Thursday, April 9, 2009

Alexander Shulgin - Triptych, Part 2; ft. Gary Husband & Martin Taylor

By Will J.B. Cohn, MusicDish e-Journal

Considering that people these days have an insatiable desire to be entertained at all times (part of the ADD generation that kids are growing up in), it's hard to believe that a minimalist album will hold a listeners attention for very long. With the absence of bass and drums, the music is extremely exposed, and there is risk of boring the listener to death. However, if performed by the right musicians (in this case Gary Husband and Martin Taylor) and composed by a talented composer like Alexander Shulgin, it can be a unique listening experience.

Alexander Shulgin's Part 2 of his new album Triptych is a minimalist album, with only a single musician on all tracks, except the last. All the songs are Shulgin's compositions, but Gary Husband (a well-known jazz multi-instrumentalist) is the one performing them on piano. Over the years Gary Husband has played for many of the jazz heavyweights out there, including Allan Holdsworth, John McLaughlin, Mike Stern, and Billy Cobham.

What makes the album most effective is the combination of Shulgin's strong compositions along with the creative interpretation of these compositions by Husband. For instance, while the second track, "Primadonna", contains the dark and ominous chord voicing of Shulgin, Husband is incorporating bluesy licks in the open space. On "Snowstormie", the chords are characteristic of Shulgin, but the jazz lines that are played over these chords are clearly Husband's ideas coming into play. Sometimes, different musical ideas clash, but in this case, the choices that Husband makes as the player and the choices that Shulgin makes as the composer complement each other, and mesh into a strong finished product.

The last track, entitled "Woman's Happiness Theme" features the guitar playing of Martin Taylor, a well-known British jazz guitarist, whose warm and clean sound adds a welcome and long-overdue new layer to the sound of the acoustic piano. Throughout the track, Taylor and Husband give each other room to breath. When Taylor is playing lead, Husband takes a back seat, providing the chords in the background and allowing Taylor to show-off his jazz chops.

The addition of Martin Taylor works so well that I find it surprising that he plays on only the last song. In fact, since Taylor is most well known as a solo performer, I wouldn't mind if one or two tracks were just him. Although the acoustic piano sound is easy on the ears, after several tracks in a row, the album appears to be a craving a different color, and this craving is satisfied only at the very end. Regardless, Shulgin's compositions are strong enough to get past the repetitive timbre, and along with Husband's creative interpretation of the compositions, the album is a success. And, depending on how ADD you are, it should hold your attention.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Bethany & Rufus To Play Third Thursday Coffeehouse Series

Cello & vocal, roots duo Bethany & Rufus will perform at the 'Third Thursday Coffeehouse' Series at The Blackrock Center for the Arts on Thursday, April 16. Presented by MoFolk Music Productions, Third Thursday Coffeehouse enters its 7th season presenting an exciting mix of folk music!

Thursday, April 16, 7:30 PM
BlackRock Center for the Arts
12901 Town Commons Drive
Germantown, Maryland
Info: 304-267-7963
Tickets: $22 (advance); $27 (door) - Purchase


"When Bethany Yarrow and Rufus Cappadocia join forces on stage, watch out. The combination — or should that be combustion? — of their incredible talents sparks a fire-in-the-belly, soul-stirring experience with American folk music that lingers long after the concert ends. Bethany just happens to be the daughter of Peter Yarrow (of Peter, Paul and Mary fame)—and a powerful folk musician in her own right, able to re-invent the old songs and make them her own. Rufus started playing the cello as a three-year-old and has dared to go where few cellists have gone before—tapping into the heart of world music with the five-string electric cello he designed. Separately, they’re amazing. Together, they’re unbelievable." Third Thursday Coffeehouse

"Unbelievable!" is the word most used by audiences when first hearing Bethany & Rufus whose cello and voice duo breaks new musical ground, sliding with seamless ease between groove, jazz and a gritty, unvarnished approach to traditional folk music. With its often exuberant and sometimes achingly sad songs, their debut CD, "900 MILES" blends Bethany Yarrow's hauntingly beautiful yet explosively powerful voice with the mind-blowing, genre-bending cello playing of Rufus Cappadocia, pushing the boundaries of American roots music far into unexpected territory where intense groove meets sweet, heartbreaking soul.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Loretta Lynn's Ranch Host Songwriter's Festival This October

Toward the second week of autumn, songwriters gather from all points north, south, east and west. The Songwriter's Festival at Loretta Lynn's Ranch is several events in one. Live original music performances, classes, contest, open sing rings, plus Ranch amenities, accommodations and more. It's part fest, part music conference, part business networking and part gathering of old friends held in Hurricane Mills, TN October 2-4, 2009.

