As part of Oxford American Jazz Series, Aaron Diehl headlines at South on Main tonight

som diehlJazz returns to Main Street tonight at 8:00 PM!  The Oxford American magazine welcomes Aaron Diehl to Little Rock as the second show in its 2015 – 2016 Jazz Series!

Doors open at 6:00 PM, with dinner and drinks available for purchase at that time. This series is made possible by presenting sponsor, the UCA College of Fine Arts & Communication. Additional partners include The Summer FoundationArkansas Arts CouncilCapital HotelPiano KraftRosen Music Company, and FM-89.1 KUAR.

Tickets are $20 (General Admission), $30 (Reserved), and $32 (Premium Reserved).

In an era revolving around celebrity hype and mediocre entertainment, Columbus, Ohio native Aaron Diehl seeks to stand out as an artist in his generation that exemplifies excellence, sophistication, and a fluency in the American musical vernacular. The 2011 Cole Porter Fellow of the American Pianists Association, Diehl has been hailed by the New York Times as “a smart young pianist with a fastidious grasp of Jazz traditions.” He is committed to unearthing the treasures of a musical aesthetic through collaborative efforts with musicians across generations.

Born in 1985, Diehl grew up in a nurturing musical environment with his grandfather, Arthur Baskerville, who often played piano at local establishments in Columbus and sang in the church choir. Aaron began studying classically at age seven, and he discovered his passion for jazz music when attending the Interlochen Summer Camp. There he met piano prodigy Eldar Djangirov, who made a lasting impression on Diehl through his enthusiasm for Oscar Peterson and Art Tatum.

Diehl is the Artistic Director of the Catskill Jazz Factory, an organization dedicated to enhancing community development by means of America’s original art form.

A second season of Jazz at South on Main set for 2015-16

2e6b4_1320267846-oxa_logoAfter last season’s successful Jazz on Main series, the Oxford American is bringing more Jazz to South on Main next season.  
Things kick off on September 3 at 8pm with Anat Cohen.  Clarinetist/saxophonist Anat Cohen has won hearts and minds tAnat Cohen [Jazz Series]he world over with her expressive virtuosity and delightful stage presence. Anat was born in Tel Aviv, Israel, and raised into a musical family. She began clarinet studies at age twelve and played jazz on clarinet for the first time in the Jaffa Conservatory’s Dixieland Band. At sixteen, she joined the school’s big band and learned to play the tenor saxophone; it was this same year that Anat entered the prestigious “Thelma Yellin” school, where she majored in jazz. After graduation, she discharged her mandatory Israeli military service duty from 1993-1995, playing tenor saxophone in the Israeli Air Force band.
Doors open at 6:00 PM, with dinner and drinks available for purchase at that time.
Aaron Diehl [Jazz Series]
In an era revolving around celebrity hype and mediocre entertainment, Columbus, Ohio native Aaron Diehl seeks to stand out as an artist in his generation that exemplifies excellence, sophistication, and a fluency in the American musical vernacular. The 2011 Cole Porter Fellow of the American Pianists Association, Diehl has been hailed by the New York Times as “a smart young pianist with a fastidious grasp of Jazz traditions.” He is committed to unearthing the treasures of a musical aesthetic through collaborative efforts with musicians across generations.
The Oxford American magazine is excited to welcome Aaron Diehl to Little Rock on November 5 as the second show in our 2015 – 2016 Jazz Series! Doors open at 6:00 PM, with dinner and drinks available for purchase at that time.
Victor Goines [Jazz Series]
On January 21 at 8:00 PM, Victor Goines takes the South on Main stage! This is the third show in our 2015 – 2016 Jazz Series!  Clarinetist, saxophonist, and educator, he is one of the most respected and multi-faceted musicians in the jazz world today. He is also an acclaimed and sought after solo artist who leads his own quartet and quintet.

