Friday, October 23, 2020

Tucson Jazz Festival 2021 lineup announced

Posted By on Fri, Oct 23, 2020 at 2:29 PM


The two-day lineup has been announced for the 2021 Tucson Jazz Festival, which will take place Saturday and Sunday, March 20-21, on the main outdoor stage at Armory Park, 220 S. Fifth Ave.

Saturday will include performances by Nayo Jones, Ghost-Note, Cory Wong, and Dirty Loops. Sunday will feature Pacific Mambo Orchestra, Marcus Miller, Dave Grusin + Lee Ritenour, and St. Paul & The Broken Bones.

Social distancing protocols will be instituted throughout the festival, and face masks will be required for all attendees. Reservations for tickets to the 2021 Tucson Jazz Festival are now available.

The following artist info is from the Tucson Jazz Festival:

1 p.m., March 20
Nayo Jones (pronounced Nīyō) is the Chicago-born jazz vocalist based in New Orleans, where she regularly performs with her band, The Nayo Jones Experience. Her vocal range has been compared to Natalie Cole, Nancy Wilson and Whitney Houston. Annually, she can be seen at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and French Quarter Fest. She has toured with Kermit Ruffins as the featured vocalist, headlined at various jazz festivals and most recently joined forces with the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra.

3 p.m., March 20
Ghost-Note is a band with an explosion of sound pushing funk music into the future. Building on the uplifting, pioneering foundations laid out by James Brown and Sly & The Family Stone, they infuse their music with tastes of Afrobeat, hip-hop, psychedelia and more. The band creates seductive, danceable grooves and offers a contagious feel-good energy to ensure their audiences “let loose and connect.” 

CORY WONG with Special Guest CODY FRY
5 p.m., March 20
Cory Wong considers himself music’s answer to motivational speakers like Tony Robbins. The NY-born, Minneapolis-raised guitarist attended the University of Minnesota and the McNally Smith College of Music. With head-spinning rhythm guitar wizardry, technical ebullience, and laugh-out-loud jokes, he is both a sought-after collaborator and celebrated solo artist.

7 p.m., March 20
Stockholm, Sweden, band Dirty Loops are known for their jazz fusion re-harmonized covers of pop songs like "Baby" by Justin Bieber, "Rolling in the Deep" by Adele, and "Wake Me Up" by Avicii, but don’t let the pop covers fool you. These longtime friends and schoolmates borrow from jazz, jazz fusion, gospel, funk, electronica and disco.

1 p.m., March 21
After 10 years of due diligence, the Pacific Mambo Orchestra gained recognition with a crowd-funded, self-titled debut resulting in a GRAMMY for "Best Tropical Latin Album." This San Francisco based orchestra is leading the rebirth of Latin big band music, using the traditions of the classic mambo-craze orchestras of the '50s. While their repertoire consists of mostly original scores they also include clever arrangements of hit songs, performed in English and Spanish.

3 p.m., March 21
It is said that Marcus Miller has one of the most enviable careers in music, having performed, recorded and toured with legendary artists such as Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Aretha Franklin, Chaka Khan and Luther Vandross, in addition to working with various rock legends, hip hop icons and pop stars. Marcus Miller is a multi-instrumentalist, albeit primarily known as an electric bassist.

5 p.m., March 21
Dave Grusin, a 10-time Grammy winner, is a seven-decade music professional: pianist, arranger, composer, record producer and co-founder of GRP Records. Grusin is considered one of the top 10 film scorers of his generation, writing more than 60 film scores, including The Graduate, On Golden Pond and The Fabulous Baker Boys, and receiving eight Academy Award nominations and one Oscar.

Grammy winner Lee Ritenour has been a guitarist for six decades beginning with session work in the late '60s. It was in the studio with the Mamas and the Papas that he earned the nickname "Captain Fingers." He has garnered 19 Grammy nominations, #1 spots on guitar polls, a Lifetime Achievement Award from Canadian SJ Awards, Alumnus of the Year Award from USC and 35 chart songs from more than 40 releases.

7 p.m., March 21
Since forming in 2012, Alabama-based rock & roll soul band, St. Paul & The Broken Bones has released two albums, toured the world relentlessly, opened for the Rolling Stones, and appeared on Letterman. They have become a must-see performance due in part to frontman Paul Janeway’s fearless showmanship, thoughtful lyrics, and dedication to performance. Janeway is supported by co-band leader Jesse Phillips and a full eight-man roster of the best young instrumentalists in the South. 

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Get Your Crescent Ballroom Voter Guide Today!

