionally hear a bit of Jimi's influence on Toronzo's playing. The day of this show Toronzo played a white Fender Stratocaster intended for a right handed guitar player as did Jimi Hendrix on occasion. Like Jimi Hendrix, Toronzo had the guitar inverted with the headstock facing to his right. The headstock is the section at the end the guitar's neck where the tuning machines are installed. When a guitar designed for a right handed guitar player is normally held the guitar's headstock would point to the guitarists left hand side.

A white, Fender Stratocastor guitar, inverted as it would be held by a left handed guitar player.

Toward the end of the show Toronzo played a 2 part medley that combined a Jimi Hendrix song with the Muddy Waters song Hoochie Coochie Man. At one pont in the show Toronzo played a short guitar solo with his teeth just like Jimi Hendrix did during some of his shows. Toronzo's band was all about good music and fun.

My wife and I both noticed the diversity of people at the show. Black, white, brown, Asian, young and old from teenagers to people in their 70's and even 80's. Dancing, grooving, swaying to the rhythm of the blues. Blues music talks about life. It tells stories that we can all relate to in one way or another.

The following picture is NOT from the show my wife and I attended. I did NOT have my camera with me the day of the show. I did think it was a cool picture and included it because I like it. I would have listed the photographer's name, but I could not find any credits listed for the photo.

Toronzo Cannon on his knees while playing a Gibson, Les Paul guitar.

I'm NOT a writer, critic or photographer. Though I've worked professionally in the production side of music I am a music fan first and foremost. I only write about performers that I think are worth seeing from the perspective of an audience member. See Toronzo Cannon and his band. You will enjoy the show! Toronzo is currently now signed with Chicago based Alligator records.

My wife and I also attended the FREE Chicago Blues Festival preview event "Speakin’ of the Blues: Celebrating the 45th Anniversary of Alligator Records with Bruce Iglauer and Lil’ Ed". Bruce Iglauer is the founder of Chicago's Alligator Records. Lil' Ed is the front man and guitarist for Lil' Ed & The Blues Imperials. Lil' Ed appeared without The Blues Imperials and played a few solo songs using slide guitar. Great stuff! I now consider myself a "Little Ed Head". I'll write more about this event at a later time.

Toronzo Cannon will also be performing at this years Chicago Blues Festival (2016). The Chicago Blues Festival is presented by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE). The Chicago Blues Festival is currently the largest FREE blues festival in the world. The 2016 Chicago Blues Festival is June 10 to the 12th.

The Band:
Toronzo Cannon: guitar
Melvin "pookie styx" Carlisle: drums
Dave Forte "white chocolate": bass guitar
Luca Chiellini (direct from Italy): keyboards

Purchase Toronzo Cannon's latest CD entitled "The Chicago Way".



Both the Chicago Blues and The Chicago Jazz festivals are a lot of fun. I hope to see you there! Are you visiting or moving to Chicago? Go to InspiredChicago.com to learn about fun and often FREE things to do in Chicago.


Sunday, April 17, 2016

Corky Siegel | Blues | Chamber Monday Series

By TOM BOWSER


Corky Siegel perfomed as part of the Chamber Monday concerts series. Chamber Monday concerts are presented by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events. Chamber Monday concerts are Free of charge. They are held at 12:15 pm in the stunningly beautiful Preston Bradley Hall of the Chicago Cultural Center.

The Corky Siegel show was fantastic! Corky is an amazing entertainer as well as a talented musician. He is funny, charismatic and can still blow the roof off of any venue he plays his harmonica in. He had the entire audience captivated from the moment he began his show. Every note he played on his harmonica oozed the blues with an intensity that I've rarely seen before. At over 70 years old he plays the blues as good as anyone alive. My wife and I had a great time. You won't be disappointed if you attend a Corky Siegel show!

Chicago Blues musician Corky Siegel playing his harmonica during the Chamber Monday concert series in the Chicago Cultural Center | Photograph by Tom Bowser Chicago Blues musician Corky Siegel playing his harmonica during the Chamber Monday concert series in the Chicago Cultural Center | Photograph by Tom Bowser


Who is Corky Siegel?

