Music

Master guitarist John Scofield brings street smarts to class at BGSU

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News For jazz guitarist John Scofield was coming up as a teenager in Connecticut in the late 1960s, his classrooms were the Fillmore East, the Village Vanguard and other New York City music hotspots. His teachers were the stars on stage, Jimi Hendrix, Thelonious Monk, B.B. King, and Miles Davis. His school bus was the train into the city and then back where his parents were waiting to pick him up at 1 a.m. the next morning. They were all maybe a little naïve, he conceded. “It was dangerous.” But he’s survived to become part of the scene, and one of the most respected guitarists in music, playing straight-ahead and groove-based jazz. On Saturday he’ll travel to Bowling Green State University to headline the Orchard Guitar Festival. Scofield studied guitar from the time he was 11. He studied all styles. His first love was the blues, but he didn’t see a place for himself in the blues. Instead after his guitar teacher introduced him to jazz, he headed down that path. Yes, there was a stage band back in his high school, but “it was pretty bad.” He only knew one person in his town who played jazz, a teacher who played piano on the side. Unlike now when jazz has become an academic subject, then it was a music of the streets. When it came time for him to go to college, there was only one option to study jazz guitar, Berklee College of Music in Boston. Scofield joined a long line of noted musicians for whom the school was a way station. After…

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Young jazz composer unveils adventurous project at museum concert

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Jazz from a new generation will be featured at the Toledo Museum of Art Friday when Bowling Green State University grad Galen Bundy presents his Project 206 in concert. The concert will mark the release of composer and keyboardist Bundy’s first recording “Struggle is Joy.” The show is Friday from 6:30-8:30 p.m. in the museum’s Glass Pavilion. Bundy, 24, will be joined on stage by some of his peers from the area Ben Wolkins, trumpet,  David Mirarchi, alto and baritone saxophones, Johannes Ronquillo, bass, and Travis Aukerman, drums. Together they explore free jazz within an electronic soundscape. Some of the music, Bundy said, is highly structured, and through composed. Other pieces adhere to the traditional heads-solo format typical of mainstream jazz. He was influenced by the use of electronics by jazz artists Donny McCaslin and David Binney. The sound of Project 206 has echoes of Miles Davis’ early electronic experiments, the free jazz of Ornette Coleman, and the genre-defying work of Flying Lotus. They grow out of Bundy’s experience at BGSU where some of these pieces were conceived. A jazz piano major he did collaborate with musicians in the university’s fertile new music scene. The Project 206 also reflects his love of film music, particularly that of Hans Zimmer that “mirrors live action with a lot of fast changes.” Bundy selected his fellow musicians for this project who could handle the musical and technical challenges. That includes Mirarchi, currently a student at BGSU. He and Bundy played in the university’s top big band and in small ensembles. Aukerman and Ronquillo are products of the…


Birds of Chicago come home to roost at Black Swamp Arts Festival

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News JT Nero seems to have his head in the clouds when it comes to bands. He used to lead a band called JT and the Clouds, and that has morphed into Birds of Chicago. The music that band produces, though, is firmly rooted on land, an earthy sound that emerges from the fertile soil of the American musical landscape, gospel, folk, country, and more. And his songs are given voice by Allison Russell, who possesses a voice more than equal to the task of inhabiting the songs’ varied terrains. They’ve dubbed their sound “secular gospel,” and the tag fits. The music is redolent of the spirit and the streets. It has its shadows and foreboding, lightened by moments of joy. Local music lovers will get a chance to experience the sound when the Birds of Chicago alight at the Black Swamp Arts Festival for two sets on Saturday, Sept. 9. The Chicago-based band will perform at 1:30 p.m. show on the Family Stage before moving over the Main Stage for a 4:30 p.m. set. Nero said the festival has been on his radar for a number of years. That’s not surprising. Raised in Toledo, he started playing at venues in Bowling Green in the 1990s with The Rivermen. He moved to San Francisco. That’s where he first met Russell, who was based in Vancouver, British Columbia, through mutual friends on the music scene. Russell was working with her band Po’ Girl. After Nero moved to Chicago, they remained in touch. JT and the Clouds would host them in the city hooking them up with…


The Hiders emerge from “batcave” to rock out at Black Swamp Arts Festival

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The Hiders are really something of homebodies. When asked about the band’s touring, founder William Alletzhauser said “we haven’t been touring a lot lately.” Families, day jobs, businesses, and other musical commitments makes hitting the road problematic. “We temper our expectations in that department.” Instead they work their home scene in Cincinnati, and continue to produce recordings on their own studio, “the batcave,” that are heard around the world. “For us it’s more about the adventure of writing and recording. That’s what’s most exciting.” So getting a chance to see The Hiders at the Black Swamp Arts Festival should be a treat for music lovers. The Hiders will play on the Main Stage Friday, Sept. 8, at 6:30 p.m. before heading down to Howard’s Club H for an after-hours show. Alletzhauser said labeling the band has proved tricky, given it has elements of folk and psychedelia, mixed with country and classic rock, telling dark stories from the Americana underbelly. To Alletzhauser that all just means The Hiders is a rock band, true to what that meant in the 1970s, not that the band sees itself as a throwback. Rather it’s a contemporary amalgamation of Alletzhauser’s musical history. That goes back to getting a hand-me-down guitar that his older sister decided she didn’t want. As a teenager in the 1980s, Alletzhauser go involved in Cincy’s burgeoning hard core scene. “We liked the idea having a band,” he said. That meant writing their own songs. He continued writing as he moved from band to band, culminating with Ass Ponys, an alt country outfit that toured nationally….


