The Four-Bit Fancy Band Plays Cliftonfest Today From 11 am to 1 pm

At the Clifton Plaza today (September 29), the Four-Bit Fancy Band will be playing Americana with bluegrass influences from 11 am to 1 pm as part of Cliftonfest. Banjo, dobro, upright bass, mandolin and twelve-string guitar are among the instruments this all-acoustic unit uses in performance. Along with playing music together for a long time, two of the band members – guitarist Rob Taylor and bassist Pete Brown – are veteran Gaslight Property employees.  Unless you’ve been hiding in some dark hollow, they’ll do songs y0u’ll remember from the Great Americana Songbook. Here’s a video of the Four-Bit Fancy Band performing the classics “I Know You Rider” and “Sitting on Top of The World:”

And here’s a lineup for the music for the rest of the weekend: Continue reading “The Four-Bit Fancy Band Plays Cliftonfest Today From 11 am to 1 pm”

A Weekend in Clifton Kicks Off This Friday, September 28

A Weekend in Clifton (of which Gaslight Property is a proud co-sponsor) kicks off this Friday, September 28, and by all indications this will be the biggest and best celebration of Clifton in a long time. One hint that folks are upping the ante: a few blocks in the heart of the Gaslight District (Ludlow Avenue between Middleton Avenue and Clifton Avenue, Telford Avenue between Shiloh Street and Ludlow Avenue, and Ormond Avenue between Ludlow Avenue and Howell Avenue) will be closed from 6 pm Friday, September 28 to 5 am Monday, October 1.  That will encourage more of a street party atmosphere where people can roam around drinking beer, dancing, etc., etc. Continue reading “A Weekend in Clifton Kicks Off This Friday, September 28”

Laetitia Sadier at The Contemporary Arts Center This Thursday, Sept. 27

At 11 pm this Thursday, Sept. 27 Laeititia Sadier, the once lead vocalist/keyboardist/guitarist for Stereolab, will be performing at the Contemporary Arts Center. Stereolab had a distinct and seductive sound that combined a rhythmic groove with a loungy feel that was a throwback to the 1960s, when lush, colorful and dreamy sounds filled the air via soundtracks, bossa nova, and easy listening music . With a huge, airy soundscape, Stereolab was the ultimate headphone music. Laetitia’s new release, Silencio, finds her mining a similar sound. Having missed Stereolab’s performance at the Southgate House many moons ago, I’ll definitely come to this (please don’t sell out). Here’s a video of her single “Find Me The Pulse of The Universe”  from Silencio:

Fred Hersch at the Blue Wisp Tonight and Tomorrow

Due to some strange aligning of the stars, this week is shaping up to be an unusually exciting week of music in Cincinnati. For starters, tonight and tomorrow (Monday, September 24 and Tuesday, September 25) pianist Fred Hersch will be bringing a trio to the Blue Wisp. I believe it’s this week that Fred’s new 2-CD live set Alive At the Vanguard is being released on Palmetto Records. Alive consists of live performances at the Village Vanguard during a week-long stay with the same trio that’s coming to the Blue Wisp, and it’s one of those rare recordings that deserves “instant classic” status. Among the compositions included is “Doxy,” which was penned by Sonny Rollins; the first recording of it appeared on the Miles Davis album Bag’s Groove in 1954. It’s a nice, sleazy, boozy, bluesy number that I heard saxophonist Jimmy McGary perform one night at Cory’s. A few months later I requested the song before his show began, and he assured me that he wasn’t going to play it – and then, at the end of the last set, he broke it out. Fred Hersch, who grew up in Cincinnati and attended Walnut Hills High School, used to perform with Jimmy McGary, and I’m curious if they ever played the song together; maybe I’ll find out this week. Here’s a video of Fred Hersch playing “Doxy:”

In my next blog entry I’ll write about some of the must-see shows coming to the Midpoint Music Festival.

The Art Cars Are Coming

A Warhol-Inspired Art Car From the 2011Cliftonfest

During Weekend in Clifton taking place September 28 to 30 local artists will be painting cars the way they should be painted: as works of art. The artists doing the work are all connected with ArtWorks, whose murals you’ve seen around town; in all, ArtWorks has created more than 300 public works of art in Greater Cincinnati. ArtWorks has long been part of at Weekend in Clifton; they started with painting the streets and four years ago added art cars to the mix. Continue reading “The Art Cars Are Coming”

Sao Paulo Underground at the Contemporary Arts Center: Great Music, Great Time


The Sao Paulo Underground concert that took place at the Contemporary Arts Center last Friday was well attended: most of the seats were filled, plus many people chose to stand. The sound was good and the space intimate, and I think people appreciated the music from different angles: jazz fans who showed up to Rob Mazurek’s role were treated to some fine trumpet playing, lovers of South American music heard a post-modern take on Braziliana, and people who are tuned into new electronic were courtesy experienced a rich mix of both lo- and hi-fi keyboard sounds courtesy of Guilherme Granado.

