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Jun
19
Wed
THE LEMON TWIGS with BOA CONSTRICTORS
Jun 19 @ 8:00 pm

THE LEMON TWIGS

Do Hollywood, The Lemon Twigs’ 2016 debut LP, was an invigorating, much-needed blast of fresh air that whipped across the arid landscape of contemporary rock. If that stunningly accomplished recording, which flew in the face of current musical trends, wasn’t surprising enough on the face of it, the fact that Do Hollywood was the handiwork of two teenagers—brothers Brian and Michael D’Addario—rendered the achievement utterly mind-boggling. Now, with the follow-up full-length, Go to School (4AD, Aug. 24), the siblings, now 21 and 19, respectively, have set the bar dizzyingly high even by their own lofty standards, and proceed to soar over it into the stratosphere. Listening to this wildly ambitious album is like entering and inhabiting a parallel universe.     Go to School’s subtitle is A Musical, and that turns out to be an accurate description of the 15-song extravaganza, which tells the tale of the pure-of-heart chimpanzee Shane, who’s adopted by a childless couple—played by the brothers’ musical hero Todd Rundgren and their mom, Susan Hall—and raised as a human boy. Michael describes Go to School as “a fairy tale with a dark edge,” as Shane is ostracized, bullied and rejected by the girl he falls for, erupts in an extreme act of retribution for being robbed of his innocence. The libretto is played out in a series of intricate, wildly eclectic musical settings ranging from spot-on throwback rockers to traditional Broadway-style production numbers.         “We had enough songs to work on a straight-pop, more obviously autobiographical album—which didn’t feel like much of a risk—or this one,” Brian says of the decision-making that set them off in this envelope-ripping direction. “These [Go to School] songs come from the same place our autobiographical songs come from, so we decided to trust our instincts and to really commit to making it a musical.”

www.thelemontwigs.com

BOA CONSTRICTORS

Start Time: 8:00

Boa Constrictors is Joe Astle.  Joe Astle is an American Rock musician from Buena Park California who records and performs under the name Boa Constrictors. He has recorded several albums in his parent’s garage for the past decade and a half.  He performs live with his two brothers Jethro and James and their good friend Harley Hill-Richmond from London.

 

www.boasforever.com

Jun
21
Fri
Transient Canvas – Concert at Charlotte New Music Festival
Jun 21 @ 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm

The Charlotte New Music Festival is proud to present Transient Canvas, featuring premieres by the following composers on this evening: Marti Epstein, Charles Nichols, Ashby Brown, Marina Lopez, Jonathan Rome, Stephen Brown, Hannah Rice, and Katie Lee.

Transient Canvas

Praised by the Boston Globe as ‘superb’, Amy Advocat and Matt Sharrock have been blazing their own trail as the bass clarinet/marimba duo Transient Canvas since 2011. In that time they have premiered over 80 pieces and continue to perform across the United States and abroad. They have been presented by the Alba Music Festival (Alba, Italy), Music at the Forefront (Bowling Green, OH),  Composers, Inc. (San Francisco, CA), New Music at the Short North Stage (Columbus, OH), and Music on the Edge (Pittsburgh, PA), among others. Additionally, they have held residencies with the composition departments at Harvard, Northeastern, Brandeis, Otterbein, and Tufts Universities, the University of Georgia, the Vermont College of Fine Arts, and the Boston Conservatory at Berklee. They have two albums, Sift and Wired, both released on New Focus Recordings. Transient Canvas proudly endorses Henri Selmer Paris and Marimba One. For more information, visit www.transientcanvas.com. 

$5 Students / $10 General Admission.

 

Charlotte New Music’s Mission:

To promote contemporary classical music through unique educational experiences, compelling performances, and innovative collaborations across artistic disciplines.   As of late 2016, we have proudly presented over 65 concerts full of premieres for contemporary classical music, and 11 concerts premiering new music and dance collaborations. For the 6th year in a row, we are happy to welcome composers, musicians, choreographers, and dancers from all over the world to the CNMF community!
 