Posted By on Thu, Oct 8, 2020 at 1:00 PM

Crescent Ballroom General Manager Angela Donato stands by a "vote" banner at the downtown Phoenix music venue. - MARIA LEKMAN
  • Maria Lekman
  • Crescent Ballroom General Manager Angela Donato stands by a "vote" banner at the downtown Phoenix music venue.

Although in-person concert venues remain silent during the pandemic, downtown Phoenix’s Crescent Ballroom is reverberating with information this election season.

Charlie Levy, who opened the popular music venue in 2011, has created a voter guide available on the venue’s website.

The guide, "Everything You Need to Know About Voting in 2020: An Easy Guide by Crescent Ballroom,” summarizes major statewide propositions, key election dates and the lay of the land when it comes to submitting a ballot this year.

“A lot of people were having questions about voting this year, so we set out to answer all those questions in a pretty easy-to-read format,” Levy said. “At Crescent, we really try to make it about community as much as music, so part of what we try to do to is make it part of the Arizona community.”

Continue reading »

Friday, September 25, 2020

Tucson Musicians Museum Presents 15th Annual 'Celebration of Music and Culture'

Posted By on Fri, Sep 25, 2020 at 2:30 PM


On Saturday, Sept. 26, the Tucson Musicians Museum will host its 15th annual Celebration of Music and Culture online. While this is the first time the fundraiser will be entirely virtual, they're sticking with the theme of honoring local music figures who have "generously given of their time and talents to the TMM’s Mentorship Program for young people in the community."

The 2020 honorees are Ed Alexander, Bruce Halper, Frances Clary Covington, Crystal Stark, Nancy McCallion, Catherine Zavala and Robert E. Zucker. In addition, TMM will honor Adrian Negrette, a former student of the Mentor Program, as the Up and Coming Musician of the Year.

Funds raised through the celebration are used to help purchase instruments and books for students and for financial compensation to musicians working as mentors. The evening will include performances, the honoree ceremony and presentations by guest speakers including Bud Foster, Hana Tiede, Mark Irvin and former mayor Jonathan Rothschild.

TMM's mission is also to "further assist in the preservation of Tucson's sound by matching qualified professional musicians as mentors with qualified young musicians, who might otherwise be unable to afford such guidance."

The induction ceremony takes place from 7 to 9 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 26 from the Tucson Musicians Museum's website. For more information, visit the event page.

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Hotel Congress to Reopen Oct. 1

Posted By on Tue, Sep 22, 2020 at 10:45 AM

  • Courtesy photo
The cornerstone of downtown's culture scene is reopening on Thursday, Oct. 1 after more than six months of pandemic shuttering. While their doors have been closed, Hotel Congress announced they've kept busy by working on a new menu for their Cup Café, a new cocktail list for the Hotel Congress, and a calendar of upcoming live music.

"Every city and every neighborhood loses an essential part of itself when local history and culture are lost," says Hotel Congress owners Shana and Richard Oseran in letter to the community. "But the Cup Cafe, Club Congress, Copper Hall and 40 hotel rooms will soon be back and better than ever. The cultural hub will once again serve the community, which holds the true ownership of this historic landmark."

With the reopening comes a series of new events in the Congress plaza: Rhythm & Roots Taco Tuesday features Americana music and tacos from 6:30 to 10 p.m.; Soul Food Wednesday runs from 7 p.m. to midnight; and Blues & BBQ runs Sundays from 4 to 8 p.m.

Cup Café's new menu includes vegan breakfast tacos, mussels, hemp tamales and cauliflower tacos. Hotel Congress' new cocktails include specialty martinis, sidecars, margaritas and Manhattans. Cup Café now also features a Bloody Mary bar from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.

For more information, visit

Friday, September 18, 2020

XIXA announces second album with single "Genesis Of Gaea"

Posted By on Fri, Sep 18, 2020 at 3:00 PM


Tucson's favorite darkly psychedelic caballeros are back with the lead single to their second LP Genesis, set to release Feb. 19, 2021. While the new single "Genesis of Gaea" covers similar ground to their previous work – a smoky combination of rock, cumbia and psychedelia – the track lingers more with layered vocals and subtle piano.

But perhaps most exciting is a hint at a narrative theme for the full album. "Genesis of Gaea" features a wild visualizer of archaic symbols both religious and mathematical, fitting with the song's lyrics about water and wine, tearing and ascension.

“The song has a sort of latent uneasiness, a darkness to contrast the melodic passages,” said XIXA co-bandleader and songwriter Brian Lopez. “The song also delves into the Art of Deception as a means to sow disorder and chaos, the age old battle of good and evil, that’s a thematic cloud throughout the entire album and surely a relevant topic in today's current affairs.”

According to the band, the new album will see them delving deeper into Peruvian chicha, extracting and refining their core, and giving voice to their most primal instincts – perfect for a mystical night lost in the warm borderlands.

