Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Red Poppy Art House: June, 2018

Thanks to the touring plans of Lithuanian jazz singer Viktorija Gečytė, this site has already jumped the gun on the listings for June on the Upcoming Events Web page of the Web site for the Red Poppy Art House. Thus, while I am running about a week earlier than I did when I created the article for the May schedule at the Poppy, I figure that sooner is better than later. As usual, I can update this page as further information becomes available, using my Facebook shadow site to provide notification of any increments after they have been added.

For those not yet acquainted with this venue and its imaginative programming, the Red Poppy is located in the Mission at 2698 Folsom Street on the southwest corner of 23rd Street. Unless stated otherwise, tickets will be available in advance online through Eventbrite. As a result, the dates provided below will be hyperlinked to the Eventbrite event pages for purchasing tickets.

Given the demand for these concerts, it is likely that only a limited number of tickets will be available at the door. Remember, the Poppy is a small space. Even those who have purchased their tickets in advance should probably make it a point to be there when the doors open one half-hour before the performance is scheduled to begin. Here are the specifics for those events that have been posted thus far:

Friday, June 1, 7:30 p.m.: This is the aforementioned concert by Gečytė, who will be accompanied by a trio led by Gene Perla on bass.

Sunday, June 3, 7:30 p.m.: The Cairo Guitar Collective is a trio of guitarists Taha El Mansy (who also plays oud), Pawel Kuzma, ands Chelsea Green. The group has built up a repertoire of quality works for small guitar ensembles commissioned from Egypt’s best composers. Four such composers will be presented on the program they have prepared for the Poppy. “Love the sounds, which sounds, as it sounds” is an avant-garde trio for two guitars and oud by Bahaa El Ansary. In contrast “Tre Angoli” is a tuneful guitar trio by Ashraf Fouad. The remaining two works are both guitar duets, “A Case for Meditation” by Amr Okba and “The Silk Road” by Karim Frege. (Fun fact: It is not often that you get to hear music by an Egyptian composer who has the same name as one of the “founding fathers” of mathematical logic as we now know it.) Admission will be on a sliding scale between $20 and $25.

Monday, June 4, 7:30 p.m.: Those who have been following the recital scene for the last few years know that several recitalists have taken a great interest in preparing programs based on music composed during the final years of major composers. Their ranks have now been joined by Duo Vis-À-Vis, whose members are violist Brandin Kreuder and pianist Craig Jordan. They have prepared a program based on the final chamber works of Johannes Brahms and Sergei Rachmaninoff.

Where both of these composers are concerned, however, the selections amount to a bit of a stretch. In Brahms’ case his final chamber music compositions were the two Opus 120 sonatas in F minor and E-flat major, respectively. However, both sonatas were written for and dedicated to the clarinetist Richard Mühlfeld, whose clarinet playing was so impressive as to persuade Brahms to change his mind about retiring from composing. Nevertheless, he subsequently rearranged both of them for viola and piano, making them his only duo sonatas for viola and piano.

In Rachmaninoff’s case there is nothing even close to “final” about the music; and, again, the music was not initially composed with the viola in mind. Rachmaninoff’s last piece of chamber music is his Opus 19 cello sonata in G minor. There is no indication that Rachmaninoff prepared a version of this sonata for viola, but there is a 1950 Russian edition of the score with a viola part prepared by Vadim Borisovsky. This probably would not have been much of an effort, since the cello strings are tuned to the same pitches as the viola, just an octave lower. On the other hand Opus 19 was completed in November of 1901, meaning that it predates the third piano concerto in D minor (Opus 30, composed in 1909) and the second symphony in E minor (Opus 27, completed in 1907), not to mention any number of other familiar Rachmaninoff compositions.

Petty details aside, the sonatas by both Brahms and Rachmaninoff are equally impressive. As far as I am concerned, there is no such thing as playing any of them too many times. If the idea behind this recital is a bit deceptive, the program is still an imaginative one likely to offer any number of rewards to the serious listener. Admission will $15 but only $10 if purchased online in advance. In addition both students and children will be admitted at no charge.

Friday, June 8, 7:30 p.m.: The Redwood Tango Ensemble is a contemporary tango sextet from Oakland. The group is led from the bandoneon by Charles Gorczynski, who is also a composer. The other members are Elyse Weakley on piano, violinists Mia Bella D’Augelli and Ishtar Hernandez, cellist Anton Estaniel, and Daniel Fabricant on bass. The program will celebrate the release of Prizefighter, a vinyl album that features Gorczynski’s music. The concert will also include contemporary tango works by Diego Schissi, Julian Peralta, Daniel Ruggiero, and Astor Piazzolla. Admission will be on a sliding scale between $15 and $20.

[added 5/20, 11:40 a.m.:

Saturday, June 9, 7:30 p.m.: This will be a two-set evening featuring two groups that specialize in traditional Lautari music from Moldova, Romania, and beyond. The first set will be taken by the Mahala collaborative project that features four local musicians specializing in Balkan sources: Andrew Cohen on accordion, Balder ten Cate on cimbalom, Marika Dvorak on violin, and Travis Hendrix on bass. They will be followed by a visit from Montreal by Duo Moldova, whose members are known as only Sergei (accordion) and Valera (violin). Admission will be on a sliding scale between $20 and $25.

