musings from boston

screams, whispers and songs from planet earth

Tag: Tony Leva

Jaggery Takes Us to the Crux of the Matter

CREDIT: Matt Samolis

CREDIT: Matt Samolis

It’s a last-gasp attempt to be timely, to be sure, but I feel I must mark the occasion. A favorite Boston band — no, let’s call them a musical art ensemble — by the name of Jaggery is officially releasing a new album today. It’s called Crux. This evening, they’ll be hosting their record release party at ONCE Ballroom at Cuisine en Locale, with what will most certainly be a stunning performance by this wonderful group of musicians. Because, truth be told, I have yet to see a performance by them that isn’t stunning. And that includes the one at the dearly departed Church, which was done in darkness with people shining their smartphones onto the stage when the club suddenly lost power.

I’m listening to Crux as I write this. Beginning with Singer Mali’s ‘War Cry,’ like an eagle warning the planet of imminent catastrophe, the album embarks on a mysterious journey through jungles and tropical rain forests, deserts and savannas, open tundra and grasslands. Such is the breadth and depth of these musical passages, like unique, self-contained acts of a life-long, epic musical. I’m quite used to Mali’s playful, threatening, taunting and soaring vocals being jaw-dropping, but she has reached new heights (and depths) here. It’s the voice of a million colors.

The musical accompaniment provided by Mali’s exquisite piano and her insanely talented mini-orchestra – Daniel Schubmehl (drums, percussion), Tony Leva (upright bass), Rachel Jayson (viola), Dylan Jack (drums, percussion) and Petaluma Vale (harp, vocals) – is downright kaleidoscopic, begging for a thousand dancers to be flinging themselves around, under and over each other on a vast Broadway stage.

In this incomprehensible world we now find ourselves in, with so much discordant noise and nonsense all around, there are thankfully those extremely rare occasions of brilliance. Think of it as a tiny glistening diamond in a sea of shit. A sensible and sophisticated environment in endless rows of tacky used car lots and strip malls. And for that moment, as we behold that impossibly perfect gemstone forged from the chaos that surrounds it, against all odds, we are simultaneously taken out of ourselves and back into our center.

And that’s the crux of the matter.


video filmed by SKMDC777

Tour Dates

04/29 Somerville, MA – ONCE Ballroom – album release party
06/21 Kingston, NY – BSP Lounge
06/22 Philadelphia, PA – TBA
06/23 Baltimore, MD – The Crown
06/24 Washington, DC – 16th Street House
06/25 Reidsville, NC – Brad & Tammy’s Listening Loft
06/27 Indianapolis, IN – 10 Johnson Avenue
06/28 Chicago, IL – Martyr’s
06/29 Detroit, MI – TBA
06/30 Toronto, ON – Transaz Club, Southern Cross Room
07/01 Buffalo, NY – Hickory Sanctuary
07/02 TBA
07/03 New York, NY – TBA

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Beck’s Song Reader comes to life with 150 Performers this Thursday!

Beck’s Song Reader—featuring 150 performers in music, dance and performance art
Thursday, February 28, 2013
Somerville Theatre
facebook event | ::: tickets :::

Back in December, Beck released his album Song Reader the way music was traditionally released—as sheet music, to be interpreted by those inspired to do so. This custom songbook contains 20 songs and over 100 pages of original art. It’s both a vintage and revolutionary idea, and was eight years in the making. A web site was set up where musicians (and budding musicians) could upload their renditions.


Inspired by this creative effort, 150 local performers (yes, that’s one hundred and fifty) have joined together to present their versions of songs from this album, ina live performance at Somerville Theatre in Davis Square on Thursday night. As stated in their press release, “On Thursday, February 28th Boston’s finest musicians & dancers are collaborating to bring Beck Hansen’s album “Song Reader” to life with live music & original choreography at the historic Somerville Theatre. Months in the making, this evening will feature over 150 musicians, dancers, performance artists and a choir performing new material based of Beck’s latest work. Don’t miss this ONE NIGHT ONLY show!”

To give you an idea of the scope of this, some of those performers are Sarah Rabdau, Molly Zenobia, SchoolTree, Jade Sylvan, UnAmerika’s Sweetheart Karin Webb, Kristen Ford Band, Mary Bichner, Vessela Stoyanova w/Tony Leva and Singer Mali. The show is produced by Burns and Webb. You can get a little preview of what’s planned for Thursday night on YouTube.

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Help! Our Bands Are On Fire! (to benefit victims of the 95 Columbia, Central Square Fire)

Benefit Festival going on TODAY & TONIGHT in Union Square!
(and how others not in the area can help)

Back a few weeks ago, there was a horrible house fire in Cambridge – a house that was home to many area musicians and artists. Despite heroic efforts from Cambridge firefighters and volunteers, these folks are still struggling to “regroup” after being unceremoniously tossed out of their homes. They haven’t even been able to go back in yet to see what’s salvageable (though fortunately everyone is ok). So today and tonight, going on right now, is a benefit ‘mini festival’ in Union Square at three venues – P.A.’s Lounge, Sally O’Brien’s and Precinct. Taking part are many of their fellow Boston-area bands – Molly Zenobia, Parlour Bells, Mighty Tiny, Streight Angular, Satellites Fall and many more. If you’re in the area, definitely check this out! | More Info & Set Times

If you’re not in the area, check out the work of some of these artists who lost much if not all of their belongings (and we’re not talking wealthy rock stars here…). If you can, help them out a little. Here some more info. And here’s some of their music!

Brendan Burns

guitarist & educator; founding member of the Elephant Tango Ensemble

Tony Leva

upright bass player for Jaggery

Mary Bichner

Composer, arranger, transcriber, performer, and formerly of Box Five

Other artists from 95 Columbia:

Brendan Higgins | Pete Moulthrop | Thomas Huber, Adam Jones, Jackie, John Lian, and Jimmy Tang.

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Bury Me Standing ~ April Residency @ the Lizard Lounge

BuryMeStanding
First Show ~ TONIGHT ~ with Brian Carpenter & The Confessions and The Slomski Brothers!
Beautiful and entrancing, Bury Me Standing features gypsy Balkan melodies with gorgeously flowing vocals from Bulgarian Vesela Morova, a Berklee student with a background in jazz voice and improvisation, who sings in her native tongue. Vessela Stoyanova (Goli, Fluttr Effect) performs on a very special MIDI marimba; Nate Greenslit (HUMANWINE, What Time Is It Mr. Fox and Molly Zenobia) is on percussion; Tony Leva, upright bass; and Erik James on alto sax. From marimba magic on “Jovano” (perfectly complementing Vesela’s voice), to something darker, denser, and more experimental in “Lordosis”, Bury Me Standing is mysterious and exotic, fusing diverse musical traditions – traditional Balkan, jazz, psychedelic, ambient, pop, and experimental.

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