Whitehall-Coplay Press

Monday, December 11, 2017

Zen is when at Symphony Hall

Thursday, November 16, 2017 by GEORGE VANDOREN in Focus

You may not achieve nirvana but you can experience “The Music of Zen,” that is “The Music of Zen For Primates,” in the “Jazz Upstairs,” 7:30 p.m. Nov. 17, Rodale Community Room, Miller Symphony Hall, Allentown.

When asked to characterize the group’s music, which has been dubbed “cabaret rock,” Krisukas, a founder, composer and guitarist of Zen For Primates, says, “I really can’t describe it. It’s too complex to explain in one sentence. Part of the approach from the beginning was to juxtapose various styles.”

When they’re the Hot Club, they’re hot

Friday, October 20, 2017 by GEORGE VANDOREN in Focus

What’s cool and hot at the same time? Easy: The Hot Club of Philadelphia. This ensemble gives a contemporary twist to Gypsy Jazz as part of the “Jazz Upstairs” series, 7:30 p.m. Oct. 20, Rodale Community Room, Miller Symphony Hall, Allentown.

The group traces its origins back to 2001 when guitarist Barry Wahrhaftig created an ensemble dedicated to Gypsy Jazz music of the legendary Hot Club of France Quintet. That group featured jazz legends guitarist Django Reinhardt and violinist Stephane Grappelli.

High-level silliness: The Queen’s Cartoonists plays ‘Looney Tunes’ and all that jazz

Friday, September 22, 2017 by GEORGE VANDOREN in Focus

Looking for something out of the ordinary yet with toe-tapping melodies?

The Queen’s Cartoonists bring all that and more to Miller Symphony Hall’s “Live OnStage Series” at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 29. The ensemble features video projections, vocal numbers, comedy, and up-tempo swing arrangements.

The Cartoonists, founded by pianist and composer Joel Pierson, played their first gig in March 2015. The group’s name comes from the fact that all the original members live in Queens. Now, alas, the bass player resides in Brooklyn.

Nobody does Bond better: Broadway diva Rachel York joins ASO for Pops opener

Friday, September 15, 2017 by GEORGE VANDOREN in Focus

A Broadway diva meets a suave secret agent on Sixth Street in Allentown when songstress Rachel York joins the Allentown Symphony Orchestra for the 2017-18 season-opening Pops Concert, “The Music Of James Bond And More,” 7:30 p.m. Sept. 23, Miller Symphony Hall, Allentown.

York is well-known for her Broadway performances in the original Tony Award-winning production of “City of Angels”; “Les Miserables”; “Victor/Victoria” (Drama Desk Award), with Julie Andrews; “Sly Fox,” with Richard Dreyfuss, and “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels,” with Jonathan Pryce.

Mark Friday for Last Thursday

Friday, September 8, 2017 by GEORGE VANDOREN in Focus

It’s Thursday on Friday.

Miller Symphony Hall presents The Last Thursday Band as part of its “Jazz Upstairs” series, 7:30 p.m. Sept. 8, Rodale Communioty Room, Miller Symphony Hall, Allentown.

The ensemble consists of Brian Bortz, bass; Lou Czechowski, keyboards; Vicki Doney, vocals, and Daniel Gonzalez, drums and percussion. Chet Brown will join the group on vocals.

Bortz says the band is a product of serendipity that “morphed organically into what it is.”

Chicago hits Musikfest with all the hits

Friday, August 4, 2017 by GEORGE VANDOREN in Focus

The celebrated sounds of Chicago will ring out Aug. 5 at Bethlehem’s Musikfest. The Rock And Roll Hall of Fame band concert kicks off at 7:30 p.m. at the Sands Steel Stage at PNC Plaza.

This year marks Chicago’s 50th consecutive year of touring, and trumpeter Lee Loughnane has made all 50. The tour takes the group from the East Coast to the West Coast with stops in Canada and Mexico and concludes after a few weeks off in Shippensburg in mid-November.

Afternoon & night delight: Spyro Gyra’s Tom Schuman headlines second annual Christmas City Jazz Fest

Friday, July 21, 2017 by GEORGE VANDOREN in Focus

July 22 promises to be a jazz lover’s delight in the Lehigh Valley.

The Pennsylvania Jazz Collective presents its second annual “Christmas City Summer Jazz Festival,” 12:30 - 10 p.m. July 22 at the Bethlehem Municipal Ice Rink, 345 Illick’s Mill Road, Bethlehem. There will be 12 groups on two stages. Festival headliner is Tom Schuman of Spyro Gyra.

Jazz with Roper at Miller Symphony Hall

Friday, July 21, 2017 by GEORGE VANDOREN in Focus

Lehigh Valley jazz legend Dave Roper holds court at Miller Symphony Hall as part of the “Jazz Upstairs” series with the first set kicking off at 7:30 p.m. July 21 in the Rodale Room.

The veteran jazz pianist has been performing in the trio configuration since his graduation from Lafayette College in 1960.

Roper notes, “After Lafayette, rather than look for corporate job, I found I could play piano three or four nights a week with a bass and drummer.” He plays solo piano “on rare occasions.”

Going to the Go Trio

Saturday, June 17, 2017 by GEORGE VANDOREN in Focus

As part of its “Steam Heat Tour,” Viktorija Gecyteė and the Go Trio returns to Miller Symphony Hall for two sets at 7:30 p.m. June 16 in the Rodale Community Room in the “Jazz Upstairs” series.

The concert marks the fourth consecutive year the group has performed at Miller Symphony Hall and the ninth year of collaboration for the artists. Concert-goers can expect to hear jazz standards and tunes from the American Songbook.

Paulsen Quintet to premiere two works

Friday, May 19, 2017 by GEORGE VANDOREN in Focus

Peter Paulsen had his own “Chair Suite” and “Concrete & Firelies” by the quintet’s saxophonist Jonathan Ragonese in mind when he assembled his quintet. Both works contain composed ensemble sections as well as improvised sections calling for almost conversational interaction among quintet members.

The Peter Paulsen Quintet presents the world premiere of these two works in the next “Jazz Upstairs” at Miller Symphony Hall, May 19. The group will play two sets. Doors open at 7 p.m.