Adept in a bevy of instruments, Mr. Goines has also collaborated, recorded, and/or performed with many noted jazz and popular artists.  Victor Goines has played the clarinet since the age of eight and continued his studies with Carl Blouin, Sr., who introduced him to the saxophone at St. Augustine High School. In 1980, he entered Loyola University in New Orleans where he studied clarinet and saxophone, receiving a Bachelor of Music Education Degree in 1984.

Doors open at 6:00 PM, with dinner and drinks available for purchase at that time.

Bria Skonberg [Jazz Series]
Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with Jazz when Bria Skonberg perofrms on the South on Main Stage at 8:00 PM.   This is the fourth and final show in our 2015 – 2016 Jazz Series!  Hailing from Chilliwack, BC, and now living in New York City, award-winning trumpeter / vocalist / composer Bria Skonberg is “poised to be one of the most versatile and imposing musicians of her generation.”Best known for her knowledge of classic jazz and instigative nature, she is now creating an adventurous style rooted in New Orleans jazz and blues, world percussion, soul, and cabaret. She currently tours the world, headlining major clubs and festivals, as well as programming music education workshops for all ages.

Doors open at 6:00 PM, with dinner and drinks available for purchase at that time.
This series is made possible by presenting sponsor, the UCA College of Fine Arts & Communication.

Bennie Wallace Quartet closes out 2014-15 Jazz Series at South on Main

bennie_wallace.jpg.190x140_q60_cropTonight at 8, the Oxford American magazine presents the final concert of their 2014-2015 Jazz Series at South on Main, featuring the Bennie Wallace Quartet!

The OA jazz series is sponsored by the University of Central Arkansas College of Fine Arts and Communication. Doors open at 6:00 PM with dinner and drinks available at that time. The concert begins at 8:00 PM.

Single tickets are $30 for reserved seats at tables and $20 for general admission. Purchasing a reserved seat assigns you to a specific guaranteed seat at a table. However, seating at tables is family-style, and unless you purchase the entire table, you will be seated with other patrons. General admission tickets are good for barstools and standing room, available on a first-come, first-served basis. For ticketing questions, please contact Metrotix at (800) 293-5949.

An improbable combination of the old masters’ deep, impetuous sound on one hand and a nearly avant-garde approach to phrasing and intervals on the other, Bennie Wallace has been hailed by the New York Arts Journal as “the most important reed player since Dolphy’s and Coleman’s startling work in the early sixties.”

In January 1999, DownBeat magazine described Wallace as “a modernist who understands the past.” Wallace possesses an uncommon knowledge of the music of his predecessors—not just Dolphy, Coltrane, and Coleman, but their mentors as well. Wallace has spent a great deal of time studying early saxophone masters such as Hawkins, Johnny Hodges, Ben Webster, and Don Byas. Assimilating much of the history of his instrument, he has remolded it into a unique personal style that defies easy categorization. It is a style that, while reflecting its heritage, is fresh sounding and contemporary. Wallace’s tone is full and resonant, whether articulating a post-bop expressionism or a quiet romanticism. His prodigious technique is indispensable to an approach that, at fast tempos, explores the extremes of the instrument with virtuosic arpeggios, scales, and melodic fragments, but on ballads transforms into a warm, often delicate lyricism.

Bennie Wallace the composer complements Wallace the performer. While Wallace’s written music reflects many of the myriad streams of twentieth-century composition—including the French Impressionists and American classical composers, as well as Ellington and Strayhorn and such songwriters as Gershwin, Porter, and Kern—it, like his playing, is also informed by improvising jazz musicians, from Armstrong to the present.

Jazz on Main returns to South on Main tonight with Peter Martin & Romero Lubambo: New Orleans Meets Rio

peter_martin_cropped_2.jpg.190x140_q60_cropJoin the Oxford American magazine for the continuation of their 2014-2015 jazz series at South on Main featuring Peter Martin & Romero Lubambo! This special evening will include a live multi-camera video shoot of the showby AETN – Arkansas Educational Television Network.

