The New Wave Singers of Baltimore (Newwavesingers.org) kicked off Pride month in fine style with a beautifully crafted concert that took place at two locations in two days over the June 1-2 weekend. The first concert played at the First Unitarian Church of Baltimore, and the second was at Govans Presbyterian Church the next day.
Music legend Stephen Stills is the latest of his Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young brethren to get the box set treatment with the four-disc compilation Carry On (Atlantic/Rhino/Warner). The astounding 82 (!) tracks span 50 years, incorporating Stills’ work with Buffalo Springfield (“For What it’s Worth” and several others), his years with CSN/CSNY (“Woodstock,” “Suite: Judy BlueEyes,” “Dark Star” and “Southern Cross,” to name a few), and of course his marvelous solo work (including “Love The One You’re With”). The set also highlights Stills’ multi-instrumentalist gifts as well as his harmony skills. The result is a wonderful, and well-deserved celebration of one of the most important and influential musicians of his generation.
Eight-time Grammy nominated saxophonist, Dave Koz, will be performing with special guests Mindi Abair, Gerald Albright and Richard Elliot in Columbia, MD at the 21st Annual Capital Jazz Fest on June 8 in support of his upcoming CD, Dave Koz and Friends Summer Horns, scheduled to be released on June 11.
Beth Hart arrived on the music scene at the tail end of the ’90s female singer/songwriter craze that gave us artists as diverse as Alanis Morissette, Cat Power and P.J. Harvey. It was Atlantic Records who made some of the biggest waves during period, releasing essential recordings by Tori Amos, Jewel and Julianna Hatfield, as well as queer women including Jill Sobule and Melissa Ferrick. The label was also responsible for a host of one-hit wonders (no offense intended) such as Toby Lightman, Donna Lewis, Kacey Crowley, Poe, Bif Naked, Mary Karlzen, and Hart herself.
2Cellos’ eponymous 2011 domestic debut disc was an immediately accessible crossover delight. The Croatian duo fiddled about with songs by Muse, U2, Nine Inch Nails and Kings of Leon, among others, finding a way to transform the tunes without turning them into a Hooked On Classics horror show. Expectations were high for their sophomore release In2ition (Masterworks) but to be fair, they’re just stringing us along. True, they do uncover nuances in the boring and repetitive Rihanna cut “We Found Love,” take rewarding liberties with Coldplay’s “Clocks” (featuring none other than Lang Lang on piano) and express themselves clearly on the original “Orient Express.” But some of their choices work against them. AC/DC’s “Highway to Hell” and the Police’s “Every Breath You Take” come off like a cross between elevator music and a high school recital. The addition of guest vocalists, particularly in the case of Elton John on Fleetwood Mac’s “Oh Well” and Glee’s Naya Rivera on Muse’s “Supermassive Black Hole,” are, well, super massive black holes. Here’s the thing, while a couple of the guest performers (Sky Ferreira on the Cher cover “Bang Bang” and a restrained Zucchero on “Il Libro Dell’Amore,” an Italian reading of The Magnetic Fields’ “The Book of Love”) don’t overpower the 2Cellos, next time out, they should trust their intuition, their (cat)gut feelings, and skip the guest stars.
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