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Arts Beat for July 16: Singer, quintet 'illuminate' lyrical jazz in Brandon

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Arts Beat for July 16: Singer, quintet 'illuminate' lyrical jazz in Brandon

SINGER AUBREY JOHNSON will be featured in the Steven Kirby Group’s performance of “richly textured, multi-layered, ebullient and lyrical jazz” at Brandon Music this Saturday evening.

By Greg Pahl

From the award-winning guitarist and composer Steven Kirby comes the “Illuminations” Project to Brandon Music on Saturday, July 21, at 7:30 p.m.

The project has been described as “richly textured, multi-layered, ebullient and lyrical jazz.” It features original compositions and arrangements, as well as some creative arrangements of standard tunes, using a quintet of instrumentalists and a singer performing both wordless and lyrical vocals. All About Jazz said “Illuminations” is “music of deep beauty and, at times, spare, folkloric elegance” but “doesn’t lose sight of Kirby’s jazz roots and his penchant for more incendiary playing.”

Most of the “Illuminations” compositions were inspired by the idea of featuring wordless vocals in the midst of richly textured compositions. The vocals, performed by virtuosic singer Aubrey Johnson, are a primary, featured color in the compositions, which also include guitar, piano, sax/flute, bass and drums. Johnson is capable of using her voice like an instrument to sing complex lines with wordless technique while also being able to sing lyrics with masterful interpretation and phrasing.

In addition to showcasing these rich compositions and arrangements, the “Illuminations” project features a first rate roster of jazz musicians who all make invaluable creative contributions as interpreters and improvisers: Carl Clements (sax/flute), John Funkhouser (keys), Mark Poniatowski (bass) and Mike Connors (drums).

Show $20. Dinner, and show $45. Reservations are required for dinner and recommended for the show. Venue is BYOB. Call 802-247-4295 or e-mail [email protected] for reservations or for more information. Brandon Music is located at 62 Country Club Road in Brandon.

SNAKE MTN BLUEGRASS AT LINCOLN PEAK VINEYARD

Snake Mountain Bluegrass will perform at Lincoln Peak Vineyard on Friday, July 20, from 6 to 8 p.m.

Snake Mountain’s “toe-tapping tunes combine the best of modern and traditional bluegrass,” according to Seven Days, with harmonies and songs that vary in tempo from “breakdown” to ballad. They will be playing tunes from their new album, “For Keeps,” as well as many traditional favorites.

Retired Middlebury College Professor Gregg Humphrey (guitar and vocals) and Middlebury construction company owner Mike Connor (banjo and vocals) formed Snake Mountain Bluegrass about 30 years ago. They are joined by Earle Provin (mandolin and resophonic guitar) and Jacob Blumberg (bass). Provin is a graphic artist living in Poultney. Blumberg recently moved to Middlebury from Brooklyn. He works as a producer, mastering engineer and multi-instrumentalist for Mason Jar Music with studios in Brooklyn and Nashville. The band will be joined at Lincoln Peak by fiddle whiz Caleb Elder.

The vineyard opens at 5:30 p.m. for picnicking. Delicious hot food will be available from The Antidote, and wine by the glass. Admission is free. Bring lawn chairs or a picnic blanket. No alcohol may be brought onto the grounds, and please leave your pets at home. The concert series happens rain or shine — there’s room on the winery porch in the case of rain. Lincoln Peak Vineyard is located at 142 River Road in New Haven. More information is at lincolnpeakvineyard.com.

MICHELE FAY BAND RETURNS TO SALISBURY

On Friday, July 20, at 7:30 p.m. the Salisbury Congregational Church will sponsor an evening of original and Americana music from the Michele Fay Band.

Michele Fay has been writing songs with sincere and earnest messages and performing them for the past 12 years. She is joined by the energetic and versatile instrumentals of Kalev Freeman on fiddle, Tim Price on banjo and guitar and Michael Santosusso on upright bass.

Their performances are a lively and comfortable mix of folk, swing and bluegrass traditions. Over the years the band has produced four well-received CD’s and has gained a statewide reputation with regional reviewers using such descriptors as “top-notch,” “ smooth,” “heartfelt” and “just getting better.” This is an opportunity to catch them in the midst of their active summer tour schedule.

This will be the third event in Salisbury’s 39th annual Summer Performance Series, which will continue on Friday evenings through Aug. 10 at the historic, but handicapped accessible, 1838 meetinghouse in Salisbury village.

Although there is no admission charge, a free-will donation in support of the series will be appreciated. Any receipts in excess of the expenses for the series will be applied to the continuing restoration of Salisbury’s landmark meetinghouse.

BRANDON SUMMER CONCERT SERIES

The Brandon Area Chamber of Commerce free summer concert series, “Music at the Riverbend,” located behind the Brandon Inn continues this Wednesday, July 18, at 7 p.m. with Phineas Gage, the Mad River Valley’s “pherocious pholkgospel grassicana band” that bills itself as performing “music for happy brains.”

Join the folks who come out and relax with quality music, friends and neighbors. The kids have fun running around the grounds next to the Neshobe River, and everyone enjoys free popcorn. Adult beverages are served up by the Brandon Inn, available in the outdoor lounge area, so you won’t miss a single note of the music.

For more information, contact the Chamber at 802-247-6401 or [email protected].

BRISTOL BAND CONCERT

The Bristol Band Concert Season continues this Wednesday, July 18, at 7 p.m. on the town green. Concerts are held every Wednesday evening through the Wednesday before Labor Day (last concert is Aug. 29). The Bristol Band has presented outdoor summer band concerts in the gazebo on the town green every summer since shortly after the Civil War. Bring a lawn chair, blanket or picnic dinner and enjoy an evening of small town entertainment. It’s free.

There is often a fundraiser barbeque before the concert. Check bristolrec.org for details.

CARILLON SERIES AT COLLEGE

The Middlebury College Carillon Series continues with a performance by George Matthew Jr. (pictured), carillonneur for both Middlebury College and Norwich University, on Friday, July 20, at 6 p.m. What is a “carillonneur?” It is a musician who uses a keyboard connected to hammers to plays set of tuned bells

Matthew will play that tuned bells — or carillon — in Middlebury College’s Mead Memorial Chapel.

The beautiful sounds of ringing bells will fill the air again this summer, as the 33rd annual Middlebury College Carillon Series treats audiences to free performances in and around Mead. Each year, musicians from around the world come to Middlebury to perform in the chapel’s soaring tower, high above the college campus.

All of the concerts are free and open to the public, and can be enjoyed on the steps of Mead Chapel or on the surrounding lawns.

LIVE MUSIC AT NOTTE

There will be two live performances this week at Notte Neapolitan Pizza Bar located downstairs at 86 Main St. in Middlebury. On Wednesday, July 18, there will be a dinner show featuring Honeywell from 7 to 9 p.m. There is no cover charge.

Then, on Saturday, July 21, Notte presents The Eschatones at 9:30 p.m. There is no cover. For more information, call 802-388-0002.

HANCOCK SUMMER CONCERT

The Hancock Green Summer Concerts on the Hancock Town Green continue this Thursday, July 19, at 6:30 p.m. with the Fried Dough Boys. The series runs through Thursday, Aug. 9. All concerts are free. Bring a chair and a picnic. A rain site is available.

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