 

RUNAWAY GIN – A Tribute To Phish
Jun 21 @ 11:30 pm

RUNAWAY GIN – A Tribute To Phish – Phish After Party

With over 290 shows performed since their inception in 2014, Runaway Gin is the World’s Most Active Phish Tribute Band. On July 4th, 2015, after the second show of the Grateful Dead GD50 run, Runaway Gin sold out the Hard Rock Cafe in Chicago and catapulting them from a Southeastern regional act onto the National scene.

The members of Runaway Gin are long time Phish fans who have united with the goal of creating musical moments inspired by Phish. The band’s song list is constantly growing and their improvisational and communication skills are constantly developing independently and together. Like Phish, Runaway Gin will never play the same show or jam the same way twice making every show a unique experience and every moment pure artistic creation.

Early Bird Tickets $12, Advanced Tickets $15, Day of show $20

www.atributetophish.com

Jun
23
Sun
HAYES CARLL with BEN DICKEY
Jun 23 @ 8:00 pm

HAYES CARLL

The chorus to the title track on the new Hayes Carll album, What It Is, is a manifesto.  What it was is gone forever / What it could be God only knows. What it is is right here in front of me / and I’m not letting go. He’s embracing the moment. Leaving the past where it belongs, accepting there’s no way to know what’s ahead, and challenging himself to be present in both love and life. It’s heady stuff. It also rocks. With a career full of critical acclaim and popular success, Carll could’ve played it safe on this, his sixth record, but he didn’t. The result is a musically ambitious and lyrically deep statement of an artist in his creative prime. Hayes Carll’s list of accomplishments is long. His third album, 2008’s Trouble In Mind, earned him an Americana Music Association Award for  Song of the Year (for “She Left Me for Jesus”). The follow-up, KMAG YOYO was the most played album on the Americana Chart in 2011 and spawned covers by artists as varied as Hard Working Americans and Lee Ann Womack, whose version of ‘Chances Are’ garnered Carll a Grammy nomination for Best Country Song. 2016’s Lovers and Leavers swept the Austin Music Awards, and was his fourth record in a row to reach #1 on the Americana Airplay chart.  Kelly Willis and Kenny Chesney have chosen to record his songs and his television appearances include The Tonight Show, Austin City Limits, and Later w/Jools Holland. Carll is the rare artist who can rock a packed dancehall one night and hold a listening room at rapt attention the next.  “Repeating myself creatively would ultimately leave me empty. Covering new ground, exploring, and taking chances gives me juice and keeps me interested.” He knew he wanted to find the next level. On What It Is, he clearly has.  It wasn’t necessarily easy to get there. Carll’s last release, 2016’s Lovers and Leavers was an artistic and commercial risk — a bold move which eschewed the tempo and humor of much of his previous work. The record revealed a more serious singer-songwriter dealing with more serious subjects — divorce, new love in the middle of life, parenting, the worth of work. What It Is finds him now on the other side, revived and happy, but resolute — no longer under the impression that any of it comes for free. “I want to dig in so this life doesn’t just pass me by. The more engaged I am the more meaning it all has. I want that to be reflected in the work.” And meaning there is. Carll sings “but I try because I want to,” on the album’s opening track, “None’Ya.” He’s not looking back lamenting love lost, rather, finding joy and purpose in the one he’s got and hanging on to the woman who sometimes leaves him delightedly scratching his head. “If I May Be So Bold,” finds him standing on similar ground  — lyrically taking on the challenge of participating fully in life rather than discontentedly letting life happen.  Bold enough to not surrender bold enough to give a damn Bold enough to keep on going or to stay right where I am There’s a whole world out there waiting full of stories to be told I’ll heed the call and tell’em all if I may be so bold There’s no wishy washy here and he’s not on the sidelines. In fact, he’s neck-deep in life. On the rambunctious, fiddle-punctuated, “Times Like These,” he laments political division in America while delivering a rapid-fire plea to “do my labor, love my girl, and help my neighbor, while keeping all my joie de vivre.” Carll’s signature cleverness and aptitude for so-personal-you-might-miss-it political commentary is as strong as ever. The stark, “Fragile Men,” co-written with singer-songwriter Lolo, uses humor and dripping sarcasm to examine his gender’s resistance to change in less than three minutes of string-laden, almost Jacques Brel invoking drama. It’s new musical territory for Carll, and the result is powerful. His voice is strong and resonant on these songs, and it’s thrilling to hear him use it with a new authority. He is alternately commanding and tender, yet always soulful. Carll returned to trusted producer Brad Jones (producer of 2008’s Trouble in Mind and 2011’s KMAG YOYO) and Alex the Great Studio in Nashville, Tennessee, to record What It Is, and recruited singer-songwriter, author, and fiancee Allison Moorer as co-producer. The production is adventurous while keeping the focus on the singer and his songs and providing a path for him to go where he wants to go. Where that is, is forward. That’s evident in the songwriting. Carll continues to hone his singular voice, but is also a flexible co-writer. Matraca Berg, Charlie Mars, Adam Landry, and Moorer have co-writing credits here, but it was Moorer’s inspiration that provided the largest impact. “On the songwriting front she’s just a pro. She helps me cut through the noise and she does it with wit and style.” Carll’s own wit and style has never been more evident. Whether it’s with the put-you-in-picture detail of, “Beautiful Thing,” the not quite sheepish enough, dude-esque defense of dishonesty in, “Things You Don’t Wanna Know,” or the strong as a tree trunk declaration of love on, “I Will Stay,” he displays an increasing command of his poetic lexicon. Writers most often wrestle with experience and expectations, either romanticizing the past or telling us how good it’s going to be when they get where they’re going. What It Is is a record that is rooted solidly in the present, revealing an artist in the emotional and intellectual here and now. 