That differing schools could appreciate the band was underscored after the show. When Guilherme Granado mentioned touring with the electronica ensemble Prefuse 73, it turned out a friend of mine was a fan, whereas I had never heard of them before. I, on the other hand, had seen trumpeter Rob Mazurek with the jazz ensemble Starlicker a couple times at The Loft Society. Since those performances I have written about Mazurek and two of the labels he records for (Delmark and Cuneiform), partly because I like his music and also because both of those labels are starting to put music out on vinyl again. Mazurek and I talked about that, and we also discussed his experiences playing the Loft Society, the great underground music performance in Cincinnati. “That’s probably my favorite place to play anywhere,” Mazurek said, which is amazing considering that he’s performed all over the world. And he’s not the only person who loved playing there: the late Billy Bang and Barry Altschul are among the artists I’ve chatted with who were effusive in their praise of the venue, which is swinging back into action with a performance by William Hooker on Saturday, October 20.

Here’s the closing melody from last Friday’s performance by the Sao Paulo Underground:


Kicking Off A Weekend in Clifton

There will be two stages for music during the Weekend in Clifton taking place Friday, September 28 to Sunday, September 30 on Ludlow Avenue in Clifton. One of the stages will be located at Clifton Plaza next door to Aquarius Star, and the other stage will be at Middleton Avenue. In this blog I’ll be talking about some of the talent that will be appearing on those stages, and I’ll start with the first band to play on the first night.

From 7 pm to 9 pm Friday, September 28 a group that bills itself as “a bluegrass/folk/americana singin’ family” will be performing at Clifton Plaza next door to Aquarius Star and across the street from Graeter’s. Their name is A Side of Taylors, and basically mom, dad and the four kids all sing and play Americana songs with a purity and warmth that’s almost unheard of in mainstream music. Recently they were sent to America’s Got Talent because of the following video, and hopefully we’ll see them on national TV soon – but first catch them live and in person at A Weekend in Clifton:

Sao Paulo Underground at the Contemporary Arts Center this Friday, September 14

Trumpeter Rob Mazurek is one of the more restless and adventurous musicians  around these days. He’s part of the Chicago jazz scene, which remains vital even though elsewhere jazz has struggled to remain on the radar. Fortunately, his restlessness includes what I’m assuming is non-stop touring; I’ve caught him a couple times in recent years at the Loft Society, where he performed with Starlicker, a trumpet-vibes-drums trio. Even with such a small ensemble Mazurek favored a dense sound that only got thicker with his much larger Exploding Star Orchestra. Sao Paulo Underground, his combination of jazz, Brazilian tropicalia and electronics, is coming to the Contemporary Arts Center this Friday, September 14 at 8 p.m.  Again Mazurek will feature a dense, multi-layered sound, this time packed with polyrhythms and the rich harmonies of both Brazilian music and jazz.  Released on the Cuneiform label, the new Sao Paulo Underground record Tres Cabecas Locouras came out on vinyl, and a representative for Cuneiform has told me that both vinyl and CD copies of the release will be on hand that evening, so bring a few extra bucks and tote home a brand new record (remember when people though they were going to become extinct?). Here’s a link to a song from a 2006 Sao Paulo Underground release:

And a free download from the new release on Cuneiform Records is available here:

‘Newport: Gangsters, Gambling, Girls’ at the Esquire Theatre


It’s turning out to be a highly competitive week for this year’s Cincinnati Film Festival when it comes to bragging rights for neighboring cities. Sure, Cincinnati can boast about its beer history in The Cincinnati Beer Story, which played at the Emery Thursday night, but the folks living right across the river in Newport, Kentucky weren’t goody two shoeing their way through life, if  the sneak preview of Newport: Gambling, Gangsters and Girls (showing at the Esquire Monday, September 10 at 9 pm) is to be believed.

And who, I ask you, is really going to dispute that image when Jerry Springer‘s checkbook provided recent-enough smoking gun evidence of the fading embers of Newport’s golden days? If Cincinnati was the beer mecca of this region, Newport was the mecca of…well, every other vice. Maybe the beer  they served in the gambling joints and strip clubs wasn’t local or even in-state, but if the brewer was two miles away, wasn’t that close enough? And besides, do you really think the craps player really gave a hoot where the beer he slurped down between throws came from? I doubt that at the blackjack tables anyone was turning down a cold one because it wasn’t a craft beer brewed by his favorite micro-brewery. If I’m wrong, though, I’m sure Newport: Gambling, Gangsters and Girls will set me straight.

A Weekend in Clifton featuring StreetScapes and Cliftonfest

Friday September 28th to Sunday September 30th A Weekend in Clifton featuring StreetScapes and Cliftonfest will return to the Gaslight District. Think of the event as three days of music and art, with live music kicking off Friday night and artists painting both streets and cars on Saturday and Sunday. There will be two musical stages and two beer vendors, and already news is spilling in of businesses on Ludlow Avenue doing special things in conjunction with the event, of which Gaslight Property is a proud co-sponsor. To give you a taste of one part of the event, here are some photos from StreetScapes in years past:

Crowd Gathers around Streetscapes Artist