Do you like listening to pop, rock, country music or heavy metal? Corky Siegel along with other Chicago Blues music legends like him helped to shape modern music as we know it today. What? Really? Corky began playing harmonica and blues music in the Chicago blues music scene during the 1960's. His playing and performance style is heavily influenced by Chicago area blues legends of the time including Muddy Waters, Charlie Musselwhite, Howlin Wolf, Buddy Guy, Eddie Boyd, Luther Allison, Junior Wells, James Cotton, Willie Dixon, Bo Diddley and many more.

One of Corky's early gigs was playing with guitarist Jim Schwall at a blues bar called Pepper's on the south side of Chicago. Blues greats like Muddy Waters, Howlin Wolf and others would occasionally sit in and play with them during their shows at Pepper's. Corky and Jim would eventually form the blues rock styled Siegel-Schwall Band. The fusion of blues and rock music became influential in the music of many American musicians and bands. Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, The Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, and many others were all heavily influenced by American blues music.

Bands coming to America from England during the 1960's through the 1970's were heavily influenced by American blues music coming out of Chicago at the time. British bands including The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, The Rolling Stones, The Who, Black Sabbath and Deep Purple infused American blues music into their sound. Listen to the guitar playing of David Gilmore of the band Pink Floyd, Eric Clapton, Keith Richards of The Rolling Stones or Tony Iommi of Black Sabbbath and you hear the influence of American blues on their style and sound.

Author Paul Merry has an interesting 2 part series of books that discuss the evolution of American blues music and it's influence on the the blues rock bands of both America and the UK. Read How Blues Evolved Volume One and How Blues Evolved Volume Two. These books are available as Kindle Edition ebooks. I believe they may also be available in a larger format paperback. Lots of cool, rare photos, interesting facts and information. Visit Paul's Blog to read interesting articles he's written about music.


Corky Siegel - Now and the Future

Corky Siegel keeps himself very busy. Corky performs as a soloist and as a member of the Siegel-Schwall Band. He has played as a soloist with internationally acclaimed symphony orchestras to include the New York Philharmonic and Chicago Symphony Orchestras. He is a composer and a teacher working with musicians at all levels to improve their understanding of music and their ability to create and perform it. Corky's project "Chamber Blues" is particularly interesting to me. He blends classical chamber music with his brand of American, Chicago styled blues music. What will Corky Siegal do next?? Visit Corky Music to learn more!






The 2016 Chicago Blues Festival is June 10 to the 12th. The 2016 Chicago Jazz Festival is September 1st through the fourth. My wife and I will be attending both festivals again this year. We will also be attending some of the preview events leading up to both festivals. I'll be posting pictures of some of the bands and musicians who perform.

Both the Chicago Blues and The Chicago Jazz festivals are a lot of fun. I hope to see you there! Are you visiting or moving to Chicago? Go to InspiredChicago.com to learn about fun things to do while you visit Chicago.


Wednesday, March 16, 2016

The George Fludas Trio | Chamber Monday Series

By TOM BOWSER


Free concerts are held every Monday at 12:15pm in Preston Bradley Hall of the Chicago Cultural Center located at 78 E. Washington Street in downtown Chicago. Chamber Monday concerts are presented by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events. Chamber Monday concerts are a great way to see some of the many talented Chicago area musicians for FREE.

The George Fludas Trio | George Fludas - drums - Dennis Carroll - bass - Ron Perrillo - piano - Photo by Tom Bowser


I listen to a lot of different types of music (Heavy Metal included when the mood strikes me). I've been listening to jazz music since the mid 70's. George Fludas is now one of my favorite jazz drummers I've seen perform. His attention to detail makes him rise above many drummers. When I see and hear George Fludas play the drums several words come to mind:
  1. finesse
  2. skill
  3. smooth
  4. style
Drummer George Fludas began playing drums professionally in the 80's and has played with an extensive list of jazz greats. Chicago Jazz Magazine has an interesting discussion with George Fludas covering everything from how he began playing to his musical influences and much more.