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Serena Gabriel heals with ambience on 'Inanna's Dream'

Posted By on Thu, Sep 17, 2020 at 1:00 PM

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A new collaboration between two Tucson musicians serves as a welcome reprieve from the lingering summer. Inanna’s Dream by Tucsonan Serena Gabriel was composed as an “ambient sonic odyssey,” drifting between the worlds of new age, drone and electronic music. Inanna’s Dream is the premiere release on the Soundquest Music label, formed by local ambient pioneer Steve Roach, who is featured on multiple tracks.

While the album features several hallmarks of Roach’s style – sweeping synthesizer notes, tribal percussion fused with ambient tones, a massive yet meditative atmosphere – Gabriel makes the album unique with her hypnotic vocals and a combination of acoustic and electronic instruments.

With a goal of interweaving ancient musical instrumentation and modern technology, Gabriel touches on feelings of vulnerability as well as rapture. She accomplished this through cool yet mantric performances on the harmonium, flute, lyre and dholak drum. In usual style, Roach contributes his expertly layered atmospheres performed on a score of keyboards.

The album’s highlight is “The Song of Sending,” which features all the elements that make Inanna’s Dream unique. A calm harmonium is infused with Gabriel’s airy vocals and steady percussion. Several layers build as the drones grow darker, yet remain subtle as incense smoke. “The Gazing Pool” is another treat, with strings panning back and forth on top of reverberated tones like drops of water.

It should be noted, however, this album really is for fans of ambient music; multiple tracks stretch past the 10-minute mark, with the album’s culmination “Changing Tides” drifting on for the better part of an hour.

According to Soundquest Music, Gabriel is a musician, dancer, healing arts practitioner and medicine music provider, whose aspiration is that her dedication to the vast potential of sound for positive transformation can be experienced through the essence of the musical offerings she creates.

It’s fitting that the project’s name references Inanna, the Sumerian goddess of love and sensuality, but also war, because the album is as soothing and hypnotic as it is immense. 

Friday, August 21, 2020

Steve Roach hosting livestream concert this weekend

Posted By on Fri, Aug 21, 2020 at 2:02 PM

  • Courtesy photo
Tucson's resident soundscaper Steve Roach is hosting an "ultra-intimate" concert stream this Saturday on both YouTube and Facebook. This will be the first in a series of virtual concerts until the world opens back up for live performances. And after the show, Roach will host a Q&A about his music.

A longtime Tucson resident, Roach is a pioneering figure in modern ambient and electronic music. Over more than three decades, he's experimented with spacious drones, tribal rhythms and futuristic synthesizers, occasionally blending all these styles together.

His exploratory art has landed him multiple accolades, including two Grammy nominations. He's also performed his trance-inducing music at Tucson's All Souls Procession closing ceremony.

Read our review of Roach's album Trance Archaeology on our best local albums of 2019 list.

The livestream beings at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 22.

Monday, August 10, 2020

Now Stream This: It's About Time the Go-Go's Got a Documentary!

Posted By on Mon, Aug 10, 2020 at 1:00 PM

I’ve been bitching about the Go-Go’s not being in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for years. They, along with Pete Townshend solo, Smashing Pumpkins and Tommy James and the Shondells should’ve been first-ballot inductees, but nope, Bon Jovi is in there instead.

Now that I’ve ranted, let me tell you about The Go-Go’s, a super fine documentary from director Alison Ellwood that covers the band from their punk rock days up until the present. Yes, the group only had four albums, but when you are talking about trailblazers, you have to put the Go-Go's at the forefront of rock and roll history.

The first all-girl band that played their own instruments to have a number one album (the classic Beauty and the Beat) started from the L.A. punk rock scene, and they were one sloppy band. Belinda Carlisle, Jane Wiedlin, Charlotte Caffey started in the original group, with bassist Kathy Valentine and drummer Gina Schock starting soon thereafter. After witnessing a totally shitty Sex Pistols show, the girls decided that they should tighten up their act, and the pristine pop sounds of “Our Lips Are Sealed” and “We Got the Beat” soon arrived.

Ellwood, with full participation from the band, culls together great archival audio and video, along with fun interviews, to tell their stories. Caffey’s drug addiction, Schock’s health scare, and Wiedlin pulling a Pete Townshend and temporarily leaving the band did a lot to stall their momentum, but they have reformed many times over the years. They had a Broadway show before the pandemic, and current plans for more touring and music, so they have not called it quits.

And, as this film proves over and over again, it’s time the band gets their place in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame if that institution wants to be regarded as anything close to relevant. They were the first, they were one of the best, and their music is timeless. Long live the Go-Go's!

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