Something special happens when the players in Evening Sky get together. The chemistry begins. The grooves materialize and the melodies fall into place. The sound that emerges is truly its own. It dwells in the fertile ground between jazz and roots, the soft spaces between soul, country, and folk, with the spirit of collaboration and the passion of playing great music.
Chris Brooks, Eric Hastings, Joe Potenza, and Gino Rosati together make wholly unique music and have been working at it since assembling back in 2017. Drawn together by proximity, kismet, and a mutual affinity for unusual and unpredictable sounds, the quartet has the capability of blending seemingly disparate styles to create music that feels completely logical. It’s a rare feat for sure and only advised when the participants are up to the task.
Evening Sky’s newest recording, The Desert at Night, their fourth and most fully realized recording, is rhythmic and smooth, playful, and intriguing. The street date is March 4, with an album release show on Saturday, March 12 at The Parlour in Providence. With Brooks on pedal steel, Rosati on electric guitar, Potenza on bass, and Hastings on drums, the band stakes out an extraordinary aural ground. There’s the sultry opener “Van Cleef,” the mild boogie of “Bowlagumbo,” and the Jerry Reed-style chicken picker “Goodbye Columbus” are all memorable. Flutist Wendy Klein adds serious flair to the title track and the closing “A Blustery Day,” the latter of which features an atmospheric King Crimson vibe and builds subtlely and satisfyingly until Klein wraps things up. “Bill’s Porch” would sound great on a summery, sunshiny porch with a frosty lemonade. Brooks’ pedal steel carries the lead responsibility and it’s a delight. Easy listening, indeed, with the emphasis on aaaah.
Recorded by Hastings at The Grapevine in Providence, mixed by Graham Mellor at Uptown Sound, also in Providence, and mastered by Scott Craggs at Old Colony Mastering, the songs on The Desert at Night are all composed by Gino Rosati, except for the funky jazz nugget, “Where the Buses Don’t Run,” written by Potenza. All the tracks on this recording are instrumental, though the band works with some very talented vocalists. (When you get a chance, check out the band’s epic cover of Dylan’s “Highway 61 Revisited.”)
Incidentally, Evening Sky is staying busy, with a full slate of shows and upcoming recording sessions, including a recording with singer Tish Adamsand an additional handful of new music.
KINDRED SPIRITS Ute Lemperchannels Dietrich on Rendezvous with Marlene
It takes a kind of fearlessness to address the mythical talent of superstar Marlene Dietrich. Dietrich’s stardom is legendary; her story a picaresque of adventure, fantasy, imagination, and coveted reality. Yet, if anyone can begin to touch Dietrich’s transcendent nature, to tell her story, it would have to be Berlin-born, New York-based Ute Lemper.
Lemper, a multi-talented musical theater and cabaret star, has lit up stages—acting, singing, dancing, writing, even painting—since the early ’80s. She began with Chekhov and Weill, among others, making a name for herself as an outsized talent.
But it was as a songstress, particularly as an exponent of the music of the Weimar Republic, that Lemper made her most lasting impact. She brings immense theatricality to her music, along with irony, sexuality, satire, and humor. She received a tremendous amount of attention for her dramatic cabaret-style performances and was heralded as the “New Dietrich.” In 1988, after receiving a Moliére Award for her performance in “Cabaret” in Paris, Ute sent a note to Dietrich, essentially apologizing for all the comparisons. I explained to her that I was just starting my career and that the comparisons were inappropriate,” said Lemper. I thanked her for inspiring me to become a performer and mentioned how much I admired her many achievements on stage and screen.”
A month later, Dietrich, then in her late 80s, called Lemper. Dietrich was a recluse by that time and had not left her Paris home for many years. But she and Lemper connected and the discussion was incredibly rich and profound. She told me everything about her life–emotional and historical—and I was very overwhelmed by it all,” said Lemper. It took me thirty years to think about it and finally be ready to put it into a show.” The three-hour conversation the two had discussing Dietrich’s fascinating life, forms the foundation of Rendezvous with Marlene, a lavish, lovable homage to the great performer. It began as a performance and is now a spectacular recording of the same name.
Ute sings to us Marlene’s story, fabulous songs from all the chapters of her life, from the Berlin cabaret years to her Burt Bacharach collaborations, with whom Dietrich toured for 15 years. Lemper puts her own spin on the material, injects them with modern drama, melodrama, and unfiltered flourishes of Dietrich’s sensuality.
