Louisiana Supergroup The Revelers brought their musical joie de vivre to Denver and they had audience members clapping, singing and dancing throughout both their sets.
Photos courtesy of H. Talmadge / Baur's Listening Lounge / The Music Appreciation Society
From the moment Louisiana supergroup The Revelers opened their June 28 set at Baur’s Listening Lounge, people danced. Smiling couples twirled to the rhythm and melodies of the opening song, which was solid, while those seated couldn’t help but sway, clap and stamp their feet. The masterful musicians barely gave pause between songs. As one song ended and dancers moved towards their seats, the next song began, sweeping them back up into the music where they continued to dance through both sets.
Each song felt perfectly crafted. Each of the players had their turn in carrying melodies on their respective instruments and they were fully supported by the rest of the band. For example, during the band’s second tune, Daniel Coolik (violin) responded to the main verses just as if he was singing with his instrument. Then, in a show that seemed to prove that there is no one leader of the band, the rest of the players joined in, accentuating by way of support, a kind of instrumental chorus; Blake Miller (accordion, violin) and The Chris Miller (saxophone) joined in first, and then the rest of the players; Chas Justus (guitar), Glenn Fields (drums) and Eric Frey (bass) together created what felt like a rhythmic wall of sound.
Many other songs were like this, as well. The musicians took turns with their individual instruments and voices in the spotlight while their bandmates added sounds in layers over two-steps, waltzes, zydeco, the blues and more. At times, the players even did a little dancing of their own; they synchronized their steps during choruses and they swayed together in time while giving their full attention to soloists. It wasn’t hard to tell that The Revelers were having fun.
The Revelers performed songs from their three self-released titles; their debut self-titled album, theirPlay the Swamp Pop Classics EP and their brand spankin’ new release Get Ready. Both sets included original compositions by the band as well as their special treatments of covers from the Cajun, Zydeco, Swamp Pop, and Americana canons such as “If You Ain’t Got Love” and “Let the Good Times Roll.” Many of the songs The Revelers performed were carried by catchy, fun melodies and lyrics that audience members could sing along to as they bobbed their heads and danced. In fact, quite a few of the songs invited audience participation, especially in the second set; audience members soul-clapped during ripping solos at Blake Miller’s lead, and even joined in on a shout chorus, shouting out “Blow Daddy, Blow,” when The Chris Miller carried the solo in a two-step tune called “Take a Trip to the Moon.”
All in all, the performance was a celebration, a joie de vivre. The Revelers, whose aim seems to be to make people happy for a solid couple of hours with music that is heavily steeped in tradition and a feeling of community, easily won fans who would be anxious for their return.
The Revelers are currently on tour in support of their new self-released album Get Ready. To find out more about The Revelers, find them at their webpage, on Facebook or Twitter. Baur’s Listening Lounge and the Music Appreciation Society post upcoming shows at their webpage. Anyone who wants to stay connected can find them on Facebook.
Creative Music Works (CMW) and Denver’s Dazzle Jazz announced in a press release June 28 that celebrated pianist and jazz innovator Matthew Shipp along with his long-time partner in music Michael Bisio (bass) will perform Saturday, July 25 for two shows at Dazzle Restaurant and Lounge. Shows will begin at 7 and 9 PM. Tickets can be bought at Dazzle’s page for the event.
The music that Shipp and Bisio create together incorporates many musical styles and is often considered avant-garde. “...the jazz avant-garde seems like you can incorporate anything into it, like a melting pot, within your own style. I personally have grown up listening to a lot of different things and have been influenced by a lot of different things. I approach the music as music, not as the various genres. So, I'm not trying to make a music that's a mixture of this or that, but a lot of this or that is in it," explained Matthew Shipp in an interview with Perfect Sound Forever.
“The point where the Spirit and letter of the tradition meet is where Matthew and I begin,” Michael Bisio explains. “There is no other artist I feel so in tune with. Conceptually, I think our mentors fostered very similar aesthetics: to know what was, find your own voice, and if possible, move this music forward. For us there was never a choice between being jazz musicians or creative ones….They are the same thing!”
Shipp and Bisio feel that their music speaks for itself. Others have described their work together as “stunning,” “free-jazz, but full of melody,” “dense, emotional, and full of quotes and allusions.” The duo’s music is informed by jazz greats such as Duke Ellington, Bud Powell, Thelonious Monk, Cecil Taylor, free jazz, blues and classical musicians, too. However, the two players are not bound by any of the genres that inform them and they always seem to be incorporating music from just about everywhere, unafraid of new musical experiences just as much as they are fearless in fluidly creating new music in their improvisational performances.