George Fludas and Dennis Carroll both also play in the nationally acclaimed Chicago Jazz Orchestra. The 17 member Chicago Jazz Orchestra performs the music of American legends Duke Ellington, George Gershwin, Count Basie, Dizzy Gillespie, Lionel Hampton and many others.

Ron Perrillo rounded out the trio's sound adding the melodic and harmonic richness on piano that only someone with his experience can provide. Ron is also an avid and talented nature photographer. Visit Ron Perrillo's Web site to see photographs he's taken of interesting animals you might not believe are thriving within the city of Chicago.

The George Fludas Trio for this event consisted of:



The following video features Benny Green, Ed Howard and George Fludas on drums at the 1996 Bern Jazz Festival in Switzerland. George Fludas performs a drum solo that demonstrates why I think he is a talented drummer. Enjoy!





The 2016 Chicago Blues Festival is June 10 to the 12th. The 2016 Chicago Jazz Festival is September 1st through the fourth. My wife and I will be attending both festivals again this year. We will also be attending some of the preview events leading up to both festivals. I'll be posting pictures of some of the bands and musicians who perform.

Both the Chicago Blues and The Chicago Jazz festivals are a lot of fun. I hope to see you there! Are you visiting or moving to Chicago? Go to InspiredChicago.com for ideas on fun things to do in Chicago.


Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Allant Trio | Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concerts

By TOM BOWSER


The free Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concerts are held every Wednesday at 12:15pm in Preston Bradley Hall of the Chicago Cultural Center. Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concerts are sponsored by the International Music Foundation. All Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concerts are broadcast live on WFMT Radio (98.7 FM). Arrive early as seats are limited.

If you've ever seen Mick Jagger of The Rolling Stones, Bono of U2 or David Lee Roth of Van Halen in concert you understand there is something that makes them unique as performers. It's the X factor and stage presence they bring to a performance that enables them to connect with and entertain an audience like no one else in their genre of music.

The women of the Allant Trio demonstrated technical prowess and a mastery of both their instruments and the music they performed. The Allant Trio had that illusive X factor and stage presence that made their performance rise above many other similar performers I've seen in this genre/style of music.

The Allant Trio | Beth Hyo Kyoung Nam - piano - Anna Park - violin - Alina Lim - cello - 
performing at the Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concert - photo by Tom Bowser

The Allant Trio | Beth Hyo Kyoung Nam - piano - Anna Park - violin - Alina Lim - cello - 
performing at the Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concert - Photograph by Tom Bowser

It was entertaining and exciting to watch the 3 woman of the Allant Trio interact. During "Give Me Phoenix Wings to Fly" they seemed to challenge each other, each one energetically driving the other. A quick glance around the room proved to me that other audience members were as mesmerized by the performance as my wife and I.

The Allant Trio is:
- Beth Hyo Kyoung Nam, piano
- Anna Park, violin
- Alina Lim, cello


The Allant Trio | Beth Hyo Kyoung Nam - piano - Anna Park - violin - Alina Lim - cello - 
performing at the Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concert - Photograph by Tom Bowser


The Allant Trio performed:
Give Me Phoenix Wings to Fly (4') by Kelly-Marie Murphy
- III.

Piano Trio No. 1 in D minor, Op. 49 (30') by Felix Mendelssohn
- I.    Molto allegro ed agitato
- II.   Andante con moto tranquillo
- III.  Scherzo: Leggiero e vivace
- IV.  Finale: Allegro assai appassionato

Selection from Miniatures for Piano Trio (3') by Frank Bridge
- No. 7 - Valse Russe



Thursday, January 14, 2016

Picosa | A musical Mosaic | Chamber Mondays Series

By TOM BOWSER


The free Chamber Mondays Series hosts an interesting variety of musicians and musical styles. Concerts are held every Monday at 12:15 pm in the breathtaking Preston Bradley Hall of the Chicago Cultural Center. Concerts are sponsored by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE). Chamber Monday concerts are a great lunch break if you work or attend school downtown. These concerts are also an excellent opportunity for music students to network, watch and learn from professional musicians.