Ute Lemper Rendezvous with Marlene is “An unforgettable evening: stylish, graceful, heart-warming and powerful, this is an event not to be missed,” says Shane Morgan of St. George’s Bristol, UK.
Essentially, Rendezvous with Marlene is the sound of one enormous talent passing her story along to another. And while we don’t know what motivated Dietrich to transfer her life story to Lemper, she most certainly sensed they were kindred spirits. You don’t have to listen long to the many lush tracks on Rendezvous with Marlene to understand that the two possess a simpatico life, sharing a kind of distinct versatility, attitude, humor, and multi-faceted approach to art. One critic raved: “An extraordinary, unforgettable evening with a sublime artist at the height of her powers – it should on no account be missed!” (Musical Theatre Review)
“A superb tribute to one astonishing woman from another, fascinating, enlightening, intense, often moving, and always entertaining,” according to Northern Soul.
“What a gift it was to hear Marlene talk about her life,” says Lemper. “This recording is my personal tribute to her. She was sexy, tough, and funny and her comic timing was ever-present, even in her singing,” said Lemper. “She was a free spirit,” Lemper recalls. “She was politically and morally outspoken and courageous. She was ladylike and bossy. She had class but loved whiskey, dirty jokes, and a good smoke. I tell her story through my eyes and sing her songs with my voice. She is using my body and voice to speak.”
Successfully. Says a critic writing for Gay UK, “By a huge margin the finest act of sustained, emotional intensity and fearless self-revelation I’ve ever seen. Ute – like Bowie, Callas, and Garland before her – is in an unprecedented class of her own.”
Described as an “extraordinary, unforgettable evening with a sublime artist at the height of her powers – it should on no account be missed!” (Musical Theatre Review), Ute Lemper’s “Rendezvous With Marlene” channels Dietrich’s story of courage, glamour, and humanity. Ahead of her time, Dietrich was a legend as an actress, singer, fashion icon, and free spirit. In her first show entirely focused on honoring Marlene, based on the true story of a phone call they shared, Lemper interprets some of Dietrich’s most beautiful songs and recounts some captivating secrets of her life. Don’t miss this enthralling exploration of Marlene’s career and personal life.
Click hereto log in and buy your ticket for this unique performance. Tickets are $25.00, and one ticket serves a whole family and friends watching together.
Here is the setlist for the performance:
Where Have All The Flowers Gone (Pete Seeger)
Just A Gigolo (Leonello Casucci)
One For My Baby (Harold Arlen / Johnny Mercer)
Life’s A Swindle (Mischa Spoliansky / Marcellus Schiffer)
They Call Me Naughty Lola (Friedrich Hollaender)
Boys In The Backroom (Frank Loesser / Friedrich Hollaender)
Lili Marleen (Norbert Schulze / Hans Leip)
Ruins Of Berlin (Friedrich Hollaender)
Black Market (Friedrich Hollaender)
When The World Was Young (Johnny Mercer / M. Philippe-Gérard)
Ne me quitte pas (Jacques Brel)
Laziest Gal In Town (Cole Porter)
The Answer My Friend Is Blowing In The Wind (Bob Dylan)
Que reste-t-il de nos amours / I Wish You Love (Charles Trenet)
Falling In Love Again (Friedrich Hollaender)
Ute’s band for this performance will be:
Vana Gierig : Piano
When she received much acclaim for her 1988 performance in the Paris staging of Cabaret, including some comparison to Marlene Dietrich, German actress/singer UTE LEMPER felt embarrassed by this, and wrote a note to Dietrich apologizing for the comparison. She received a phone call from Dietrich in return, and during their lengthy conversation, Dietrich recalled much of what had occurred in her life. It was an occasion of great significance for Lemper. A few years ago, Lemper created Rendezvous With Marlene (Jazzhaus – 184). This show, originally done as a cabaret performance, provided an overview of Dietrich’s life and career, with Lemper performing 20 songs associated with Dietrich. I saw the show at the York Theater last year, and greatly enjoyed it. Lemper does an effective job of capturing the Dietrich persona, but also brings much of her own performing personality to the production. She is an accomplished actress and singer, who moves easily between being herself and channeling Dietrich. The recording contains only the musical portion of the show, but stands nicely on its own.