Whitehorse rides into arts fest for Sunday sets

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Luke Doucet and Melissa McClelland started out as musical collaborators playing in bands together and working on each other’s projects. “Our relationship was strictly professional … for weeks,” Doucet quipped. “Our relationship was very close, very intimate early on. We found each other.” That was about 14 years ago, and now Doucet is talking on the telephone with their 3-year-old son in the background. He wants a boat ride, Doucet said. For years, Doucet and McClelland continued on their separate careers as solo artists and “hired guns,” though they worked together as much as they could. Then six years ago, tired of their schedules pulling them apart, they formed Whitehorse, a musical act informed both by their long musical and personal relationship Whitehorse will perform at the Black Swamp Arts Festival, Sunday Sept. 11, at 12:30 p.m. on the Main Stage and then at 2:45 as the penultimate act on the Family Stage. Reflecting on those early years, Doucet said “our musical lives were very confused.” They were including each other so much in their own bands that when their schedules didn’t allow them to play together, their fans would ask where the missing party was. They also toured together with fellow Canadian Sarah McLachlan. Doucet had been backing the star for a while. As McLachlan’s backup singers came and went, he suggested he knew someone. “She rolled her eyes and told me: ‘I’m not hiring your girlfriend,’” Doucet recalls. Then a backup singer left just as McLachlan was heading off on a short tour with Pete Seeger. She relented. McClelland joined the band…


Stars align at BGSU as College of Music welcomes famed guest artists

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The Bowling Green State University College of Musical Arts has some special acts in the wings. Lindsay Gross, the college’s manager of public-community relations, can’t help but show her own enthusiasm for what’s in store for the coming academic year – five internationally acclaimed artists who will share their gifts with the community. And all the events related to these residencies are open to public for free. Why wouldn’t Gross be excited? She’s a jazz bass trombonist, and the first guest in September is the American Brass Quintet, a pioneering ensemble that uses bass trombone, not tuba, as its lowest voice. And closing run of guest artists during Jazz Week in late March will be Maria Schneider, the most esteemed living composer for large jazz ensemble. Schneider has won Grammys not only for her jazz work but also for her arrangement on David Bowie’s song “Sue.” And for her collaboration with soprano Dawn Upshaw, who will visit BGSU a week before she arrives. Visits scheduled are: American Brass Quintet, residency Sept.20-22, with a concert Sept. 22 at 8 p.m. Jazz guitarist John Scofield, Sept. 30, a master class and concert at 8 p.m. as part of the two-day Orchard Guitar Festival that starts Sept.29. Opera composer Jake Heggie, keynote lecture at 8 p.m. on Oct. 22 and residency Oct. 23-24, as part of the Edwin H. Simmons Creative Mind Series. Vocal superstar Dawn Upshaw, recital March 18 at 8 p.m. and residency March 19-20, as the Helen McMaster Professorship in Vocal and Choral Arts. Maria Schneider, residency from March 28-30, with a concert March…


Molsky’s Mountain Drifters to take the sound of the Appalachians to new heights at Black Swamp Arts Festival

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News When Bruce Molsky first dug into old-time mountain music, he was a college dropout. He’d gone off to Cornell to be an architect and instead he ended up washing dishes in the bar and grille that hosted old-time music sessions. Having started playing folk music in his native New York, he joined in. “The old-time music really resonated with me,” Molsky said in a recent telephone interview. “It still does.” Some 40 years later, the 62-year-old fiddler, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist has formed Molsky’s Mountain Drifters with two musicians half his age, but with the same devotion to that evocative mountain sound. Alisson de Groot, who plays claw hammer banjo, and Stash Wyslouch, guitar, are college graduates. Both attended the Berklee College of Music in Boston, where Molsky, describes himself as “primarily an ear player,” teaches in the Roots Music Department. Now it’s Molsky’s turn to pass on all he learned from the old-timers he jammed with. Molsky’s Mountain Drifters will play two sets at the Black Swamp Arts Festival, Sunday, Sept.10. They’ll perform on the Main Stage at 2 p.m. followed by a 4 p.m. show on the acoustic stage. Molsky said he’s looking forward to coming to Bowling Green. “I like those kind of festivals that have the public walking around going from place to place and enjoying the town.” The social aspect of the music is part of what attracted him. “As a folk musician you better be the kind of person who enjoys meeting new people,” he said. Growing up in the Bronx, he listened to the radio since he was…