www.hayescarll.com

 


BEN DICKEY

Start Time: 8:00

 

For a guy whose career has evolved more by serendipity than design, Ben Dickey’s professional journey has turned into one heckuva ride. It’s not every day an obscure musician’s famous actor/ director friend hands him the lead in a passion-project indie film, and he not only winds up sharing the screen with one of his musical heroes, he also wins a Sundance Film Festival Special Jury Prize for Dramatic Achievement in Acting — and a Variety magazine “for your consideration” plug for a Best Actor Oscar nomination.  Dickey’s acting debut in Blaze, Ethan Hawke’s biopic about doomed Texas singer-songwriter Blaze Foley, has already led to more roles, including their pairing as bounty hunters in The Kid, a western directed by Vincent D’Onofrio. But just as exciting, as far as Dickey’s concerned, is the opportunity it provided to record with that musical hero, longtime Bob Dylan guitarist Charlie Sexton (who played Blaze’s other troubled Texas songwriting legend, Townes Van Zandt). After they did the film’s original cast recording (on Light in the Attic Records), Sexton produced Dickey’s solo album, A Glimmer on the Outskirts. That inspired Sexton, Hawke and Blazeexecutive producer Louis Black to form SexHawkeBlack Records, a new Austin-based imprint under the umbrella of Nashville’s Dualtone Records. Dickey’s March 7, 2019 release is the label’s first. It’s hardly Dickey’s first recording foray, however. In fact, he says, he preferred the idea of forming a label to shopping for one because he’d been signed before — and still bears scars from watching the dream morph into a momentum-sucking nightmare. But SexHawkeBlack president Erika Pinktipps happens to be friends with Dualtone’s founder; that connection quickly turned into an actual alliance. “We’re all doing this together,” Dickey says, “[it’s] a group of people who all care about each other and have similar artistic arrows pointed in the same direction.” Dickey was 10 when his artistic arrow started pointing toward music; that’s when his grandfather handed down his 1935 Gibson L-30 archtop. “He was a magical fellow, and his guitar is, too,” Dickey says. “So I wanted to be magic, too.”  Within a year, his grandfather was gone. The magic, fortunately, stayed. But conjuring it wasn’t always easy for a kid growing up in Little Rock, Arkansas, far from his dad — a college football star who’d moved to Georgia after the parental split, when Dickey was 4. Ten years later, Dickey’s mother left, too — following her friend and boss, Bill Clinton, from the Arkansas Governor’s Mansion to the White House. Dickey moved into his grandmother’s basement — and became one more angry, disaffected teenage rocker.  He formed his first “real” band, Shake Ray Turbine, at 16, made his first record at 17 and began touring at 18, ditching Little Rock Central High (most famous students: the Little Rock Nine) for an $850 Ford van. When the founder of their D.I.Y. label, File 13 Records, headed to Philadelphia for college, they followed. Dickey wound up staying for 17 years, becoming a chef, falling in love and making music, first with Amen Booze Rooster (the band that got signed, then shafted), then with Blood Feathers. That band recorded three albums, including one created over “a magical rock ‘n’ roll summer” at a Nova Scotia home Hawke owns. (Hawke’s wife and Dickey’s “sweetheart,” artist Beth Blofson, have been besties since childhood.) Several labels and a top management agency courted them, but some members’ changing priorities and Dickey’s label trauma scotched potential deals. Still, when Blood Feathers fractured, he was heartbroken. It was time for another change. Once again, a music connection provided it. The band’s former manager had returned to north Louisiana to run his dad’s cotton farm, and offered Dickey and Blofson a vacant house on the rural property. They’ve been frolicking in that cotton since 2014.  