Tuesday, August 25, 2009

August Arts (8/25 - 29)

One might be tempted to "cakewalk" down Main Street Middletown this evening, especially because the "Summer Sounds" series presents bassist Roy Wiseman & Elite Syncopation in concert at 7 p.m. on the South Green.

The quintet, in existence since the early 1990s, specializes in "early jazz", the music of Scott Joplin, the young Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington, "Jelly Roll" Morton, George Gershwin, Irving Berlin and others. They play with great feeling, imbuing the music with soul and joy. Besides Wiseman (who is a member of the music faculty at Wesleyan), the group includes Liz Smith (reeds), Perry Elliot (violin), Ettie Luckey (cello) and Gary Chapman (piano.)

In case of rain, the concert moves inside to South Church. To find out more about the group, go to www.elitesyncopation.org.

By the way, here's a definition of "cakewalk" - "The Chalk Line Walk, as it was originally known in 1850 in the southern plantations, later became very popular from 1895-1905 as the Cakewalk with a resurgence around 1915. It originated in Florida by the African-American slaves who got the basic idea from the Seminole Indians (couples walking solemnly). Many of the special movements of the cake-walk, the bending back of the body, and the dropping of the hands at the wrists, amongst others, were a distinct feature in certain tribes of the African Kaffir dances. The African Ring Shout has a certain tie to this dance as well." Read more here.

Boney's Music Lounge continues to present blues, jazz and funk on the weekends in the space above Fishbone Cafe on Court Street. This Friday (8/28), the Melvin Sparks Trio returns to the Lounge for an evening of high-energy "acid-jazz along with his usual compatriots, Matthew O. (organ) and Bill Carbone (drums). On Saturday, the Tines welcome the Kathy Thompson Band for an evening of blues and blues-rock. The guitarist/vocalist usually tours with an 8-piece band (including 3 saxophonists and a trumpeter) so the Lounge certainly should be "hopping ." The music starts both nights at 8:30 p.m. For more information, call 346-6000.

Also on Saturday night, the Cypress Restaurant & Grill, South Main Street, welcomes the Dayton Rich Band for an evening of good music (rock, soul, and original songs.) Long-time Middletown residents will recognize Joe Cannata (bass, vocals) and Dean Coutsouridis (lead guitar, saxophone, flute, vocals) from the many different bands they've worked with (or , in the case of Coutsouridis, his years of teaching at Coginchaug High School.) Leading the band is vocalist/guitarist/composer Dayton Rich and rounding out the sound is drummer John Morello. They'll play on the Patio at 8 p.m. For more information, call 346-3367.

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