Elizabeth Brausa BrathwaiT-Sara Sitzer-Joann Cho-Andrea DiOrio-Jennie Brown-Picosa-Chamber Mondays Concert Series - Chicago Cultural Center - Photo by Tom Bowser

Classical music needs to evolve in order to stay relevant and attract new, younger audiences. Ensembles like Picosa help expand the definition and perception of "classical" music. Picosa looks forward by choosing to play the works of contemporary composers using contemporary technologies. Picosa links the present and future with the past through it's performance of standard works composed by the "masters" of classical music. Visit PicosaMusic.com to learn more about Picosa.

Click the small images below to view a larger version.

Jeffrey Panko-Andrea DiOrio-Picosa-Chamber Mondays Concert Series - Chicago Cultural Center - Photo by Tom Bowser Elizabeth Brausa Brathwaite-Sara Sitzer-Joann Cho-Andrea DiOrio-Jennie Brown-Picosa-Chamber Mondays Concert Series - Chicago Cultural Center - Photo by Tom Bowser

Picosa played to a receptive and appreciative audience. Picosa's performances were well rehearsed and professionally presented (even though the room seemed unusually cold). I enjoyed the diversity of music they performed. It's always exciting to discover something new during my exploration of Chicago's music scene. Picosa performed works by a number of contemporary composers I had not previously heard of. Jonathon Kirks arrangement of Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun worked very nicely for the Picosa ensemble. My wife and I both enjoyed the concert. I highly recommend you schedule time to see a Picosa performance.

Elizabeth Brausa Brathwaite-Jeffrey Panko-Sara Sitzer-Picosa-Chamber Mondays Concert Series - Chicago Cultural Center - Photo by Tom Bowser


Mondays performance included a unique opportunity to hear flutist Jennie Brown perform "Wraith" accompanied by the composer Jonathon Kirk. Jonathon Kirk used contemporary digital effects technologies to interact and react in real time to Jennie Browns live, electronically modified flute performance. What makes this type of performance especially unique and interesting is it can never be performed exactly the same way twice. Cool! They both did a great job.

Click the image below to view a larger version.

Jennie Brown-Picosa-Chamber Mondays Concert Series - Chicago Cultural Center - Photo by Tom Bowser


Picosa:
  • Jennie Brown, flute
  • Andrea R. DiOrio, clarinet
  • Elizabeth Brausa Brathwaite, violin
  • Sara Sitzer, cello
  • Jeffrey Panko, piano
  • Joann Cho, piano
  • Jonathon Kirk, composer, electroncs


Picosa performed:

Hospital Suite for flute, clarinet, violin, cello, piano by Felipe Perez Santiago
- Vesiculobiliar
- Neurocardiogenico

Wraith for flute and electronics by Jonathon Kirk

Circulo, op. 91 for violin, cello, piano by Joaquin Turina
- Dawn
- Midday
- Dusk

Three Miniatures for clarinet and piano by Krzysztof Penderecki
- Allegro
- Andante cantabile
- Allegro ma non troppo

Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun for flute, clarinet, violin, cello, piano by Claude Debussy. Arranged by Jonathon Kirk.




Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Chicago Chamber Musicians Ensemble | Chamber Monday Series

By TOM BOWSER


This concert was another example of the many excellent free events sponsored by the City of Chicago through the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE). Chamber Monday Series concerts are held in the stunning Preston Bradley Hall in the Chicago Cultural Center every Monday at 12:15 pm.

Chamber Monday Series concerts are 45 minutes long. This makes them the perfect mid day break. If you're not able to stay for the entire show you can quietly leave when you need to. My wife and I often meet at these concerts during our lunch hour. We also occasionally schedule a day off during the week to attend Chamber Monday Series concerts. It's convenient to combine a free concert with lunch and any shopping we might need to do downtown.

The Chicago Chamber Musicians Ensemble perform the Brahms String Quartet in B Flat Major Op. 67 at the Chamber Monday Series concert in the Chicago Cultural Center | photo by Tom Bowser

What did you miss if you were not at the show?? Wow! What a fantastic performance! The Chicago Chamber Musicians Ensemble for this event consisted of musicians who are currently or have previously played with the world class Chicago Symphony Orchestra. For example, violinist Robert Chen is currently the "concertmaster" for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. The concertmaster would be considered one of the most important and talented people in an orchestra. My wife and I were sitting approximately 50 feet from the musicians. Comparable seats to see the Chicago Symphony Orchestra perform would easily cost well over $100.00 per ticket, per person.

