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Text superimposed on The Siege by James Little. Oil and Wax on Canvas. 2003. Private Collection, NY
Choral Music
Edward A Kliszus

Duke Ellington Sacred Concerts

For the first time in 35 years, Duke Ellington’s Sacred Concerts returned to the stage. Envisioned initially by Ellington as a “Festival of Grace,” provenance for Sacred Concerts is informed by a broad spectrum of jazz, classical and choral music, spirituals, dance, gospel, and blues. Ellington’s compositional product in this venue consisted of a triptych of 34 songs originally recorded in 1965, 1968, and 1973 respectively. It can be argued that an august Ellington facing his mortality considered his Sacred Concerts among his most significant works.

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Ben Wendel. Photo credit: Shervin Lainez
Jazz
Edward A Kliszus

Ben Wendel Quartet at the Village Vanguard

Wendel’s songs are strikingly original, expressive, and extraordinarily inventive. His ideas and improvisations are freely chromatic, virtuosic, and organic, and he employed subtle be-bop idioms when it suited him. His facility is so commanding that he regularly reaches into the stratosphere of the tenor saxophone’s extended range. Notably, he can express ideas with the restraint of Lester Young while employing the pyrotechnics of Charlie Parker.

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Bill Charlap, David Wong and Dennis Mackrel at Birdland. Photo credit: Edward Kliszus
Jazz
Edward A Kliszus

The Bill Charlap Trio at Birdland

Charlap is a virtuoso with full command of his musical voice on the piano who, with his fellow artists, lifted spirits and touched hearts. Fitting his artistic soul and imagination, Charlap played with passion, rich cinematic grace, and delicacy. His fiery offerings were an elegant, eloquent creative commentary that created energy and excitement.

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Cyclic Journey by Marshall Gilkes
Jazz
Edward A Kliszus

Trombonist/Composer Marshall Gilkes Presents: Cyclic Journey

Gilkes’s new album Cyclic Journey touches anyone who appreciates and enjoys world-class artistry and virtuosity in classical and jazz idioms. Cyclic Journey is a musical adventure where the listener can experience the sounds of a team of musicians at the top of their game. At the same time, Gilkes shares his biographical virtual journey that emerged from his creative imagination. As you listen, close your eyes, and permit yourself to be transported through his ephemeral, beautiful sonic world.

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Cabaret
Edward A Kliszus

Tony DeSare at Birdland

Tony DeSare introduced each song in an engaging and deeply personal way. His manner and charm in speaking were as crucial as his singing and playing. Audience members sighed when he spoke of his nine-year-old son and the romance and beauty of Paris. They nodded and smiled as he described the provenance of each musical gem.

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Billy Valentine at the Chelsea Table and Stage. Photo: Courtesy Fortune Creative
Cabaret
Victoria L. Dammer

Billy Valentine

Every seat, including those at the in-theatre bar, was occupied with guests who were in for an outstanding presentation of Valentine’s gifts of vocals and his ability to perform music that crossed a broad genre of songs.

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Eli Bolin. Photo credit: James Daniel
Cabaret
Edward A Kliszus

Eli Bolin Has No Friends

As the show unwound, it was like a fun family reunion picnic of Saturday Night Live, Second City Television, and a dash of Uncle Floyd, where everyone takes turns showing what they can do to make everyone smile and better off than when they arrived.

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Natalie Douglas Photo credt: Lynn Redmile
Cabaret
Edward A Kliszus

Natalie Douglas at Birdland

The audience was packed with Douglas’ loyal followers. As she introduced songs and told anecdotes of her mingling with the likes of Dolly Parton, Lena Horne, or Roberta Flack, people nodded and smiled in affirmation. She projects a sentimental, nostalgic, and caring persona and each song she sings creates a warm, safe, embracing space. Balancing her view of life through song is her sense of humor, a sweet smile, and joie de vivre.

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Alexa Tarantino. Photo: Anna Yatskevich
Jazz
Edward A Kliszus

Alexa Tarantino Quartet

The Alexa Tarantino Quartet made the scene at the Birdland Jazz club. Alto saxophonist Tarantino brings the Bird back to Birdland with her smooth, mellow sound. She’s cool, relaxed, and versatile as she solos and trades with the best of them, allowing everyone to speak their own musical voices to songs in a great groove. She draws us into her world of energy, excitement, and romance. Her sound is soulful, rich, and as subtle and formidable as she commands.

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