Review by Joe Lang
In addition to this has been watched 75,000 times on Ute and lyricist Paulo Coelho’s and
The history of this album takes us back more than thirty years to 1988. It was then that a three-hour telephone conversation took place in Paris between two German women, two Actresses and singers, Marlene Dietrich and Ute Lemper. Some of our readers do not need to explain who they are, but for the rest, especially the young ones, we will have to tell them…
So, Marlene Dietrich (1901-1992). A sex symbol of her era, a great actress and singer. Her fame rose in the 20s, in the film “Blue angel”, which brought her unprecedented success not only at home, but also far beyond its borders. After moving to Hollywood, she quickly became a star there. The Nazis who came to power in Germany promised Marlene all imaginable benefits for her return. But Marlene Dietrich was sharply negative about Hitler and his brown pack. She defiantly renounced her German citizenship and accepted US citizenship. During the war, she often performed in front of allied soldiers in Europe. Someone pointed out that Dietrich was more often on the front line than Eisenhower. After the collapse of Nazism, she continued her brilliant career. In 1960, she arrived in her native Berlin, where she was obstructed, considered a traitor. After a while, Marlene settled in Paris. After an unfortunate fall from the stage in 1975, she could only walk with a stick – and did not want to be seen like this. Then she lived as a recluse in Paris, not communicating with anyone, her relationship with her daughter was very difficult, in the past there were stormy romances with world celebrities, in the past there was fame.
This is what Marlene called Ute Lemper (b.1963) in 1988. Starting with performances with a jazz-rock band, she turned into a musical and cabaret star by the age of 25-just like Dietrich once did. In 1988, in Paris, she was awarded the prestigious Moliere Prize for playing and singing in the musical “Cabaret”. That’s when she sent the card to Dietrich. A miracle happened: she suddenly agreed to talk to Ute on the phone. For three long hours, Marlene told her young companion many secrets of her personal and creative life. Ute was lucky: the stars came together and the great diva wanted to pour out her soul.
Many years later, in 2019, the already very famous Lemper put this conversation at the heart of her show Rendezvous with Marlene, where she tells the story of the life of Marlene Dietrich from the stage and sings songs from her repertoire. The audio album Rendezvous with Marlene is a kind of soundtrack of a very successful show, met with the most positive responses around the world. Like Dietrich, Lemper sings here in three languages-German, English and French, and sings with a very precise balance between Dietrich’s characteristic singing style and the danger of “playing too much” in imitation of her unique husky contralto. Here you can hear songs from the time of Dietrich’s success in Weimar Germany – the world-famous Lili Marlen, songs by her favorite composer Friedrich Holender, who, like her favorite Director von Sternberg, had to flee from the persecution of the Nazis, – Wenn Ich mir wunschen durfte, Ruins Of Berlin, sound jazz standards Mercer (One For My Baby, When The Workd Was Young) and porter (the Laziest Gal In Town) times of successful collaboration with Bert Bacharach, songs of great American folk singers Pete Seeger (Where Have All the Flowers Gone) and Bob Dylan (Blowing In the Wind), beautiful French songs, for example, Marie Marie Gilbert BECO. In short, this is a stunning excursion into the popular music of the twentieth century, which was loved and sung by the great Marlene Dietrich.
The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Center this week announced the return of Live from the Loading Dock: A Summer Concert Series for the 2022 season.
On five Wednesday evenings beginning in May, the Center will host a variety of talented and local musicians for the concert series with the scheduled lineup* as followed:
May 18 – DAVE ZINNO QUINTET
Featuring Shawnn Monteiro, Matt DeChamplain and Yoron Israel
All concerts begin at 4:30 p.m. with hamburgers and hotdogs to be provided completely free of charge. Performances will be held at the Loading Dock in front of the Center at 20 Dr. Marcus Wheatland Boulevard. Please bring your lawn chairs so you can sit back and enjoy this fun community event.
Bassist and composer Dave Zinno issues his third album, Fetish, with his group Unisphere. Zinno calls it the culmination of a year without live music and thus, it’s a huge, in some cases, unbridled release of energy for he and his band members – Mike Tucker (tenor sax), Eric Benny Bloom (trumpet & flugelhorn), Leo Genovese (keyboards), Tim Ray (piano), and Rafael Barata (drums/percussion), and guest Rafael Rocha on trombone. Most of the dozen tunes, recorded in two six-hour sessions, were composed by band members with Zinno (3), Tucker (3), Genovese (2), and Ray (1). They have their hands in the arrangements as well.
