Tuesday, October 19, 2010

About town

We've been very fortunate with the weather here in Champaign-Urbana lately. It's been sunny and cool, with low humidity, for a number of days in a row. The trees are starting to change color, but we haven't really had a killing frost here in town. We took advantage with a trip to the University of Illinois Arboretum, the Idea Garden (sponsored by the Master Gardeners' program), and Homer Lake, part of the Forest Preserve District.

In the afternoon on Sunday we enjoyed some time indoors in the sunny lovely space of the Urbana library, listening to Mean Lids' delightful performance of Irish music for the violin and flute. Then in the evening, we went to hear a group called "The Music of Django Reinhardt" at the Iron Post.
We have enjoyed this group before, several times. The composition of the band is pretty fluid. One time there was a super trumpet player and a clarinet player and a drummer. Another time a fantastic stride piano player named Paul Asaro joined the group for the evening. Often Ben Smith (also in Mean Lids) plays fiddle. Tonight a guy from Nashville, Paul Kramer, was in town with his fiddle. Jordan Kaye on guitar and Josh Houchin on bass seem to be the regulars.

What kind of music do they play? Well, it's always spirited, often nostalgic or poignant, and frequently toe-tapping. Jean "Django" Reinhardt was a Gypsy jazz guitarist who started playing jazz in Paris in the 1930s. Despite playing with two fingers as a result of an injury in a fire, he was an incredible guitarist and a formidable composer. He teamed up with Stephane Grappelli on violin for quite a while and the music was amazing. His influence has been considerable, both on jazz musicians of the past and present and on a number of musicians who don't primarily play jazz.

The local band plays a lot of Django originals, of course, but also some good old songs from the thirties and forties, such as "Stardust" and "Sweet Georgia Brown" and so on. There was a pretty good sized audience there, many with white hair, who knew these tunes pretty well. We had a fine time.

I took several photos, but I'm having some upload problems right now in Blogger. Maybe I can add the other pics later. Tomorrow night, we go to hear Bate Calado, a Brazilian samba group.

No comments:

Post a Comment