After hearing Kurt Elling in person and listening to his CDs, I have to agree with the Downbeat magazine critics polls - something I normally do not do - that named him the number-one jazz male vocalist in 2000, 2001, and 2002.
The Quad City Symphony Orchestra (QCSO) performance on Saturday, December 7, demonstrated the sharp contrasts within classical music. From rugged romanticism to stark minimalism, the concert led by Conductor and Musical Director Donald Schleicher was balanced, and the performance was well formed, as the orchestra played pieces by Kearnis, Mozart, Respighi, and the Paganini of the piano, Franz Liszt.
For this journey to Ohio in mid-November, we have the enviable role of designated witnesses to the canonization of our friend and master life teacher Edmond (Ed) Thigpen by his peers and fellow professionals. I say "peers" to be PC, but in our opinion and in many ways Ed is in a class all by himself.
A handful of local bands have new releases, and they carry the distinct flavor of the past. One might say that time has stood still here in this part of the Midwest, but the current sad state of popular music – from the pop princesses and boy bands to nü-metal – makes each of these releases sound fresher than they might have in a different time.
The Quad City Symphony Orchestra and Festival of Trees Holiday Pops Concert on November 23 was not a concert for orchestral-music purists, but it is an integral part of the symphony season and essential for increasing the local symphonic- and classical-music base.
Technology allows virtually all musicians to cheaply record and duplicate their music. The difficult part is getting that music into the hands of listeners. And that need is being met by a handful of small labels that have cropped up in the Quad Cities in recent years.
Dave Deibler pretty much gave up the rock lifestyle about five years ago. After "riding the bull" for 10 years with the Iowa-based power trio House of Large Sizes, he needed a break. "You have to get off that damned animal and lead it around a bit," said Deibler, guitarist, singer, and songwriter for the band.
There are certain words that I promised myself that I would not use in this review. “Anthemic,” for example. Or “rural rock.” Or “heartland,” or “heartfelt,” or “heart”-anything for that matter. Why? Because these are terms that have been attached to John Mellencamp ever since those early days of MTV, back when Johnny Cougar boogied down with bar bikers in the original “Hurts So Good” video.
Being a Wilco virgin, I was under the tutelage of a handful of veteran listeners who explained that Wilco was more then just alt country. The band’s latest album, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot has garnered much critical acclaim and was even being compared to the Beatles’ White Album, stated one of my new mentors.
Portland, Oregon, is creating some unique breeds these days. The Epoxies are the resurgence of an inescapably pleasurable combination of punk and new wave, and the result on the band's self-titled debut is really short and upbeat songs, flashy hooks, very competent musicianship, and damn smart, simple lyrics.

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