Before leaving Philly, however, Dickey devoted 81⁄2 months of Mondays (most chefs’ lone day off) to recording Sexy Birds & Salt Water Classics, his first solo album. Former Arkansas Times arts editor Robert Bell called it “impeccable rock ‘n’ roll … which effortlessly melds Dylan/Petty singer-songwriter tunes and a touch of T. Rex-y sheen with a peppering of country-blues guitar- picking of the first order.” Classics took Dickey in a folkier direction, which continues with A Glimmer on the Outskirts. ?With a broad, low-edged tenor, this 6-foot, 5-inch linebacker’s son sometimes sounds remarkably like Dylan. But while he claims to be influenced by all musical forms, including “mockingbird word, Marshall feedback stack, tap-dance prance, orbital odes and Dinah the dog” (a partial list), Dickey says he’s most attracted to cats like jump bluesmen Big Joe Turner and T-Bone Walker and especially, the phrasing of Piedmont/ragtime bluesman Blind Willie McTell.  “I’ve been doin’ an impersonation of him forever,” Dickey claims. “He takes joy in certain words, and the listener likes that. And I like that.” Of his own style, he says, “I reckon I play rock ‘n’ roll — emphasis on the roll.” “The roll” is about musicality and rhythm, he explains. It’s the unforced ease of big-band swing, or the way late guitarist Hubert Sumlin played before or after the beat, creating another rhythmic pattern. “Chuck Berry doing the first 16 bars of ‘Maybelline’ is a microinjection of what I consider rock ‘n’ roll. When I think of rock ‘n’ roll, I think of that; I think of the Stones; I think of the Beatles’ ‘I Feel Fine.’” The roll is all over A Glimmer on the Outskirts, most of which was written over a few days afterBlaze wrapped, except for “Eloise” and his easygoing, JJ Cale-like cover of Foley’s “Sittin’ By the Road.” “When I say wrote, I mean they just came,” Dickey clarifies. “They usually come in clusters.” That helps explain their thematic connection; the album, he says, is an exploration of hope. “Hope comes in different ways, and in little doses, like when you’re on the freeway and you’re hungry, and you see a sign for food,” he says. “It also comes when you’re chest deep in quicksand and you see someone coming with a rope.” In “Stranger on a Silver Horse (Be Amazed),” it comes “on the outskirts of town, like A Fistful of Dollars; a fixer or something.” In “Sing that One to Me,” hope takes the form of an adventure. Its lyrics directly mention that fixer, who appears again as Dickey explains the album title “refers to finding or remembering hope when all is lost, but there’s a light on the edge of town, or the edge of the galaxy. A fixer on the way.”  That’s not necessarily a divine metaphor, however. Celestial citations fill Dickey’s lyrics and conversation, but they’re mainly astronomical, not biblical (though he does debate what’s heaven and what’s hell in “I Think It’s All Different”). His favorite memory involves watching the Orionids meteor shower with his family when he was 3, and he admits, “My version of counting sheep is reading how fast Jupiter is expanding and despanding through the day.” He’s got a thing for prime numbers and has fantasized about working for NASA, but can’t imagine not making music. “That’s how I relate to the world,” he says. “I’ve always been drawn to it.” Eventually, he figured out why.  “What happens when you go to a show? You form a relationship with an artist,” he notes. Despite the uncertainties and absurdities of the troubadour life, Dickey needs that connection — “this weird hour of time where you share with a group of people” — to satisfy his soul. Something else he’s figured out: the benefits of trust. After finally agreeing to let Hawke put him onscreen, Dickey discovered he loves acting. “It’s very musical,” he says, “so it feels natural.” He also agreed to let Sexton choose the album’s songs, and players: drummer Conrad Choucroun,bassist John Michael Shoepf, pedal steel player Mike Hardwick and keyboardist, pianist and Mellotron player Bukka Allen. (Dickey and Sexton both play guitar and sing; Blofson sings backing vocals and Emily Galusha whistles on “The Man with the Hammer.”) Dickey is thrilled with the results. He’s giddy about life in general right now. It took a while for him to find his script, so to speak, but he sums up the experiences between getting his grandfather’s guitar and his current pursuits with a perfect quote from Blaze: “You might not get what you go after, but you do get what you wouldn’t have got, if you hadn’t gone after what you didn’t get.” 