The OA jazz series is sponsored by the University of Central Arkansas College of Fine Arts and Communication. Doors open at 6:00 PM with dinner and drinks available at that time. The concert begins at 8:00 PM.

Single tickets went on sale September 1 at $30 for reserved seats at tables and $20 for general admission. Purchasing a reserved seat assigns you to a specific guaranteed seat at a table. However, seating at tables is family-style, and unless you purchase the entire table, you will be seated with other patrons. General admission tickets are good for barstools and standing room, available on a first-come first-served basis.For ticketing questions, please contact Metrotix at (800) 293-5949.

Raised by parents who are both classical musicians, Peter Martin began studying music at the age of three. After graduating from high school, Martin received the Presidential Scholar in the Arts Award from President Reagan. He then attended The Juilliard School in New York on scholarship, studying piano with Martin Canin, until moving to New Orleans in 1990.

While in New Orleans, Martin honed his skills working with key musicians such as Nicholas Payton, Germaine Bazzle, Brian Blade, and Victor Goines. He also embarked on an active solo career and toured and recorded with artists such as Betty Carter, Wynton Marsalis, Dianne Reeves, Chris Botti, Joshua Redman, Christian McBride, Roy Hargrove, and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. Martin has performed with the Berlin Philharmonic, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, and the Sydney Symphony, as well as numerous other orchestras around the world. He’s also played at The White House twice.

Martin performed on and arranged Dianne Reeves’ Grammy winning release A Little Moonlight, as well as co-produced her 2004 Blue Note CD Chrismas Time Is Here. He appeared in George Clooney’s 2005 film Good Night, and Good Luck and was featured on the movie’s Grammy-winning soundtrack. Wynton Marsalis called Martin, “An unbelievable musician with a unique kind of charisma. Not just the technical competence, but a deep kind of penetrating insight into music.”

In 1985, Romero Lubambo came to the United States, and brought with him a new sound in Brazilian jazz guitar. His guitar playing unites the styles and rhythms of his native Brazilian musical heritage with his fluency in the American jazz tradition, forming a distinctive new sound. From the cool, sophisticated rhythms of his native Brazil to hard bop, Lubambo is a guitarist who’s comfortable in any musical setting. He is an uncommonly gifted soloist and musical improviser with a steady stream of unpredictably creative musical thoughts and the virtuosity to deliver them ever so tastefully.

Lubambo has performed and recorded with many outstanding artists, including Dianne Reeves, Michael Brecker, Yo-Yo Ma, Kathleen Battle, Diana Krall, Wynton Marsalis, and Paquito D’Rivera among many others.

“Guitarist Romero Lubambo may be the best practitioner of his craft in the world today… [his] facility, creativity and energy are in a class all their own.”—JAZZIZ Magazine   

14ish Cultural Highlights of 2014

2014 was a busy year.  Here are 14 cultural highlights. In no particular order. Except maybe once in while.

The Rep's Bob Hupp and Catherine Hughes flank NEA Chair Jane Chu

The Rep’s Bob Hupp and Catherine Hughes flank NEA Chair Jane Chu

Dr. Jane Chu visits Arkansas. Former Arkadelphia resident Dr. Jane Chu was appointed as the Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts. In October, she paid a visit to Little Rock and northwest Arkansas. While in the Rock, she participated in a discussion at the Arkansas Repertory Theatre and toured the new Creative Corridor spaces under construction for the Rep, Ballet Arkansas and Arkansas Symphony Orchestra. Dr. Chu was also the guest of honor at a reception hosted by the Arkansas Arts Council. While here, she had the chance to renew old friendships as well as make new ones.

Carroll Cloar exhibit at Arkansas Arts Center. The Arkansas Arts Center featured the works of Arkansas native Carroll Cloar. Much as the Biblical prophet who is ignored in his homeland, Cloar has long been better recognized outside of his native state.  The Cloar exhibit (which included a painting of future Little Rock mayor J. V. Satterfield playing football, a personal favorite of the LRCV) and the outreach by the AAC staff made great strides towards raising Arkansas’ consciousness about the works by the American treasure.

