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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, July 16, 2010 - Volume 38 Issue 29
A Dyke About Town: Chamber Music Festival, Ottmar Liebert, and Poncho Sanchez
Arts & Entertainment
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A Dyke About Town: Chamber Music Festival, Ottmar Liebert, and Poncho Sanchez

by Mercy Moosemuzzle - SGN Contributing Writer

Chamber Music Festival from Westlake Park
Last Friday, Mercy and her friend Reality sat at Westlake Park to listen to the Chamber Music Festival broadcast over KING. Mercy thought the setting was much more comfortable than the Garden of Remembrance behind Benaroya Hall. About 80 people rotated through the tables and chairs that had been arranged in a circle. Mercy liked the fact that she could see the faces of the other people watching. The amount of traffic noise was about the same as at Benaroya. Reality grinned at the way a bus horn worked its way into the music. He feels chamber music has pastoral associations and is much better suited to the green around Lakeside School. Seattle University or Discovery Park might be equally apt. He pointed out the pretty plane trees overhead, but otherwise the setting was quite urban.

There were also some attractions, such as watching people play the large chess set, or a sidewalk artist who Reality said was getting her yoga in. It was an easy place for the few children present to have other things to pay attention to if they got bored with the music. One woman bicycled through the listeners.

The crowd was much more diverse than the one on the Lakeside lawn. Mercy liked that. She was disappointed that the broadcast didn't include the recital, which is the best part.

Craig Shephard substituted for Andrew Armstrong, who was out sick, on the first piece, Poulenc's "Trio for Oboe, Bassoon and Piano." He made a pleasing combination with Ben Hausman on oboe and Paul Rafanelli on bassoon.

Bion Tsang played cello and Adam Neiman piano on Grieg's "Sonata for Cello and Piano in A Minor, Op. 36." Mercy found it transporting.

There was considerable turnover in who was watching. Mercy realized another advantage over not being inside a concert hall was that she could leave without having to crawl over people since she had some commitments the next day. She regretted having done that a bit when she heard from her friend, Assonance, that the Mendelssohn octet that closed the evening was one of the most amazing pieces of chamber music she had ever heard.

The festival will also be broadcast in Westlake on July 16, 23, and 28. Mercy hopes they will expand the number of concerts there. Also, she wants you to check out their website, www.seattlechambermusic.org, remembering you can hear the pre-recitals for free.

Ottmar Liebert
Cuteness told Mercy about Ottmar Liebert, and now she is looking forwarding to seeing him at the Triple Door. He will be there, July 22 and 23.

Liebert's incredible global success on a musical level often seems like a simple outgrowth of his cultural background and powerful wanderlust in his formative years. Born in Cologne, Germany, to a Chinese-German father and Hungarian mother, he began playing guitar at 11 and traveled extensively through Europe and Asia intent on fully absorbing each musical tradition he encountered. After pursuing his rock and roll dreams first in his native Germany and then in Boston, he abandoned the frustrations of the East coast and settled in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

By 1989, he had founded the first incarnation of his new band Luna Negra. Nouveau Flamenco began life as a self-produced local release called Marita: Shadows and Storms, copies of which local Indian artist Frank Howell distributed in his art galleries. When the record found its way to radio stations and began generating a buzz among programmers and an unprecedented response among listeners, Higher Octave Music picked it up and released a fully remastered version.

"I was honestly happy playing this music in hotels and restaurants in Santa Fe, and going in one year from doing that to opening for Miles Davis was a pretty intense jump," he recalls. "Most shocking for me was to realize how many different people from so many diverse cultures embraced it. I still get letters from fans in Europe, South America, Australia, and Asia. & It's been a really gratifying experience. I've had the opportunity to play in a wide variety of cultural settings with musicians from around the world, and that has been a great experience, too."

Liebert has since become one of the most successful instrumental artists of the past decade, thrilling audiences throughout the world. He has been nominated for Grammy's four times.

You can get your tickets at www.thetripledoor.net.

Poncho Sanchez
Mercy and Cuteness are really looking forward to seeing Poncho Sanchez at Jazz Alley. He and his Latin Jazz Band will be there from July 22 to 25. The members of the group are Poncho Sanchez (congas/vocals), George Ortiz (timbales), Tony Banda (bass), Ron Blake (trumpet), Javier Vergara (alto and tenor saxophone), Francisco Torres (trombone), Joseph De Leon (bongo and percussion) and David Torres (piano).

If music were about pictures, percussionist Poncho Sanchez's music would best be described as a kaleidoscope swirl of some of the hottest colors and brightest lights to emerge from either side of the border. At any given show, on any given record, fragments of Latin jazz, swing, bebop, salsa, and other infectious grooves collide and churn in a fiery swirl, with results that are nothing less than dazzling. All of these sounds and more come together in Psychedelic Blues, Sanchez's 24th recording on Concord Records (9/09). Live in concert or on recordings, Poncho and band spin vivacious tales that pay homage to the glories of a half-century tradition that was born when Afro-Cuban rhythms merged with bebop. One on one, the Chicano conguero is equally expressive, recounting in vivid details the encounters, friendships, and passions that have contributed to his remarkable career as a bandleader and recording artist.

Although born in Laredo, Texas, in 1951 to a large Mexican-American family, Sanchez grew up in a suburb of L.A., where he was raised on an unusual cross-section of sounds that included straight-ahead jazz, Latin jazz, and American soul. By his teen years, his musical consciousness had been solidified by the likes of John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Cal Tjader, Mongo Santamaria, Wilson Pickett, and James Brown. Along the way, he taught himself to play guitar, flute, drums, and timbales, but eventually settled on the congas. Now a jazz great himself, Sanchez has performed with artists Cal Tjader, Mongo Santamaria, Hugh Masakela, Clare Fisher, and Tower of Power, among others.

Whether it's salsa, straight-ahead jazz, Latin jazz, or even elements of soul and blues, the mesmerizing array of sounds and colors from Poncho Sanchez's youth have telegraphed across the decades and continue to inform his creative sensibilities to this day.

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