www.bendickeymusic.com

Jun
28
Fri
*repeat repeat
Jun 28 @ 8:00 pm

*repeat repeat

your favorite band’s favorite band. On their new album Glazed, *repeat repeat deliver a batch of songs entirely true to the album’s title: sugary and sticky and impossibly shiny, all glistening harmonies and candy-coated hooks. But beneath the gloss lies something more jarring and jagged, a raw vitality generated by the Nashville band’s buzzy rhythms and blistering guitar work. Fortified by the distinctly thoughtful songwriting of husband-and-wife duo Jared and Kristyn Corder, the result is an album that finds an unlikely power in irrepressible sweetness. The follow-up to 2017’s Floral Canyon, Glazed marks a period of major growth for *repeat repeat, who’ve spent the better part of the last few years touring, highlighted by a 2018 debut at the Bonnaroo Music and Arts festival that saw them lavishly praised by Rolling Stone, who hailed them as “Most Enthusiastic Rockers”. In bringing the new album to life, *repeat repeat worked closely with producer Patrick Carney (drummer for The Black Keys and producer for such artists as Arctic Monkeys, Black Lips, and Tobias Jesso Jr.), immersing themselves in a more rigorous songwriting and recording process than they’d ever attempted before. “Patrick was deeply involved in every aspect of the album, and it sparked this whole new level of creativity in all of us,” says Jared, who serves as lead vocalist, guitarist, and main songwriter for *repeat repeat. “He was adamant about pushing us and working on something until we got it exactly right. It was really challenging at times, but I think it taught us how to make the best song that we can possibly make.” In another monumental shift, Kristyn expanded her role far beyond anchoring *repeat repeat’s bold harmonies, playing keyboards, and directing the band’s design aesthetic, moving on to writing guitar parts and lyrics for the band. On lead single “Hi, I’m Waiting,” the increased depth of their collaboration reveals itself in tender expressions of affection, unfolding in swinging melodies and crunchy guitar riffs and lyrics capturing a quiet sensitivity (e.g., “You say when you want me/I want you when you do”). “So many love songs come from a place of demanding love, or feeling like it’s owed to you,” Jared points out. “I liked the idea of conveying a different romantic sentiment, especially as a straight white male—I mean, the least we can do as dudes is wait.” All throughout Glazed, *repeat repeat bring a certain defiance to their songs, a passionate refusal to let the world crush their optimism. With its dizzying textures and driving beat, “Head On” makes a glorious case for defining your own destiny. Darkly charged but no less exuberant, “Apocalyptic” finds the band facing a doomsday scenario with unabashed romanticism (“The idea behind that song is, ‘If this is the end of the world, let’s go down holding hands,’” notes Kristyn). And on “Pressure,” *repeat repeat lament the endless stresses of modern times, while their determined vocals and urgent guitar work speak to sheer indomitability. At the heart of Glazed is the kinetic tension that’s fueled *repeat repeat since the band’s inception; the wildly differing sensibilities of Jared (a former punk-rock kid raised on Bad Religion and Black Flag) and Kristyn (a California girl who grew up on the Beach Boys and the Mamas and the Papas). “This band is truly a combination of Jared’s most authentic and creative self and my most authentic and creative self, and how those two things combine to make something new,” says Kristyn. But despite their undeniable chemistry, the two initially had no intentions of forming a band together. Meeting soon after Jared moved to Nashville, the couple got engaged several months later, as Jared first set about getting *repeat repeat off the ground. It wasn’t until Jared teamed up with producer Gregory Lattimer and set to work on the band’s first album that Kristyn made her way into the lineup. “Gregory told me that the most punk-rock thing you can do is write a good love song, and I took that to heart and started writing all these songs about our relationship,” Jared recalls. “I knew I wanted a female singer in the band so I had Kristyn on a couple demos, and as soon as Gregory heard them he said, ‘I think you just found your girl singer.’ It all just took off from there.” Adds Kristyn: “ I have a performing arts degree, but being in a band isn’t an adventure I necessarily saw myself going on. Joining *repeat repeat has certainly made everything so much more fun, so maybe it’s something I was subconsciously moving toward the whole time.” Through the years, the duo’s singular dynamic has manifested in *repeat repeat’s magnetic stage presence, with Jared bringing a joyfully rebellious spirit and Kristyn channeling a subtle effervescence. “The music we make is really an extension of our life together,” says Jared. “A day on the road is no different from a day on our honeymoon.” To that end, the title to Glazed partly nods to a greeting card Jared gave to Kristyn on a recent anniversary. “It was a picture of donuts and the message said, ‘You’re a rainbow sprinkle in a sea of glazed,’” Jared explains. “I thought that was a really sweet sentiment, but there’s also a double meaning to it: the world right now has such a frenetic energy, and it makes people kind of glaze over after a while. We wanted to create something that takes you out of that reality—music that makes you feel hopeful and positive and empowered, and just completely leads with love.” photo: @kingsburyeyes / Jonathan Kingsbury

