Northwestern Press

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Thatcher takes it to ‘Jazz Upstairs’

Friday, March 22, 2019 by GEORGE VANDOREN in Focus

The Craig Thatcher Jazz Project performs in the “Jazz Upstairs” series, 7:30 p.m. March 22, Rodale Community Room. Miller Symphony Hall, Allentown. The concert is sold-out.

Thatcher, an International Clinician-Ambassador for C.F. Martin & Co., Nazareth, guitar instructor and recording artist, is well-known for his guitar work. Thatcher has performed with a slew of top performers: Simone, Buddy Guy, Derek Trucks, John Mayall, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Savoy Brown, the Spencer Davis Group, and David Bromberg, to name a few.

DiBussolo brings melodies of love to Valentine’s ‘Jazz Upstairs’

Saturday, February 16, 2019 by GEORGE VANDOREN in Focus

Frank DiBussolo and the Philly Reunion Group return to Miller Symphony Hall’s “Jazz Upstairs” series in the Rodale Community Room, 7:30 p.m. Feb. 15 with “Wine, Women, and Song,” a melange of Valentine’s Day weekend-themed tunes for music lovers.

DiBussolo, a veteran jazz guitarist and eight-time Grammy nominee, has performed with Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett and Diana Ross, among others. He has been a featured soloist with the bands of Buddy Rich, Dizzy Gillespie, Art Blakey, Bucky Pizzarelli, Howard Alden, Lester Lannin and a long list of others.

Fusion Trio recording CD at ‘Jazz Upstairs’ concert

Thursday, January 10, 2019 by GEORGE VANDOREN in Focus

The Fusion Jazz Trio Miller Symphony Hall concert, 7:30 p.m. Jan. 11, marks the second time the trio has recorded a CD in the Rodale Community Room “Jazz Upstairs” series.

The ensemble of Vernon Mobley, drums; Brian Bortz, bass, and George Grund, keyboards, are joined by Joe Mixon, guitar, and Chet Brown, vocals.

Fusion Jazz Trio recorded its first CD, “Fusionistic,” at Miller Symphony Hall.

Leonhardt Trio puts jazz spin on some Christmas classics

Friday, December 14, 2018 by GEORGE VANDOREN in Focus

The David Leonhardt Trio returns to Miller Symphony Hall with “A Winter Holiday Jazz Concert” in the “Jazz Upstairs’ series, Rodale Community Room, 7:30 p.m. Dec. 14.

The concert features selections from the group’s CD, “I’ll Be Home for Christmas.”

The ensemble has played numerous festivals and concert venues across the United States and around the globe, including such venerable jazz venues as the Apollo Theater, Blue Note, and Birdland.

Canadian Brass tour stops at Miller Symphony Hall

Wednesday, November 21, 2018 by GEORGE VANDOREN in Focus

The Canadian Brass, the most famous brass ensemble in the world, presents its holiday season tour concert, “Christmas Time Is Here,” 7:30 p.m. Nov. 23, Miller Symphony Hall, Allentown.

The Canadians are among the most famous, most entertaining, and most musically excellent of all brass groups today.

Their storied history dates back to 1970. For nearly 50 years, the group has produced the highest-quality performances in venues all over the globe.

Gypsy jazz goes ‘Upstairs’

Thursday, November 15, 2018 by GEORGE VANDOREN in Focus

The Hot Club of Philadelphia presents its contemporary take on gypsy jazz, 7:30 p.m. Nov. 16, in the “Jazz Upstairs” series, Rodale Community Room, Miller Symphony Hall, Allentown.

“I really rediscovered gypsy jazz around 2000,” said Hot Club of Philadelphia founder and guitarist Barry Wahrhaftig. “I saw a show at Lincoln Center and then another player doing that style.

Sara Caswell: Violinist of all genres

Friday, October 19, 2018 by GEORGE VANDOREN in Focus

The Sara Caswell Quartet brings its contemporary jazz sound to the “Jazz Upstairs” series, 7:30 p.m. Oct. 19, Rodale Community Room, Miller Symphony Hall, Allentown.

The Grammy-nominated Caswell says the audience can expect, “A mix of standards with a contemporary feel, reimagined, reworked. I love taking the audience on a journey. I want to give a lot of variety. I never want a performance to be predictable.”

Defining Zen music 101 in ‘Jazz Upstairs’ series

Friday, September 14, 2018 by GEORGE VANDOREN in Focus

If I speak of Zen, it won’t be Zen I’m speaking of.

That statement applies equally to Zen Buddhism and to the delightful mix of jazz, pop, classical, and world music produced by Mike Krisukas and Friends.

Krisukas, along with both old and new band-mates, reprises the music of Zen For Primates plus some new music in the “Jazz Upstairs” series, 7:30 p.m. Sept. 14, Rodale Community Room, Miller Symphony Hall, Allentown.

Tony Tixier and trio finds poetry in jazz

Friday, August 17, 2018 by GEORGE VANDOREN in Focus

The Tony Tixier Trio brings an exciting style of jazz to the Rodale Community Room for the “Jazz Upstairs” series, 7:30 p.m. Aug. 17, Miller Symphony Hall, Allentown.

Tixier, a French native, began piano studies at age six. By age 14, he received a degree in Classical Piano. One of his teachers encouraged him to study jazz.

”The teacher was kind of square, classical. I thought, ‘No way.’ Jazz was for old people, people who are cheesy. I was thinking more of swing jazz,” Tixier says in a phone interview.

Third Christmas City Jazz Festival features Easton’s Jeff ‘Tain’ Watts

Friday, July 20, 2018 by GEORGE VANDOREN in Focus

The Pennsylvania Jazz Collective presents a smorgasbord of jazz for the third annual “Christmas City Jazz Festival,” 1 p.m. - 10 p.m., Bethlehem Municipal Ice Rink, 345 Illick’s Mill Road, Bethlehem.

The event features 10 groups on two stages.

Festival headliner is drummer Jeff “Tain” Watts. The Easton resident has performed with a host of jazz greats, including Branford and Wynton Marsalis, Michael Brecker, Betty Carter, Alice Coltrane, Ravi Coltrane, and Troy Roberts.