This was the first time I had ever seen the Brahms-String Quartet No. 3 performed. I found it to be an energetic and uplifting composition. The viola was nicely showcased in this composition. Professional classical musicians impress me with their precision, attention to detail and ability to infuse emotion into each passage they play. I always enjoy watching the interaction between professional string players as they perform. Communication between the players takes place at many levels.

Live music is very special. No recording or video captures a live performance perfectly or completely. You have to be there.


The Chicago Chamber Musicians Ensemble for this performance was:

- Jasmine Lin, violin
- Robert Chen, violin
- Anthony Devroye, viola
- Kenneth Olsen, cello


Learn more about upcoming performances of the Chicago Chamber Musicians Ensemble at the (CCME) website. Tickets are reasonably priced especially when you consider the world class musicians you will see and hear. Learn more about other great free events and things to do in Chicago at InspiredChicago.com.

The Chicago Chamber Musicians Ensemble perform the Brahms String Quartet in B Flat Major Op. 67 at the Chamber Monday Series concert in the Chicago Cultural Center in Chicago | photo by Tom Bowser


The Chicago Chamber Musicians Ensemble performed:


String Quartet in B Flat Major Op. 67 composed by Johannes Brahms
- Vivace
- Andante
- Agitato (Allegretto non troppo)
- Poco Allegretto con Variazioni





Saturday, January 2, 2016

Jessica Smith and Xuan He | Musicians Club of Women

By TOM BOWSER


Award Winners In Concert is sponsored by The Musicians Club of Women with performances scheduled during the Chamber Mondays Concert Series. Concerts are 45 minutes long and held the fourth Monday of each month at 12:15 pm. These free concerts are a great lunch hour event if you work or attend school downtown. My wife and I often meet for lunch and then walk back to work when the concert finishes. It's a refreshing break during a busy day. Got kids that are old enough to sit quietly and attentively through a 45 minute concert? Schedule a Monday off from work and school to bring the kids.

The Musicians Club of Women (MCW) helps to support and develop the careers of women musicians. MCW offers women musicians performance opportunities and financial support through scholarships. Show women musicians your support by attending Award Winners In Concert series performances. The Musicians Club of Women also sponsors free concerts on the first Friday of each month, September through June, at 12:10 pm at the beautiful Fourth Presbyterian Church located at 126 E. Chestnut Street (at North Michigan Ave) in Chicago.

Learn more about other great free events happening in Chicago at InspiredChicago.com

Jessica Smith and Xuan He | Musicians Club of Women | Chamber Monday Concert Series - photo by Tom Bowser

Jessica Smith and Xuan He

My main exposure to the clarinet has been while listening to the big band jazz music of Woody Herman and Benny Goodman. Jessica reminded me what a beautiful voice the clarinet has when used in other types of music. I enjoyed the music she selected for the concert especially the beautiful piece by Claude Debussy. I love the music of Leonard Bernstein. Jessica and Xuan's performance introduced me to the works of composers Paul Harvey and Carl Maria von Weber.

Jessica played passionately and demonstrated her technical prowess especially while playing Grand Duo Concertant, Op 48. Jessica and Xuan played well together as an ensemble. I liked Xuan's sensitivity as an accompanist. His playing never got in the way or overpowered Jessica's solo work. Piano can become loud in Preston Bradley Hall with it's many hard, reflective surfaces. Xuan's playing was never to loud for the room as is sometimes the case.


Jessica and Xuan performed:


- Sonata for Clarinet and Piano by Leonard Bernstein
I.  Grazioso
II. Andantino - Vivace e leggiero

- Premiere rhapsodie by Claude Debussy

- Three Etudes on Themes of Gershwin by Paul Harvey (NOT the radio broadcaster)
I.   I Got Rhythm
III. It Ain't Necessarily So

- Grand Duo Concertant, Op 48 by Carl Maria von Weber
I.   Allegro con fuoco
II.  Andante con moto
III. Rondo