Dave's True Story and Bob Malone team up
by Seth Rogovoy
(GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass., March 16, 2003) – Combine the witty songcraft of Randy Newman with the bluesy New Orleans soul of Dr. John and you get Bob Malone, one-half of a double-bill with Dave’s True Story at Club Helsinki next Thursday, March 27. On Malone’s brand-new live album, Malone Alone (Delta Moon), the raspy-voiced Malone showcases his songcraft and jazzy piano playing, including the Elton John-ish “Like It or Not” and the Bruce Hornsby-ish “Gold Rush Inn,” his witty, between-song banter, and his interpretive skills on a bluesy version of Bob Dylan’s “Tangled Up in Blue.”
Headliners Dave’s True Story play cool, jazzy lounge music – think Peggy Lee (in the person of vocalist Kelly Flint) meets Lyle Lovett (in the hands of singer-guitarist David Cantor). The group got a boost last year when two of its songs – “Sequined Mermaid Dress” and “Crazy Eyes” – were featured in the cult hit movie, “Kissing Jessica Stein.”
Blues guitarist Albert Cummings, Williamstown’s answer to Stevie Ray Vaughan, is at Helsinki on Friday night. On Sunday night, Karl Shiflett and Big Country, who were voted Best Emerging Artist in the 2001 International Bluegrass Music Association Awards, bring their all acoustic, traditional country music show to Helsinki.
The names Bill Evans, Bud Powell and Thelonious Monk crop up often in discussion of pianist Lenore Raphael. While that’s not entirely unusual – Evans, Powell and Monk are, after all, pretty much the icons of modern jazz piano – the names are consistently evoked as comparisons in order to place Raphael in a lineage as well as to put her in the company with those geniuses of jazz piano.
As heard on her CD, Wingin’ It, Raphael has a delightful, playful touch on her keyboard. She swings hard, fast and always melodically on original compositions, jazz standards and classics by the likes of Jerome Kern and Johnny Mercer (“I’m Old Fashioned”) and Gene DePaul and Don Raye (“You Don’t Know What Love Is”).
Raphael, who performs with her trio featuring drummer Gian Paolo Biagi and bassist George Kaye on Friday night at Castle Street Café and on Saturday night at the Egremont Inn, began playing by ear at the age of three, and was performing in classical concerts by age five. She attended the High School of Music and Art in New York City, where she nurtured her jazz interests by playing along with recordings by Oscar Peterson, Art Tatum and Monk.
A music major at New York University, Raphael – who has been a guest on Marian McPartland’s public radio program “Piano Jazz” -- earned a degree in music education. A longtime teacher, she devised her own methods of teaching jazz improvisation that led to a series of books and tapes called “Jazz Master Class,” published by Hansen House Music.
So much of the pleasure derived from ‘90s band Soul Coughing was in the interplay of the musicians’ jazzy art-funk. So a listener could be forgiven for being skeptical about the prospect of lead singer-songwriter Mike Doughty embarking on a solo acoustic career. Mike Doughty, a guitar-strumming folk singer?
But a listen to Smofe and Smang: Live in Minneapolis shows that Doughty can more than hold his own as a singer-guitarist. His songs built-in melodic riffs and his poetic wordplay are front and center when he’s on his own, as he’ll be at the Iron Horse in Northampton next Thursday, March 27, at 8:30.
Last week, I solicited wish lists for artists readers would like to see perform in the Berkshires. Among those replying was Tom Lewis of Pittsfield, who included the Beastie Boys, Blur, Camper Van Beethoven, the Cure and Roots Manuva on his rock and hip-hop wish-list, and Max Roach, Ornette Coleman, Joshua Redman, Mingus Big Band and Charlie Hunter on his jazz list. Lewis is also an aficionado of electronica, dance and DJ music, and he named Lemon Jelly, DJ Shadow, Death in Vegas, Chemical Brothers, the Orb, Thievery Corporation, Paul Oakenfeld, and Mr. Scruff as the artists he’d most like to see in those categories.
Eagle reporter Derek Gentile is old enough to remember when rock ‘n’ roll dinosaurs once roamed the grounds of Tanglewood, and he longs for their return, perhaps mixed with some younger artists. Gentile suggested a “triple-power bill” of Metallica, Kid Rock and Audioslave, a “wordsmith slam” featuring Bob Dylan and Eminem, and a
“girl-group supergig” by the Go-Gos, the Donnas, and the reunited Shaggs.
Gentile would also like to relive the 1970 Tanglewood double-bill of Iron Butterfly and the Staple Singers – “still the most eclectic show I’ve ever seen” – and to see a “1960’s supergig” featuring Dylan, a reunited Cream, and Ten Years After.
Kim grew up in the Berkshires but now calls Oklahoma home. Via email she said that when she visits the Berkshires again, she would love to see the band Tool at Tanglewood, as well as A Perfect Circle, Fiona Apple, Nine Inch Nails and Godsmack. She recommends Oklahoma band Komatryp to local audiences, and would like to see DJ Bigg Wieze and DJ Hermes.
Liz Kupperman says Steely Dan is her first choice on a wish-list that also includes Phoebe Snow, Michael McDonald, Paul Simon, Boz Scaggs, Joni Mitchell, David Byrne, Taj Mahal, Patti Labelle, Aretha Franklin and Jackson Browne. She and her husband also can’t get enough of Dan Hicks.
[This column originally appeared in the Berkshire Eagle on March 21, 2003. Copyright Seth Rogovoy 2003. All rights reserved.]
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