Downtown After Dark starting Feb. 10

Russ Tarby, Staff Writer 02/10/08More articles
Jazz aplenty in Syracuse Sunday
“I grew up in a period when African-Americans, as a large body, finally started addressing our roots,” recalls Chicago jazzman Kahil El’Zabar. “With African drums there was such an appeal in the way of playing with the hands and the sense of the entire body being involved in the playing of the instrument.”

El’Zabar brings his Ethnic Heritage Ensemble to Jazz Central, downtown, on Sunday Feb. 10, following a 7:30 p.m. opening set by One Black Voice (a.k.a. Kofi Jacque Thomas).

El’Zabar has mastered a variety of instruments from the elementary -- congas, bongos, Djembe drums, shekere, gongs, and trap drums -- to the esoteric -- balaphon, marimba, sanza, kalimba and berimbau.

Ethnic Heritage Ensemble, which also features trumpeter Corey Wilkes and saxophonist Ernest Dawkins, celebrates its 35th anniversary with the Sunday performance in Syracuse.

Over the past four decades El’Zabar has added multi-textured Afro-centric rhythms to the work of many musical legends including Nina Simone, Stevie Wonder, Paul Simon and Donny Hathaway. El’Zabar was named 2005 percussionist of the year by the Jazz Journalists’ Association and in 2004 the Chicago Tribune tapped him as “Chicagoan of the Year.”

Jazz Central is located at 441 E. Washington St., downtown. Admission on Sunday costs $10 at the door, and a cash bar will be available.

For information, call 263-2254, or visit livespaceentertainment.com.

One Black Voice
Syracuse’s own Kofi Jacque Thomas, who bills himself as One Black Voice, will warm up Sunday for the Ethnic Heritage Ensemble, at Jazz Central.
One Black Voice, which often rings out at the OnaJava Coffee & Soul Café, specializes in original music inspired by African, Caribbean and R&B rhythms. He has pumped out an uplifting world vibe on his two CDs, “first words…” and “A Journey through Africa.”

His songs include the romantic, “Before We Say Goodnight,” the African heritage-embracing story of “Kazoola’s Song,” “Serengeti,” a celebration of African spirit embodied in Marcus Garvey and Harriet Tubman, and “Letter to My Momma,”' performed for dignitaries from Benin at the Everson Museum and at the Redhouse as part of a Hurricane Katrina fundraiser.

One Black Voice traveled to Ghana in 2006 on his first-ever visit to his continental homeland.

Thomas has appeared as One Black Voice at the Pan-African Village at the New York State Fair, the Westcott Street Cultural Fair and the Syracuse Peace Council's Plowshares Festival.

For Jacque Thomas info, click on oneblackvoice.bpn5.com.

Leigh shouts the blues
Syracuse Area Music Awards Hall of Fame vocalist Ronnie Leigh celebrates Black History Month with a Blues Shout at the Persian Terrace, Hotel Syracuse, at 4 p.m. Sunday Feb. 10. Gourmet food stations will be catered by Pascale’s.
Leigh will be backed by pianist Dino Losito, bassist Ron France and drummer Jimmy Johns.

A veritable singing sensation, Ronnie Leigh has shared the stage with The Drifters, Pat Metheny, The Yellowjackets, Spyro Gyra, Nancy Kelly, David Sanborn, Etta Jones, Jon Hendricks and the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra.
Check him out at ronnieleigh.com.

For reservations to Sunday afternoon’s show, call Margaret at Pascale’s at 471-3040, ext. 203.

Smugtown Stomps in L’pool
They’ll be stompin’ in the suburbs Sunday as the Jazz Appreciation Society of Syracuse hosts Rochester’s Smugtown Stompers with vocalist Carol Mulligan from 3 to 7 p.m. Sunday Feb. 10, at Le Moyne Manor, 629 Old Liverpool Road, in Liverpool.

Admission costs $10 for JASS members, and $12 for non-members; 652-0547.