[added 5/22, 10:05 a.m.:

Friday, June 15, 7:30 p.m.: The Mulberry Project is a collaboration among a group of musicians, geographically scattered across the continent, but unified by their passion, virtuosity, and deep expertise in the art and folk music of Ottoman worlds past and present. For this program vocalist Brenna MacCrimmon will be acccompanied by six instrumentalists: Phaedon Sinis (qanun and Cretan lyra), Beth Bahia Cohen (violin), Paul Brown (bass), Adam Good (oud), Polly Tapia Ferber (percussion), and Souren Baronian (clarinet and percussion). The program will be dedicated to the memory of oud master Haig Manoukian. Admission will be on a sliding scale between $20 and $25.]

Saturday, June 16, 7 p.m.: Flamenco dancer Melissa Cruz will give two back-to-back shows entitled Collaborations in Flamenco. (The second show will begin at 8:45 p.m. However, as of this writing, there is only a single Eventbrite event page that covers entry for the 7 p.m. show.) Cruz’ collaborators will be Alex Conde (piano), Gregory Masako Jenkins (horns), and Marco Peris (percussion). Admission will be on a sliding scale between $20 and $25.

Sunday June 17, 7:30 p.m.: Drummer and poet PC Muñoz is preparing a concert to celebrate the release of his new album, Physical Science, and its companion chapbook, Inside Pocket of a Houndstooth Blazer. Joining PC is cellist Alex Kelly, bassist Bryan Dean, and special guests including rapper DEM ONE. Admission will be on a sliding scale between $15 and $20.

Thursday, June 21, 7:30 p.m.: The Solomon Gottfried Quartet will present a program entitled Chordless Chamber Jazz. The title suggests an emphasis on polyphony over harmonic progress that is as likely to have as much to do with contemporary chamber music as without jazz improvisation. The emphasis on polyphony is reinforced by the fact that the quartet does not have any instruments that lend themselves to playing chords, such as the piano or the guitar. Gottfried leads from his bass, and the other players are Jasper Dütz on both alto saxophone and bass clarinet, Abdulrahman Amer on trombone, and Jacob Patrone on drums. Admission will be on a sliding scale between $15 and $20.]

[added 5/22, 10:15 a.m.:

Friday, June 22, 7:30 p.m.: Pianist and composer Danny Green will lead a trio, whose other members are Justin Grinnell on bass and Julien Cantelm on drums. The group will present original music from their latest album, One Day It Will, as well as their own take on jazz standards. Admission will be on a sliding scale between $15 and $20.

Saturday, June 23, 7:30 p.m.: Pianist Caili O’Doherty, based in New York City, will lead a quartet that will include two Bay Area musicians, Cory Cox on drums and Steven Lugerner on saxophones. The bass player for the group has not yet been announced. This will also be an album-based program, featuring original jazz compositions and arrangements from O’Doherty’s debut album, Padme, as well as new material being prepared for her next record. Admission will be on a sliding scale between $15 and $20.]

[added 5/27, 7:35 a.m.:

Sunday, June 24, 2 p.m.: This will be the next installment of the free Monthly Community Rumba, with music provided by Rumberos de Radio Habana. While this is a free event, donations are warmly accepted. All donated money goes to the performing musicians, and a recommended amount is between $5 and $10.

Sunday, June 24, 7:30 p.m.: Drummer Thomas Strønen leads one of the better examples of what can be called a chamber jazz ensemble. The “front line” of the group consists of the piano trio of Håkon Aase on violin, Leo Svensson Sander on cello, and Ayumi Tanaka on piano. Strønen then provides rhythm, assisted by Mats Eilertsen on bass. The group will use their visit to the Poppy to present their second ECM release, Time is a Blind Guide. Admission will be on a sliding scale between $20 and $25.

Thursday, June 28, 7:30 p.m.: Guitarist George Cole is currently on a tour leading his EUROCANA trio, whose other members are Kaeli Earle (bass) and Madeline Tasquin (guitar and percussion). Their are also vocalists skilled in singing three-part harmony. Their influences include Django Reinhardt, rock and roll, jazz, and French chanson. Admission will be on a sliding scale between $15 and $20.

Friday, June 29, 7:30 p.m.: Vocalist Susana Pineda leads her New Quartet, whose instrumentalists are Morgan Maudiere (piano), Shimpei Ogawa (bass), and Zach Mondlick (drums). This will be a pre-release concert of the group’s new CD NeoTropical, which features both original works and arrangements. Their style blends modern jazz with Latin rhythms and other genres. Admission will be on a sliding scale between $15 and $20.

Saturday, June 30, 7:30 p.m.: Alejandro y María Laura is the duo of Peruvian vocalists Alejandro Rivas and Maria Laura Bustamante. Rivas also plays guitar with Bustamante on keyboards. The program will present their latest album La casa no existe. They will be joined by local singer-songwriter guests. Admission will be on a sliding scale between $15 and $20.]

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