Matthew Shipp, named Pitchfork 2014 experimental artist of the year, has played with many great jazz artists such as David S. Ware, William Parker and Roscoe Mitchell but he has also collaborated with experimental artists in other genres, such as DJ Spooky and Hprizm. He’s been a bandleader and a sideman, recording more than 50 albums over the span of his career. CMW describes his playing as lyrical and introspective “and fully of the 21st century.”
Not unlike Shipp, bassist Michael Bisio is prolific. He has played on more than 70 albums over the span of his career, recording and playing with the likes of Joe McPhee, Tomas Ulrich, Wayne Horvitz, DJ Spooky, Ivo Perelman and many, many more. He has been described by Tomajazz.com as “a poet of the contrabass,” who plays music that is “produced by sorcery,” according to Cadence Magazine.
In an exclusive interview via email, Michael Bisio took some time to answer a few questions for fans. Below are some answers on what to expect on July 25, as well as some news bits of upcoming work from both artists.
What does it feel like when you are playing?
Carter Jefferson, the late/great saxophonist, described musical feel as fire. He was referring to fire in all its hues from cool blue to red hot and always burning. Feeling has as wide a range as the music and those two things are inseparable.
What are some of the responses from your audiences about your music?
I will tell you my favorite. It is always from an audience member who was dragged to the concert kicking and screaming (hopefully by a friend). I have heard from various people [who had come kicking and screaming] "I didn't even know I liked this music until I heard you guys!”
Do you have any new CDs that you are promoting or bringing with you?
Do you have any other upcoming news that you would like amplified?
Right before we come to Denver, the Matthew Shipp Trio will be performing at Vision Fest XX. It’s truly an historic event. In August, Jazz at Lincoln Center will produce a video based on The Gospel According to Matthew and Michael. In September, we’ll see the release of Michael Bisio Accortet (Relative Pitch) featuring Denver's own Kirk Knuffke. In October, The Conduct of Jazz (Thirsty Ear) which features the Matthew Shipp Trio and introduces our new drummer Newman Taylor Baker will release. Then, in the fall the Shipp/Bisio duo hits the road again with dates in Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia, Minneapolis and more. Also, tentatively, the Shipp/Bisio duo will have an LP called Live at The Church (Vinyl Revolution) before year's end or early 2016. The album was recorded in Seattle, WA on International Jazz Day 2015.
Criminalizing abortion has dire consequences. That is why Dutch Physician Rebecca Gomperts founded Women on Waves in 1999, a non-profit organization whose mission is to prevent self-administered abortions, as well as unwanted pregnancies, in countries with strict abortion laws. The organization has literally taken to international waters to offer medical abortions to women who would otherwise be deemed criminals for undergoing an abortion or have to live with an unwanted pregnancy. Now the organization has also taken to the air to deliver abortion pills.
The delivery drone has been dubbed by some a “drone of death.” The drone took flight from the town of Frankfurt an der Oder and crossed the River Oder to deliver the abortion pills to two women who were waiting on the Polish border, reported BBC News June 27. The two Polish women took the pills immediately after the drone landed.
In an online statement, Women on Waves noted that there were no anti-abortion protesters at the site of the drop. Police tried to intervene but the drop was successful. The women who took the pills that were taped to the side of the drone, swallowed the pills before police could stop them.
German police did confiscate drone controllers and personal iPads from drone pilots. They have pressed criminal charges but on what grounds, is unclear. Women on Waves writes that “The medicines were provided on prescription by a doctor and both Poland and Germany are part of Schengen" an area of 26 European countries which have collectively decided to eliminate passport and immigration controls over their borders.
According to Women on Waves, anti-abortion laws are a social injustice. Restrictive abortion laws like the ones in Poland violate international human rights agreements including the right to health. Under Poland’s restrictive laws, which permit abortions only in cases of rape, incest, in cases of irreversible foetal malformation and when the birth could prove fatal to the mother, some women undertake “risky back-street abortions” which could be administered unhygienically by untrained practitioners and could cause chronic and irreversible health problems and even kill the women receiving the abortion.