The album kicks off with Zinno’s title track. It’s a rollicking, volcanic thrill ride from the outset, meant to convey both chaos and celebration, that eventually settles into a groove once Genovese takes his keyboard solo, and the leader makes an emphatic bass statement to close it out. Genovese penned the robust, sweeping “Out of the Hole,” one of five where he plays the acoustic piano and Ray sits out. The pace on this one is not quite as frenetic, but it still clips along briskly, propelled by the pianist’s rapid runs and strong horn parts, especially Tucker’s elongated solo. Bloom steps in to make his first compositional contribution to the band on “Unknown Mystery,” a more relaxed pace than the two previous but celebratory and triumphant in tone. The burning pace, (album has not lagged a bit to this point) continues with the first of Tucker’s tunes, “The Golden Age,” one that he Barata crafted together in a 4/4 meter as a tip to hard bop.
“So Close, So Far,” the second of Zinno’s tunes, begins somewhat tentatively, before Tucker and Bloom state the theme, underpinned by the leader’s bass and Genovese comping on the piano, and stellar solos from Tucker and Bloom. Ray arranged “Beatriz,” from Brazilian composer Edu Lobo, presenting the band its first ballad, with Tucker’s gorgeous tenor leading the way. “Future History,” with its dramatic bass intro, is from composer Paul Nagel, a colorful piece featuring a bright sonic palette that again has sparkling turns from the front line and another glistening Genovese piano spot and impressive work on the kit from Barata.
Tucker authored both the sweeping and uplifting “Melancholy Daydream” and “Over the Horizon.” The former features both Ray (piano) and Genovese (keyboards) while the latter has Genovese at the piano. Tucker blows a storm in the former while the “Over the Horizon” breathes more easily but seriously, with Tucker, and Genovese engaged in dialogue before Zinno steps forth with his own poignant statement.
“Into the Whole” is the second Genovese piece, a pulsating jazz waltz that features a glowing flugelhorn solo from Bloom, followed by one of Tucker’s more lyrical statements, a rhythm section break led by Zinno, and a mellow trombone entry that builds into a bright burst of all three horns. “Nile” is one of Zinno’s early 1980s compositions inspired by the film “African Queen.” The band does a great job of creating and improvising the jungle sounds, transporting the listener to those river environs. The final track, “Meu Fraco e Café Forte” is from samba legend Dom Salvador, arranged by Rafael Rocha with assistance from drummer Barata. Unlike the others that were recorded in the studio, this one was recorded remotely with Barata assembling tracks from each member. The title suggests strong coffee and Unisphere, in their consistent fashion, bring the requisite potency, ending with a joyous climax.
This is a most jubilant recording with every track uplifting in its own way. These cats bring their ‘A’ game and swing hard throughout.
Readers have seen this name more than once in the reviews of his releases on the site. Two years ago, we also published a review of the previous album of the Dave Zinno’s Unisphere ensemble called “Stories Told” (2019). And after 2019, as you know, came the year marked by the sign of the COVID-19 pandemic …. … It seems to me that it is just right to introduce a special concept: “post-covid jazz”. Thousands of musicians locked in their homes during a lockdown, deprived of the opportunity to perform in front of an audience, have only one option left: to compose music and hope that the clouds will someday dispel. Some people still managed to give network concerts, but the bulk of them worked at home, for the future. And in 2021, a lot of albums appeared based on these materials, albums in the music of which one can almost physically feel the performers’ joy from the possibility of new meetings, while at least in the studio. “Fetish” is one of them. When Zinno and the musicians of his band gathered in the studio in November 2020, each of them brought the material he had accumulated. It has accumulated in as many as 16 songs. As a result, a 12-track program was selected for recording the album. All the musicians who played on “Stories Told” participated in the recording of the album, plus they were joined by Zinno’s old partner, Argentine keyboardist Leo Genovese, famous for his performances with Esperanza Spaulding, and also, as a guest, another, in addition to Raphael Barata, a Brazilian trombonist Rafael Rocha.
The album contains compositions and arrangements by Ray, Tucker, Genovese, Bloom and, of course, Dave Zinno himself – “Fetish”, “So Close So Far”, and “Nile”. The music of the ensemble, which is still mostly hard-bop in style, breathes with energy, joy of musicians’ communication with each other and, of course, mastery that has not disappeared anywhere. The album was recorded in two sessions, six hours each. As Dave himself says, “This project is the culmination of a year without live music. This record contains all the energy and emotions that have accumulated and have not found a way out for such a long time. Hopefully people will feel what we felt while making this album.” Zinno doesn’t have to worry – you can really hear it in the music of “Fetish”.