www.repeatrepeatmusic.com

 


TBA

Start Time: 8:00

Jun
29
Sat
ABACAB THE MUSIC OF GENESIS
Jun 29 @ 8:30 pm

ABACAB THE MUSIC OF GENESIS

‘A Trick Of The Tail’ album show’

Formed by five well-seasoned musicians in the Charlotte NC metro area, ABACAB is comprised of vocalist/multi instrumentalist Pete Lents, bassist/rhythm guitarist Cliff Stankiewicz, keyboardist Patrick Raymaker, lead guitarist James Nelson and drummer Matthew Hedrick. We came together with a common goal…Pay loving tribute to one of the most iconic bands of the 20th century, and bring their music back to the stage where it belongs… From progressive rock pioneers of the 70’s, to pop stadium rock icons of the 80’s, to the multi platinum solo careers…This is the music of GENESIS.

 

www.abacabtmog.com

Jun
30
Sun
BALLANTYNE SCHOOL OF MUSIC PRESENTS: SUMMER JAM ’19
Jun 30 @ 4:30 pm

BALLANTYNE SCHOOL OF MUSIC PRESENTS: SUMMER JAM ’19

Visulite Theatre (ALL AGES SHOW) 

Doors Open: 4:00 – Show Starts: 4:30

Tickets: $5.00 (Advance) / $8.00 (Day of Show)

www.ballantyneschoolofmusic.com

Aug
24
Sat
Freedom Summer Jazz Series in Freedom Park – Michael Manson with special guest, Jazz Revolution
Aug 24 @ 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Freedom Summer Jazz Series is bringing jazz to Freedom Park, 1900 East Boulevard, in several freeconcerts summer 2019. Bring a lawn chair. Concessions will be sold. No tents, over-sized umbrellas or outside alcohol. Brought to you by Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation.

Concerts are from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

With the release of his previous CD Thumpin’. Michael Manson joined the ranks of today’s premiere jazz artists.