*originally published on the now defunct Examiner.com
Tonight, Sunday June 28, at 8 p.m., Baur’s Listening Lounge presents The Revelers, a Louisiana roots music super group that hails from Lafayette, Louisiana. The band incorporates Cajun, Zydeco, Swamp Pop, and Americana into their performances. The Revelers is comprised of founding members from the Cajun bands Red Stick Ramblers and the Pine Leaf Boys; Blake Miller (accordion), Chas Justus (guitar), Daniel Coolik (violin), Glenn Fields (drums), Eric Frey (bass) and Chris Miller (saxophone). Tonight’s show will be their first performance in Denver and it promises to bring audience members to their feet.
This Sunday’s performance is in a long list of summer shows promoting The Revelers’ new self-released album Get Ready. The album comes three years after a strong self-titled debut and their Play the Swamp Pop Classics EP which features blues classic “Let the Good Times Roll” and other danceable tunes.
Get Ready is just as danceable, if not more, and showcases the band’s ability to play multiple genres of music as they experiment with styles spanning from 1950’s pop to the very Cajun roots in which each tune seems to be steeped. The band will play covers, as well as, original songs written by each member of the band.
The Revelers’ music, which is available on CD, vinyl and digital download, can be purchased at their website. In the meantime, come dance with these masterful musicians whose love for the music they play shines through and keeps them circling back to music workshops and festivals all across the country.
That smoking is harmful goes without saying: What many do not know is that cigarette butt waste continues to cause harm after it is flicked away carelessly. The toxic, non-biodegradable remnants of cigarettes contribute to approximately 1.69 billion pounds of waste each year, much of which shows up as the world’s number one litter, appearing on streets, sidewalks and in storm drains. The toxicity of cigarette butts are harmful to wildlife, and even reports at Poison Control Centers have been due to children becoming sick after ingesting them. Further, the filter’s spun fibers, made initially as a measure in the ‘50s and ‘60s as a way to make cigarettes safer, are made of cellulose acetate, a plastic that is also used for film base in photography, magnetic tape, playing cards, toothbrushes and sunglasses. Since the material does not readily break down, it is often found in the stomachs of fish, birds and animals that have unwittingly mistaken the butts for food.
That is why many innovators have been trying to find solutions to combat the damage that comes out of cigarette smoking. The Independent on June 22 points to one such solution. An Indian company called Karma has created special cigarette filters that contain seeds so that smokers “are not littering anymore, but planting trees.” The filters are made from abiodegradable pulp containing no harmful chemicals that might otherwise inhibit the growth of the seeds contained within the paper. The pulp based paper is also made well enough to protect the seeds so that they are able to grow once they are flicked away.
It is not an original idea. Another innovator, designer Ben Forman, created a product called Cigg Seeds based on the ugly factor of cigarette butt waste. His biodegradable butts contain wild flower seeds and when tossed, sprout and then bloom, making littering suddenly a social and beautifying service.
Both Cigg Seeds and Karma have received flack for their innovations as being flawed, though. The first and foremost reason is that the very nature of both products encourages smokers to litter. The second, and quite possibly more important reason, is that the products could very well introduce non-native plant life that could cause another kind of damage.
It’s bad enough that many cigarette smokers are oblivious that improperly discarding cigarette butts causes significant harm. The unthinking act of propelling cigarette butts through the air once they’re used up, which far too often contributes to wildfires and the poisoning of wildlife, continues. Trillions of cigarettes are smoked and discarded every year, despite the increase in smoking bans and anti-smoking campaigns.
While some companies like Terracycle make park benches and other useful products out of cigarette butt waste, many other solutions are needed. Well-meaning creators of products such as Cigg Seeds and Karma obviously see that cigarette smokers haven’t been swayed from their habits. PSAs informing the public that cigarette butts are indeed litter have been on air for decades. The solution, however, doesn’t seem to lie in making smokers feel better about improperly discarding their butts.
A company called GreenButts carries the mission of staving off the flow of 5 trillion non-biodegradable cigarette butts by making filters from a combination of flax, hemp, cotton and other natural materials that break down in a matter of days after they are discarded. Their filters will be incorporated into other brands’ cigarettes as an alternative to the filters made of plastic fibers. It would be heartening to see GreenButts filters being used in all cigarettes, especially in lieu of the fact that smoking is a considerable enough problem to cause such havoc on public health and the environment. Further, since smokers continue to suck cigarettes down, GreenButts and possibly other products like it could help lessen a problem that seems to otherwise compound to no end.
*originally published on the now defunct Examiner.com