DSCF0011Robinson Center Music Hall closes for renovation. Opening in February 1940 as the Joseph Taylor Robinson Memorial Auditorium, the City’s prime venue for performances and civic gatherings needed an external and internal facelift at 74. The building closed in July 2014 for a two year renovation which will see the reconfiguration of the performance and audience space in the music hall, the creation of a new special events venue overlooking the Arkansas River, and the restoration of this historic main lobby and front façade to 1940 appearance. During this closure tenants such as Ballet Arkansas, the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra and Celebrity Attractions have temporarily relocated to other venues including the Pulaski Academy Connor Performing Arts Center and the Maumelle Performing Arts Center.

Ron Robinson Theater opens. Shortly before one Robinson closed, another opened.  The Central Arkansas Library System’s new Ron Robinson Theater opened. This multi-purpose venue has quickly become home to lectures (by the library, the Clinton School and others), films (in partnership with Arkansas Times, Little Rock Film Festival and others) and music (including the Arkansas Sounds series).  Named for famed Little Rock adman Ron Robinson, the public spaces pay tribute to his love of movies and music about Arkansas.

Music Music Music

  • As noted above, Arkansas Sounds has switched from a concentrated music festival to instead offering a variety of music styles and genres throughout the year at the new Ron Robinson Theatre. The music has ranged from Big Band to Klezmer to Country to Rock to Rap.  This is only one of the new music offerings in Little Rock.
  • South on Main completed its first full year of the weekly Local Live free music series sponsored by the Oxford American and Landers Fiat. South on Main also started a Jazz on Main series as well as increased their bookings of other musicians ranging from Rodney Block to Rodney Crowell.
  • Meanwhile, The Undercroft completed its first full year of (mainly) acoustic music offerings at the corner of Capitol and Scott Streets.

New Works of Art.

  • New sculptures were added to the Vogel-Schwartz Sculpture Garden and Riverfront Park as well as the Bernice Gardens.
  • In what may be the first for any symphony in the US, the musicians of the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra commissioned a new piece in honor of the ASO board of directors. The work, composed by Christopher Theofanidis, was entitled The Wind and Petit Jean.  It was well-received by audience and musicians alike.
  • Ballet Arkansas sponsored a choreography competition “Visions” which featured five choreographers competing to be selected for a full-scale commission.  The winner was Hilary Wolfley whose work will be seen at the spring Ballet Arkansas presentation.
  • Finally, in conjunction with the 175th anniversary of Christ Episcopal Church (the oldest church in Little Rock to be at its original location), a new choral piece was commissioned. Daniel E. Gawthrop’s “Haste the Day” premiered on December 7.

mod delaneyThe Tonight Show with Kevin Delaney. Because Jimmy Fallon is really just a big kid at heart, he wanted to include periodic “cool” science experiments when he took over the “Tonight Show.”  After being contacted by a producer of Fallon’s show and an audition process, the Museum of Discovery’s Kevin Delaney was booked to appear.  He debuted on May 5 performing experiment with Fallon and returned on November 7. When not a guest of NBC, Delaney performs the same types of “Awesome Science” experiments for tens of thousands of children and adults at the Museum of Discovery.

New Festival of Arts. Acansa, a new multi-discplinary, multi-venue arts festival, debuted this year in September.  Over a five day period, ACANSA Arts Festival brought together audiences and cultural resources to present unique and exciting visual and performing works which celebrate the unique influence of the south and champion excellence and innovation in artistry.  There was theatre, dance, instrumental music, choral music, puppetry and visual art.

14 14 4Gridiron Returns. The talk of the return of the Star Wars movie franchise was not the only welcome news of returns. Gridiron, the biennial attorney fundraiser which spoofs politics, current events, sports and everything that is “sacred” to the general populace, returned after a hiatus.  Once again this effort was under the watchful eye of producer Judge Mary McGowan, the creative leadership of Jana Beard, and the writing prowess of the anonymous committee.  As has been the case in the past, many of the targets of the show good-naturedly showed up and laughed along in the audience.