The Stompers have been playing New-Orleans style blues, ragtime, cakewalks, one-steps, Dixieland and gospel favorites for a half-century.
Tuba player Bud Taylor believes all those years of practice have paid off.

“We’ve been active here in Upstate New York since 1958,” Taylor said, “and so, as we say, ‘We’re moderately well-rehearsed.’”

The band is named for its hometown of Rochester, which was dubbed “Smugtown, USA” by a local author in 1957.
Two trumpets

Around 2004-05, the Stompers added a cornet and now have a double-trumpet frontline, Taylor noted.

“The reason for this is that finding seasoned musicians who grew up with jazz in their midst is harder and harder to do,” Taylor explained, “so we're growing our own by mentoring newer players in the early-jazz tradition. Since trumpet is so important to the sound of the band, we want to have two capable players available ‘to cover the waterfront,’ so to speak, and use both of them for the present time.”

Sixteen numbers are featured on the Smugtown Stompers’ recording, “Steppin’ Out,” packaged with an insert detailing the band’s history and its music. The disc’s tracks include “Panama Rag,” “Wolverine Blues,” “Oriental Strut,” “Harlem Rag,” “Buddy Bolden’s Blues” and “Creole Belles.”

The group’s goal is to perform music that remains true to the spirit of old New Orleans.

“With energy,” Taylor promised.

For band info, visit smugtownstompers.com.

Wiener roast
Speaking of trad-jazz, don’t forget to vote for the State Fair Four, the local quartet that is one of four finalists in the Group category in a national jingle contest sponsored by Oscar Mayer.

The official name of the contest is “Sing the Jingle, Be a Star.”

To hear the State Fair Four performance and register your vote, visit singthejingle.com.

One Night Only
What do local theatrical producers do to raise money for their season?
What else? They put on a show!

Rarely Done Productions will stage “One Night Only,” an occasional Wednesday-night cabaret-fundraiser to support its 2007-2008 season.
“Love with a Twist: One Night Only” featuring the music of Jon Balcourt will be performed at 8 p.m. Wednesday Feb. 13, at Jazz Central, downtown. Admission costs $20, and there will be a cash bar; 546-3224.

“Love with a Twist” performers include Dani Gottuso, Jodie Baum, Alicia Bronzetti, Ryan MacConnell, Casey Ryan, Ian Joseph and composer Jon Balcourt.

Rarely Done's One Night Only will showcase music, comedy and one-acts. Those interested in performing at an upcoming cabaret should e-mail Aubry Ludington Panek at info@rarelydone.org.
Get ‘Sicko’ Monday
If you have yet to see Michael Moore’s documentary on the health-care crisis in America, stop down to the Redhouse at 5:30 p.m. Monday Feb. 11 for a screening of “Sicko.”
The movie will be followed by a panel discussion between local medical professionals. Admission costs $10, $8 for seniors/students, and is free for Le Moyne College students. Call 425-0405, or visit theredhouse.org.
Moore’s documentary has been nominated for an Academy Award. Monday’s screening is co-sponsored by the Le Moyne College Film Club and The Redhouse, 201 S. West St. at the corner of West Fayette Street, on the outskirts of Armory Square.
Most expensive beer ever

This just in from luxist.com:
“We’ve seen some pretty expensive beers before (the sippable Sam Adams Utopia springs immediately to mind) but the new brew from Carlsberg is now the proud owner of the title of world's most expensive beer.
“The Carlsberg Vintage No. 1 costs close to $400 a bottle (2,008 Danish kroner or $396.47 to be exact). The beer will be sold in just three Copenhagen restaurants.

“Why so expensive? The 10.5 percent proof beer is a very limited edition of just 600 bottles. It has been stored in French and Swedish wooden casks and has a deep brown color.

“The tasting notes reveal prune, caramel and vanilla flavors making it a natural pairing for cheeses and desserts. So far there are no plans to export Vintage No. 1.”

Rating: 2.3/5 (11 votes cast)

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