Picking up where the enrapturing “River of January” left off, Dave Zinno Unisphere’s follow-up, “Stories Told,” further explores the wild and beautiful jungle of jazz, more specifically, the Brazilian/Latin tributary: electric, funky, passionate, and rhythmic. Zinno (John Medeski, Hal Crook, Adam Nussbaum) here is partnered with Unisphere co-founder Mike Tucker (Arturo Sandoval), Eric “Benny” Bloom (Lettuce), Tim Ray (Tim Ray Trio, Paul Winter Consort) and drummer/percussionist Rafael Barata (Eliane Elias, Marc Johnson, Dianne Reeves). The ensemble is supreme and ambitious, benefiting from having a recording under their collective belt and refinement of the Unisphere mission. The performance is a passionate ode to the band’s multicultural vision.
The recording kicks off with “Neurótico,” by J.T. Meirelles, a samba jazz gem that sets the tone perfectly. Elsewhere, there’s a sweet rendition of Lennon-McCartney’s “Michelle,” arranged by pianist Ray; “Tá,” a rhythmically dynamic fusion of neo-Latin styles; and the powerful “Requiem,” composed by Mike Tucker in his father’s memory, which was heartrending for all of the players. “Stories Told” is, as it should be, a melting pot of pure jazz excitement, performed with verve and executed with inspiration. If you liked “River of January,” a recording with broad appeal and accessibility even considering Unisphere’s gorgeous intricacies, you’ll surely appreciate hearing these Stories.
Most Increased #8 and #5 in Most Added!!
Released, “Stories Told” is already one of the most added and biggest gainers on the JazzWeek chart!
Sharing the Love Dave Zinno Unisphere
brings a jazz celebration to
in late January,
with the release of their new recording, River of January
If there’s one jazz band you’d consider taking a chance to see live, make it Unisphere, Dave Zinno’s tremendous and joyous jazz experience. While the band’s recent recording, River of January—of which this night serves as an official release party—is an immense and beautiful record, there’s no doubt that this music is made for the stage.
The band Zinno has assembled is spectacular and all are citizens/musicians of the world. Unisphere includes the talents of sax man Mike Tucker (Arturo Sandoval), drummer Rafael Barata (Milton Nascimento, Marc Johnson), Leo Genovese (Joe Lovano, Esperanza Spaulding), and Crescent City trumpeter Benny Bloom. Tucker, a co-leader on the date, is frighteningly good and a perfect companion to Zinno. Drummer Rafael Barata is on the Rio jazz scene’s first call list, thanks to astonishing technique and great ideas. Argentine pianist and composer Leo Genovese first worked with Zinno in the band of trombone legend Hal Crook. He’s toured with Spaulding, been a member of Joe Lovano’s band, and played memorably with Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter. Eric “Benny” Bloom, he of quick wit and showmanship, is himself on the verge of stardom. His New England jazz upbringing plays well now in his New Orleans home.
Digging a bit deeper, the recording takes the vibe of traditional jazz and reverses the paradigm, so the songs, while familiar, evolve and explore. There are many highlights here, and while it wouldn’t be a waste of space, it would be easier to say that these tunes all include rushes of adrenaline, sweetness of melody and serious elements of style. River of January is a work of forward thinking tradition and one that has much substance within it to discover. It’ll be fascinating to see how this material translates, what colors it takes on, how Zinno and the band play it and play with it.
Fans of creative license and jazz invention can dig deep into this record, of course. But best would be to see Unisphere live at the Narrows and pick up their CD on New Bedford’s iconic Whaling City Sound label. It’ll be an excellent way to witness some adventurous jazz up close and personal, and it’s certain to leave you with the great aftertaste of pure jazz joy.
Dave Zinno Unisphere River of January WCS101 Sentimental yet devoid of bathos, forward-surging yet never at the expense of thought or taste, River of January flows in two directions, simultaneously. Some laws, including those of hydrodynamics, are written to be broken. Unisphere, the cooperative (in so many ways than one) jazz band led by bassist/ composer/ arranger/pedagogue Dave Zinno, infuses the vanguard of modern jazz with what I hear as a romanticism all too uncommon in artistic expression corrupted by the materialist zeitgeist. “Evolution” and “change” are not synonymous, and these guys know it.