Sculptures Returned.  Gridiron was not the only welcome return. Earlier this year several sculptures were stolen from the Vogel-Schwartz Sculpture Garden in Riverfront Park. After a media blitz about the theft, some people strolling through the park stumbled across a bag containing the missing sculptures. The pieces are in the process of being restored and will be reinstalled soon.

14 14 3Clinton Center turned 10.  Proving that you can come home again, quite a few of the people who were present for the opening of the Clinton Presidential Center in 2004 showed up again in 2014 to take part in celebratory festivities.  Among events included several lectures; a day of service benefiting the Arkansas Food Bank; a barbecue picnic; and a concert featuring Nick Jonas, Kool & the Gang and others which was hosted by Kevin Spacey.  The Clinton School also celebrated 10 years of lectures and innovative programs.

Preservation Concentration – The Quapaw Quarter Association marked the 50th Spring Tour this year. The event was co-chaired by First Lady Ginger Beebe and lifestyle expert P. Allen Smith.  Later in the year, the QQA hosted its first Mid-Century architecture tour highlighting some of Little Rock’s buildings from this style. They ended the year with the news that they had purchased the William E. Woodruff House in east Little Rock. One of Little Rock’s oldest houses, it was built by the founder of the Arkansas Gazette.  They will shore up the building to try to ensure no further decay as the building is readied for its next phase.

Huzzahs

  • 14 14 2Reese Rowland, architect and principal at Polk Stanley Wilcox Architects of Little Rock, was named a fellow of the American Institute of Architects, awarded to fewer than 4 percent of AIA members.
  • Little Rock native Will Trice earned his third Tony Award in three years, this time for producing All The Way, the Best Play of 2014. His previous Tonys were for Porgy and Bess (Musical Revival-2012) and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (Play Revival-2013).
  • Arkansas native and frequent Little Rock performer Al Green was one of the 2014 Kennedy Center Honorees.
  • Little Rock’s Creative Corridor continued to rack up honors. The UA’s Community Design Center, which includes faculty and staff members from the school, won a 2014 Honor Award from the American Institute of Architects for its work on the Creative Corridor, on which it collaborated with Marlon Blackwell Architect of Fayetteville. The project also received the American Society of Landscape Architects Honor Award for Analysis and Planning.

Transitions.

  • 14 14Sharon Priest, a longtime cultural advocate as a City Beautiful Commission member, Little Rock City Director, Little Rock Mayor and Arkansas Secretary of State announced her retirement after 12 years as Executive Director of the Downtown Little Rock Partnership.  Over the past dozen years, she has continued her cultural advocacy.
  • One of Priest’s successors as a member of the Little Rock City Board, Stacy Hurst, was named by Gov.-Elect Asa Hutchinson to be his choice to lead the Department of Arkansas Heritage. She will oversee seven agencies including three Little Rock museums: Mosaic Templars Cultural Center, Old State House Museum and Historic Arkansas Museum.
  • Following the closure of Starving Artists Cafe, the weekly Tales from the South program (which originated from there) had to scramble to find a place.  After several weeks of a completely nomadic existence, it is now settling into a rotating list of locations. The Arkansas Arts Center’s Best Impressions restaurant has been designated a “permanent” site for the first Tuesday of each month.
  • The free outdoor Movies in the Park celebrated its 10th season this year. Founders Blake Rutherford, Heather Allmendinger and Ben Beaumont were honored at the start of the season.  A few weeks into the season, the series screened the film Frozen and set a new record for attendance by logging over 7,000 attendees.
  • After the closure of the Riverdale cinema in 2013, the space sat vacant.  In June 2014, Matt Smith moved the Market Street Cinema operations into the Riverdale space. He upgraded the equipment at Riverdale (which was also a vast improvement over the equipment at Market Street).  The new Riverdale 10 shows a mix of first-run blockbusters as well as the independent films for which Market Street had been beloved.
  • The Studio Theatre was launched adjacent to the new Lobby Bar in downtown Little Rock.  In addition to producing its own performances, it is also the new home of the Community Theatre of Little Rock and Precipice Theatre.
  • Weekend Theatre founder Ralph Hyman retired as the Artistic Director of that group. He will continue to direct productions from time to time.

