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Sunday, June 9, 2013

Commentary on A Weaving of Traditions by JazZen

Last night my husband and I went to Sundin Hall on the campus of my alma mater, Hamline U, to see a performance by JazZen. The show was titled "A Weaving of Traditions," with the subtitle "The Spirit of Native American Flute - The Essence of Jazz." The quintet of musicians played drums, electric cello, electric guitar, and an assortment of Native American Indian flutes. Ojibway vocalist Lyz Jaakola, who also played percussion, sang in English and her native language. In-between pieces, Bobb Fantauzzo, the leader of the group, spoke about what Native American music and jazz have in common: "...oral transmission, repetition, the centrality of rhythm, syncopation and improvisation." The group played several pieces influenced by Native Americans Kid Ory, Frank Trumbauer, Don Cherry, and Oscar Pettiford, at times weaving traditional Native American music with the compositions of jazz greats such as Duke Ellington and Dave Brubeck. The music was transcendent and will be recorded in my memory as one of the finest performances that I have ever had the privilege to attend. The performance was sponsored by KBEM Jazz88 radio. Sundin Hall is an elegant jewel box theater that seats about 300 and is one of my favorite music venues in the Twin Cities. Plus, parking is free and it's a short walk to Sundin Hall.

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