The new Bombyx Center for Arts & Equity, located in Florence’s historic Congregational Church, began hosting shows at the end of October, with an eclectic lineup including jazz, Afrobeat, and Caribbean sounds. Jazz is back in full force this weekend when the famous composer and trumpeter Terence blanchard play two sets at the Bombyx Center on Sunday, November 14 at 4 p.m. and 7 p.m.
When he came across the valley a few years ago Blanchard, a New Orleans native who for four decades performed with a who’s who of jazz stars and won five Grammy awards, performed in the hall. Principal Concert at the (recently renamed) Randolph W. Bromery Center for the Arts at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Now, joined by the whole, the E-Collectif, and the Turtle Island Quartet, the genre-breaking string group, it will perform in a cozy church sanctuary that can accommodate 330 people.
âHe told us it was the smallest venue he had performed in years,â says Cassandra Holden, creative director of Laudable Productions, the Easthampton company that opened the Bombyx Center. âWe’re really excited to bring him here.
For good reason: among his many accomplishments, Blanchard was a key member of the seminal group Jazz Messengers and he composed the music for many Spike Lee films; he was twice nominated for Oscars for his scores. In September, during this time, the Metropolitan Opera in New York presented their work “Fire Shut Up in My Bones” – the first time that the 138-year-old opera had presented a work by a black composer.
In a video interview on the Bombyx website, Blanchard discusses the various influences on his music, noting how he was inspired by Charles Coltrane, Miles Davis, Jimi Hendrix, Wayne Shorter and many other players. Music and art, he says, have âthe power to change hearts and souls. It has for me.
Jake shimabukuro, Gateway City Arts, Holyoke, November 16 at 8 p.m. – Another musician who has soaked up a variety of influences is ukulele maestro Shimabukuro, who transformed the popular yet humble uke into jazz, rock, blues, flamenco and more. intermediate points. The Hawaiian native became an international sensation in 2006, not long after someone posted a video on YouTube of him playing a touching version of George Harrison’s âWhile My Guitar Gently Weepsâ.
Shimabukuro has released several albums featuring a combination of intricate finger play and strained strummings on his ukulele. Although he is best known for his solo work, Shimabukuro has also collaborated with other musicians, both on stage and in the studio.
Just in time for his concert at Gateway, he released a new album, “Jake & Friends”, on which he performs as a duet or small ensemble with many other musicians – Willie Nelson, Ziggy Marley, Jimmy Buffett, Bette Midler, Jesse Colin Young, Vince Gill and Amy Grant – on 16 songs (including more Beatles tracks), several of which feature vocals from guest singers.
âI have to pinch myself when I see these names on my own album,â says Shimabukuro. “It’s like, ‘Did this really happen? âMaking the album was a real challenge, but I’m deeply honored that all the artists have agreed to record with me.
Charlie hunter, Hawks & Reed Performing Arts Center, Greenfield, Nov. 16 at 7 p.m. – Hunter has long been praised for his “mind-boggling” technique on the guitar, especially the way he simultaneously plays basslines, chords and melodies on the guitar. his instruments, first eight strings and now seven.
But Hunter has also earned much praise as a composer and conductor, especially with various jazz and blues ensembles; he has worked with dozens of musicians including Norah Jones, Mos Def and John Mayer.
One of his longtime collaborators is a drummer and composer Scott Amendola, who first performed with Hunter in 1993 when the guitarist had to grab him at roughly the last minute for a gig that Hunter’s regular drummer couldn’t do. Today, almost 30 years later, Hunter and Amendola will perform together at Hawks & Reed.
Psychedelic furs first caused a stir in post-punk Britain in the late 1970s and early 1980s with hits such as “Pretty in Pink” and “Love My Way”. Last year they released âMade of Rain,â their first new album in 29 years, and critics say the new music has the old appeal. They play at the Northampton Academy of Music on November 16 at 8 p.m. ET. English singer / songwriter / multi-instrumentalist Royston Langdon opens the show.
Blues / rock guitar slingerAna PopoviÄ comes to Gateway City Arts on November 17 at 8 p.m.
FE, which performs at the Bombyx Center on Nov. 18 at 8 p.m., is conducted by percussionist Otura Mun, born Mark Underwood and raised in Indiana, one of the few black students at his school. A visit and then a long stay in Puerto Rico led him to become a Yoruba high priest and to create electronic music that explores the African diaspora.
With ÃFÃ, Mun has created what Bombyx calls âan incredible fusion of Afro-Cuban hip-hop, dancehall, trap and rumbaâ.
Pianist and composer Christian Sables, a jazz artist in residence at UMass Amherst, was nominated for a Grammy for a song from his most recent album, “Be Water”. He is coming to the Bromery Center for the Arts on November 18 at 7:30 p.m. with his ensemble.
Saturday 20 November will be a particularly busy day musically in the region, with the following artists all performing that evening:
Still going strong at 67, legendary jazz guitarist and composer Pat Metheny has released a new album, “Side-Eye”, and he will play some samples when he comes to the Music Academy at 8pm
veteran singer-songwriter Melissa Ferrick performs at the Calvin Theater in Northampton. The 7 p.m. show will be opened by the local favorite Carrie Ferguson, the singer-songwriter / pianist who, in late spring, released âThe Grumpytime Club,â his first children’s record.
Underground system, a seven-member, female-led New York band that offers a sound that’s hard to define – âpost-afrobeat electro-discoâ is a description – comes to Gateway City Arts at 8 pm. They performed at the Green River Festival in August, where their mix of flute, trumpet, guitar, keyboards, drums, congas and sampling was a hit.
Folk-rocker Jake klar of Turners Falls has released a new EP, “Witness,” which he and his band began recording before the pandemic. They finally got the chance to complete it this summer, and they’ll be playing at New City Brewery in Easthampton at 8 p.m. ET. It’s a free show.
Not November 20: multi-instrumentalist David Bromberg, who has been playing his unique blend of bluegrass, folk, blues and country swing for over 50 years, brings his quintet to the Shea Theater in Turners Falls on Nov. 21 at 8 p.m.
Steve Pfarrer can be reached at [email protected]