 

Inaugural Jazz on Main concert tonight – The Bad Plus at South on Main

the_bad_plus_cropped.jpg.1000x250_q80_crop_upscaleJoin the Oxford American magazine for the inaugural concert in their 2014-2015 jazz series at South on Main featuring The Bad Plus! The OA jazz series is sponsored by the University of Central Arkansas College of Fine Arts and Communication. Doors open at 6:00 PM with dinner and drinks available at that time. The concert begins at 8:00 PM.

Ticket packages for the jazz series went on sale June 20 at www.metrotix.com, ranging from$120 to $80 and include a discount on service charges. Single tickets go on sale September 1at $30 for reserved seats at tables and $20 for general admission. Purchasing a reserved seat assigns you to a specific guaranteed seat at a table. However, seating at tables is family-style, and unless you purchase the entire table, you will be seated with other patrons. General admission tickets are good for barstools and standing room, available on a first-come first-served basis. For ticketing questions, please contact Metrotix at (800) 293-5949.

The Bad Plus has spent almost fifteen years redefining what a piano-bass-drums trio can and should be. They’ve reached audiences of all demographic stripes with an uncompromising body of original music (plus some ingenious, genre-jumping covers) and dedicated touring around the globe. On their eighth studio album, Made Possible, bassist Reid Anderson, pianist Ethan Iverson, and drummer David King take their distinctive musical M.O. to captivating new heights, proving once again that the rules of musical convention are made to be broken.

“This band contains some of the most punk energy I’ve ever seen or felt as a musician — it just doesn’t need to do it so obviously,” King says. “That’s our statement. It’s a complex emotion.”

 Made Possible marks a palpable departure for The Bad Plus on a few fronts. Layers of synth and electronic drum sounds can be heard prowling amid the trio’s signature acoustic palette. Also, whereas the group’s new material typically gets a thorough road test before being recorded, these songs were brought in with looser expectations and even more potent possibilities. And for the first time since 2005’s Suspicious Activity?, the band chose to record far away from its Minnesota motherland, holing up instead at a remote studio in upstate New York.

“The Bad Plus are the Coen brothers of jazz: Midwesterners, both ironic and dead earnest, technically brilliant, beyond versatile, a little chilly sometimes, but funny, surprising, and pretty hard to pin down.”—The New Yorker 

Still Time to Purchase Tickets for Oxford American’s Jazz on Main

oa_jazz_series_logo_hi-resJoin the Oxford American magazine for the inaugural 2014-15 jazz series at South on Main for four concerts featuring acclaimed artists! Doors for each show open at 6:00pm, with dinner and drinks available for purchase at that time. Concerts begin at 8:00pm.

The series includes:

Ticket packages for the entire jazz series range from $120 to $80. Purchasing a series package provides a discount on service charges. Single tickets to individual concerts are available beginning September 1 at noon at $30 for reserved seats at tables and $20 for general admission.

Additional information:

  • Doors open at 6pm, show at 8pm.
  • Reserved seating assigns you to the same table for all 4 shows. Choice of chairs at those tables is first-come-first-seated.
  • Seating at tables is “family style.” If you do not purchase all the seats at your table, you will be seated with other patrons.
  • General Admission seating is barstools and standing room only, no tables. General admission seating is first-come-first-seated.
  • The venue does not have an on-site box office. Tickets will only be sold at the venue on the night of the show, if any remain.
  • Will Call tickets will be available for pickup only on the night of the show.
  • Shows are all ages. Everyone must have a ticket to attend.
  • Free surface lot parking is available.