His first singles “Outer Drive” and “Coming Right At Ya” reached the top 10 on the R&R Smooth Jazz. Bass-master Michael Manson moved from sideman to center-stage on his solo debut The Bottom Line. His passion and precision are displayed with both unrelenting power and laid-back grace on the album that, he says, “reflects the deepest expression of all I have felt making music for the last twenty 25 years.” On Michael Manson’s new CD “Straight Up”, he is credited for writing and production. For this album Michael has collected the who’s who of Smooth Jazz: Najee, Darren Rhan, Jeff Lorber, Nick Colienne, Lin Roundtree, Paul Jackson Jr., Jeff Lorber, and the legendary George Duke and many more great jazz musicians. This album is a great mix of contemporary jazz, R&B and even a little gospel.

For Michael Manson the bottom line has always been great music. Since he first picked up a guitar (not a bass), he has moved persistently from strength to strength, one association leading inevitably to another in a career that has brought him front and center with the most esteemed names in jazz, gospel, R&B, rock and pop. Manson’s uniquely lyrical voice has its roots in Chicago, Illinois. He recalls, “My grandmother and mother played piano, but no one else in the family was really involved in music. My dad had an old beat-up folk guitar that he never picked up and so my older brother and I got interested in music about the same time-I was fourteen-and started playing it. After that, we bugged my mom to buy us some instruments. She finally bought my brother a guitar and me a $25.00 bass and a $25.00 amp that we shared”.

Returning to Chicago State University, he joined the Chicago State Gospel Choir and, in Manson’s words, “things started snowballing.” One gig or association would lead to another, with Manson playing with one Gospel great after another: Tramaine Hawkins, Vanessa Bell Armstrong, Jessy Dixon and James Cleveland. He even played on the Winan’s album All Out, only the first of many times he would perform with childhood musical heroes.

After his graduation from Chicago State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Music, he went on to complete a Masters in Music Performance at Northwestern University. In 1995 Manson met Steve Finkle (now Steve Cole) who was playing with Brian Culbertson. Soon Manson was playing the Chicago club circuit and touring in support of Culbertson’s CD City Lights. Manson went on to record selections on Brian’s After Hours in ’97. That same year, one of his gospel connections put him together with Kirk Whalum, and he ended up playing on the Dove and Stellar-Award nominated “The Gospel According To Jazz.” Recorded
live at the Roy Acuff theatre, it featured Whalum, George Duke and Paul Jackson Jr. “That’s how I met George Duke in ’97,” quips Manson.

Manson’s association with George Duke ultimately led to the gig of a lifetime. George, who was the musical director and a featured artist on the Montreux Jazz tour (summer of 2000), invited Manson onboard, where he shared the stage with his greatest childhood hero, Al Jarreau, along with David Sanborn, Roberta Flack and Joe Sample. Pal Kirk Whalum said with typical good humor, “After that tour you could have retired.” But Manson is just getting started. Through Kirk, he met Larry
Carlton and toured with him before and after his chart-topping Fingerprints album. Kirk also included him on his “Hymns In The Garden” album that garnered a nomination for Best Pop Instrumental Album at the Grammys. Manson has shared the stage with Warner Bros. Records artists Larry Carlton, Kirk Whalum, Boney James, Rick Braun, Kenny Garret, George Duke and Kevin Mahogany. Other Warner artists featured on the album included Fourplay (with bassist Nathan East), Bob James and Gabriel Anders. Released in October of 2000 to critical acclaim, it is being followed by a DVD release in 2001. In 2010, after years of working with the best in jazz, Manson, and his wife Lana opened a non for profit music school, the Musical Arts Institute. This endeavor has now served thousands of students and currently has 375 students enrolled. They are serving the far south side area of Chicago were students and families do not have access nor resources to afford high quality music instruction.

For Michael Manson, love of musical communication, exploration, collaboration and celebration is clearly what it’s all about. This sophomore release reflects Manson’s unabated passion with joy and inspired artistry, “There are musical conversations that are intriguing and I hope the audience shares in that. But it is just great for musicians to communicate in that way. That’s the joy of music. To make great music like that every night, that’s what it’s all about.”

 

Performing With: Jazz Revolution – 6pm

JazzRevolutionBand.com