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…


BGSU Arts Events through Oct. 5

Sept. 27 – The Faculty Artist Series presents Cole Burger on the piano. As a solo and collaborative pianist, Burger has performed throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia – including at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall, Rome’s Teatro di Marcello, the Romanian Athenaeum in Bucharest, the Goethe Institute in Bangkok, the American Cathedral in Paris, and the United States Ambassador’s home in Malaysia. The performance will begin at 8 p.m. in Bryan Recital Hall at the Moore Musical Arts Center. Free Sept. 28 – The International Film Series presents “Mad Detective” (2007, Hong Kong, 89 minutes, directed by Johnnie To and Wai Ka-Fai), with an introduction by Thomas Castillo, assistant professor in the Department of Theatre and Film. “Mad Detective”exemplifies the stylish visuals, spectacular violence and outrageous humor that have brought a worldwide cult following to Johnnie To and Wai Ka-Fai’s crime thriller collaborations. Forced into retirement for his erratic behavior, brilliant but possibly unhinged detective Chan Kwai-Bun is tapped by Inspector Ho Ka-On to lend his psychic abilities to solving a series of crimes. Kwai-Bun soon discovers that rather than dealing with one criminal, they must vanquish seven villainous spirits. The screening will begin at 7:30 p.m. at the Gish Film Theater located in Hanna Hall. Free Sept. 28 – The BGSU Wind Symphony will present its first concert of the season, featuring music by Jim Dooley, Paul Hindemith and Steven Mackey, who is one of the featured composers at the upcoming New Music and Art Festival, Oct. 18-21. The performance begins at 8 p.m. in Kobacker Hall…


American Brass Quintet gets down to business during BGSU residency

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Even at the top of their game, the members of the American Brass Quintet still understand the importance of daily practice. John Rojak, the bass trombonist for the ensemble, said he started practicing for four hours a day back when he was an undergraduate, and he’s just now easing off on that routine. Not that it’s easy given the musicians’ heavy workloads as teachers, freelance performers, and members of a pioneering brass ensemble. The American Brass Quintet has been in residence at Bowling Green State University since Wednesday as guests of the Hansen Musical Arts Series. They’ve performed a mini-recital, held instrumental classes, coached, and consulted with student composers. Their visit will culminate tonight (Friday, Sept. 22) with a free concert at 8 p.m. in Kobacker Hall in the Moore Musical Arts Center. On Thursday afternoon they met with students to talk about the business side of music. While the quintet represents the core of their work artistically, it is just part of how they earn their livings. They all play in a variety of settings, from chamber orchestras such as Orchestra of St. Luke’s or the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra to Broadway shows. Rojak spent years in the pit of “Les Miserables.” Those hours in the practice room at what was then Lowell State College were the bass trombonist’s launching pad. Lowell State was his “safety school” and he was playing so he could get out. He ended up transferring to the Juilliard School…


Bent Frequency to perform Elainie Lillios composition at BGSU concert

From the BGSU OFFICE OF MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS Innovative saxophone and percussion duo Bent Frequency will perform at Bowling Green State University Sept. 25 as part of the Music at the Forefront concert series sponsored by BGSU’s MidAmerican Center for Contemporary Music. The 8 p.m.concert in Bryan Recital Hall at the Moore Musical Arts Center is free and open to the public. The duo of percussionist Stuart Gerber and saxophonist Jan Berry Baker will perform “ Hazy Moonlight” by composer Dr. Elainie Lillios, a professor of music composition in the College of Musical Arts. in Lillios received a highly competitive 2016 Barlow Endowment Commission for Music Composition to write a work specifically for Bent Frequency, and has collaborated closely with Gerber and Baker on the piece. (See a story on the commission here.) The duo are known for cutting-edge new music and have commissioned more than 20 works and given numerous performances of this new repertoire across the United States, Mexico and Europe since 2014. The Lillios composition will not be the first Barlow commission to be performed by Bent Frequency, who have also premiered one by composer Mark Engebretson. Their work is international in scope, including commissions from seven American composers and two European composers. In 2015-16 they premiered a composition by Laurent Durupt funded by a grant from the French American Cultural Exchange, along with works by several others. In addition to the work by Lillios, their 2017-18 agenda features commissions by John Liberatore and Zack Browning. Music at the Forefront…


Toledo Symphony expands TSO in HD offerings

From TOLEDO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA The Toledo Symphony announced on Wednesday that it will expand its popular TSO in HD program to its entire Classics series at the Toledo Museum of Art’s Peristyle Theatre for the upcoming 2017-2018 season. The expansion is made possible by a major grant from Buckeye Broadband. The TSO in HD program installs large, high-definition screens on either side of the Peristyle stage. This allows audiences to view live footage of the concert as the orchestra performs. Close- up shots follow major themes in the music and reveal rare, on-stage perspectives to concertgoers. The technology debuted in 2015 at a special Gala featuring world-renowned violinist, Joshua Bell. Audiences will next have the opportunity to see TSO in HD in action at the orchestra’s opening weekend, September 29 and 30, 2017, at the Peristyle. At each concert, the Toledo Symphony’s Chief Artistic Officer and President Emeritus, Robert Bell, will work with a team of producers and on-stage cameramen from WGTE Public Media. Together, the team works from a conductor’s score and cues the cameras to create the real-time video feed. Due to the high costs of labor and technology, current funding allows the Toledo Symphony to provide TSO in HD at just one Classics weekend and three educational programs each season. Thanks to a grant from Buckeye Broadband, the Toledo Symphony will be able to present TSO in HD at all of its Classics performances at the Peristyle, from September 2017 to May 2018. “Buckeye is proud to…