Tune smiths from the novice to the pro share their songs on multiple outdoor stages nestled within hundreds of acres of rolling hills, pasture and a winding creek. Hit Writers from the past, present and future will be contributing their talents with live music. The Song Fest at the Ranch welcome all forms of songwriting. Writers are encouraged to come as they are and be themselves. The laid back country atmosphere inspires and invigorates.

Everyone who comes will have an opportunity to share their original lyrics, songs or music. There are no set pre qualifications to attend all or parts of the Festival. There are Open Sing Rings that "Song Wranglers" can join in or start. There is a Co-writers Corner for on the spot writing and sharing a new tune. If ya still can't sleep after all the stages close their is an after hour "Camp Fire Sing Ring" down by the creek. So don't be shy.

Friday, October 2nd, Saturday, October 3rd & Sunday October 4th, tunesmiths can attend classes all about the craft of songwriting. Pro Instructors who have been there, done that, will share their secrets and personal experiences about what it takes to be successful in the business of music.

There is a songwriting & lyric Challenge with over $25,000 in Prizes. These challenges are designed to highlight new or undiscovered talent and just great commercial music for today's market. A distinguished panel of judges such as Sure Fire Music, one of Nashville's oldest publishers who has many of Loretta's songs in their catalog. Some of the winning entry's will receive publishing & song pitching agreements along with cash prizes, professional pitch demos and more.

And if that weren't enough to do..... Loretta Lynn’s Dude Ranch is complete with a Full Service RV Park, Cabin & Campsites, Swimming Pool, Playgrounds, Canoeing, Paddle Boats, Nature Trails, Mini-Theater and more. Durring the fest tours will also be offered to Lynn’s Plantation Home, Recording Studio, Loretta’s Butcher Holler Home Place, “Coal Miners Daughter Museum.” The Old Grist Mill Water Wheel Houses, Fan Museum, Western Town & Jessie James Cabin.

So come hang with the gang for the three day weekend & find your place in the mix. We are located about 65 miles due west from Nashville TN. The Songwriter's Festival at Loretta Lynn's Ranch in now accepting sign ups for performing & non performing songwriters, classes and general admissions for the October 2-4, '09 happening. For more information visit or call 615-424-1491 / 931-296-4067 or email Pet friendly. Open to public.Free Parking!

Koko Dozo Graces Mel's World At Le Royale

New York's Post-Pop duo Koko Dozo (Polarity/1 & Amy Douglas) will be bringing their unique version of 'Global Funktronica' to Mel's World At Le Royale on Thursday April 16th at 10:00 PM. Koko Dozo will perform for the gorgeous, lovely and talented Mel Merio who is having one of her fab soirees at the hip NY venue. With an interior that brings to mind "Rock & Roll meets Avant-Garde," Le Royale is a place where the smart crowd goes to hear cutting edge music and meet other people with culture.

Live performance by KOKO DOZO
Thursday April 16th - 10:00 PM
Le Royale
21 7th Avenue South, New York

Watch Koko Dozo's January 24, 2009, performace at NY's Tubway

"Holy poop, B-52's reincarnated. Nevermind that they're still around. This thing I'm used to hear in early 90's to some intro to some crazy tv-show. How do you start making this kind of music? Seriously! Funk, boogie, soul, electro, space-thingy." Danger! Danger!

"New Yorkers looking for music that embraces their city's cultural diversity ought to check them out. The best way to survive in a melting pot is to get close." Gasper Oliviera,

Koko Dozo is a duo of legally alienated New Yorkers -- Polarity/1 and Amy Douglas -- who create a sound they call Global Funktronica: a unique blend of electronica, funk, club grooves, jazz and roots grooves from Brazil, Latin America and Africa. Their lyrics are hilarious, provocative, and powerful, sung in English, Spanish and Portuguese, supported by music that is truly otherworldly, rich, textural and extremely funky.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

MusicDishTV: Rufus Cappadocia - Transformation

Crazy cello master Rufus Cappadocia performs his piece "Transformation" live with dancer Sheila Anozier. Video directed by Jon Fine. |

"Boy, who knew that afro beats, funk and soul could all come from a cello! But leave it up to the man Rufus Cappadocia to do the honors. If this isn’t eclectic funk then I don’t know what is. Take a good look at the video "Transformation," shot entirely in black and white which gives it a sophisticated look, and you’ll get the idea. First, you see a cellist by himself doing a typical classical solo, alongside a dancer fresh out of an Alvin Ailey dance school interpreting every chord Rufus strikes on queue.

"Here Rufus is sitting in a non-descript chair w/ his ubiquitous cello; all is calm as he plays then mid-way what sounds like an African drum beat chorus is actually coming from tugging and hitting the cello chords in strategic fashion. Right beside him is the dancer that captures the spotlight Shelia Anozier. Shelia is a freestyle dancer of Haitian heritage and here she showcases her unique post-modern African folk dance choreography. This is the perfect amalgamation of European style instrumental and African folk dance." -- Veronica Cole, MusicDishTV