Jazz fans should make a point to take a trip to Galesburg this weekend for the second annual memorial concert for the late jazz and R&B guitarist and singer Ken Henderson - who spent most of his life around Galesburg raising a family on a farm.
The raking guitar and pounding double bass drums might hurt your mom’s ears, but when the lyrical content contains everything from Jungian and Melchezekian philosophy to a disturbing sexual metaphor for social numbness, it’s worth a listen.
You could not ask for a better venue. You could not ask for a better regional orchestra. And you could not ask for a better crowd, as more than 10,000 people packed into LeClaire Park on Saturday with blankets, wine, snacks, and the desire to end the summer right at the Quad City Symphony Orchestra’s Riverfront Pops concert.
The local music scene is rich with all sorts of musical styles, but hip hop is woefully underrepresented in the area. Local rap artist Commandiz Freez wants to fill that void, but he's also aiming for bigger things.
Unless you're of a certain age (under 30) and with a certain musical taste (complex loud music), there's a good chance you've never heard the music of Tool. The band gets little airplay, rarely writes the standard verse-chorus-verse song, and - to the untrained ear - produces something more akin to formless noise than music.
Two years ago, Iowa City’s Kelly Pardekooper released Johnson County Snow with his Devil’s House Band, and I called it one of my favorite records of the year. Not among my favorite indie releases. Among my favorites, period.
I was excited to check out New York’s Ulu when they came to Summerfest on July 12. I knew that they’d played at RIBCO a few months back, and I’d heard a snippet of Live at the Wetlands, Ulu’s second album, recorded in November of ’99.
It would be easy to forgive the Bix Memorial Jazz Society if its leaders were looking past this weekend's Bix Memorial Jazz Festival. After all, next year marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of Leon "Bix" Beiderbecke, and the society has some big things planned, including a Caribbean Bix cruise in November 2003 and what's sure to be a blowout centennial festival next summer.

A Rare Insight

The photograph on the cover of Retrospective 1982-2002, the new overview CD by Cedar Rapids’ Gayla Drake Paul, might at first seem to be a concession to modern marketing. The photo, dating from 1988, shows Paul in a tank top and unzipped jeans, her hand reaching under her shirt, exposing part of a breast.
It's a shame when musicians who perform America's original art forms - jazz, blues, and other African-American musics such as gospel and zydeco - tell us that their music is much more respected and appreciated in Europe and Japan than in this country.

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