KEAR here to surround BGSU with electro-acoustic sound

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Joe Klingler didn’t spend a lot of time at Bowling Green State University. He studied composition with Marilyn Shrude for a year, 1990-1991, as well as taking courses with Burton Beerman. He already had several degrees in engineering and music from the University of Toledo and then founded a software company. That pulled him away from his graduate studies in music, and deeper in the world of technology. Now he lives in California and writes thrillers. Not surprisingly, those always have a musician as a character and technology figuring in the plot. He’s still plugged into BGSU. Five years ago, at the suggestion of BGSU composition professor and electro-acoustic composer Elainie Lillios, Klingler funded a residency program for composers of electro-acoustic composers. Once n fall and once in spring, a composer will come and spend two weeks on campus, working in the university’s Multichannel Ambisonic studio and working with composition students. Klingler says he’s a strong believer in the importance of these personal relationships in education. This weekend the BGSU College of Musical Arts is celebrating the fifth anniversary of the founding with performances and workshops. The event culminates tonight (Saturday, Sept. 16) with a concert in Kobacker Hall featuring work by the eight composers who have been residents as part of the Klingler Electro-Acoustic Residency. The composers are: Adam Basanta, Brad Garton, John Young, Jonty Harrison, James Andean, Louise Harris, Adrian Moore, and Robert Normandeau. Most of the compositions, Lillios said, will be…


Trumpeter Kevin Cobb returns to his BG roots with American Brass Quintet

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News When trumpeter Kevin Cobb takes the stage with the American Brass Quintet next week it won’t be the first time he’s played brass chamber music in Bowling Green. The Bowling Green native got a chance to play with the Tower Brass as a teenager. His teacher was Marty Porter, a member of the quintet. Now he’s returns as a member of one of the world’s most esteemed brass ensembles. The American Brass will be in residence at Bowling Green State University Wednesday, Sept. 20 through Friday, Sept. 22. The ensemble’s visit will be capped with a free concert in Kobacker Hall Friday at 8 p.m. The visit is part of the Hansen Musical Arts Series. Cobb, 46, joined the 57-year-old ensemble in 1998. The American Brass sets itself off from more popular quintets, the Empire and the Canadian, by its dedication to playing only music written for brass in five voices, Cobb said. Early on, he said, there was “a split” between members who wanted to play ragtime and other accessible forms, and those who wanted to focus exclusively to brass quintet repertoire. The latter faction won. That means it plays early music and contemporary music. From the beginning, the American Brass has been active in commissioning music by new composers. The ensemble also sets itself apart by using a bass trombone, not tuba, as its lowest voice. The founders felt that the bass trombone’s lighter sound was more akin to the sound of…


Local acts at home on art festival’s Main Stage

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent Media In celebrating its 25th year, the Black Swamp Arts Festival is putting local talent center stage. Each day this weekend, a local act will open up on the Main Stage. Opening up the festival on Friday (Sept. 8) will be Matt Truman Ego Trip with a show at 5 p.m. Saturday, the BiGBand BG kicks things off at noon followed by Toledo bluesman Bobby G at 1:20. (Read profile. ). And Tom Gorman returns for his 25th year on Sunday. Truman’s no stranger to the festival. In recent years it’s been his children who have been involved, including performing with the Horizon Youth Theatre. “The kids love it.” But in the festival’s early years, a teen-aged Truman performed. In 1995 it was with the Jinkies on the Community Commons Stage, and then a couple years later he was on the Main Stage with Jackie-O. The details of those long-ago gigs are faint, except he remembers with Jackie-O playing with the sun in their faces. Not a common situation for a bar band. Truman is a veteran of the local music scene. Growing up outside of Pemberville he and his brother Ted were involved in various groups that played on the Bowling Green scene. Truman started playing saxophone in fifth grade band and guitar about the same time. Early on they played in various garage bands. They even had a dual-well cassette player which they used to record. “That’s when you realize it’s easier to…


Nikki Hill ready to rock the Black Swamp Arts Festival to the end

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Nikki Hill is no stranger to Bowling Green. Since she and her husband, guitarist Matt Hill, first hit the road as a duo in 2012, they’ve stopped here twice. Once for a show at Grounds for Thought, just as they were pulling their band together and then in 2014 in prime time Friday on the Main Stage at the Black Swamp Arts Festival. Unfortunately, the festival audience just got a taste of her sound, as she was upstaged by a storm. What listeners missed was a sound that mixes soul with hard rock and taste of classic rhythm ‘n’ blues, all built on a gospel foundation. Hill got her start as a child in North Carolina singing in church choir. “That’s about the best training you can get. It’s a great place to develop your voice,” she said before her 2014 festival performance. She also experimented with punk and even old-time music. She didn’t intend to become a professional musician. She was working as a physical trainer. But her husband a professional musician heard something special in her voice, something they could share with a broader audience. That’s exactly what they’ve endeavored to do since 2012. Since her festival show, Hill has released her second recording “Heavy Heart, Hard Fists” in 2015. The recording is another stop on Hill’s evolution as a songwriter. That’ll be on display when Hill closes out the festival on the Main Stage Sunday, Sept. 10, at 3:30 p.m. Cole…


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…


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…


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…


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…


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,…


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…