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Alvas Showroom: The Art of Listening

Jim Worsley By

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Set up like a small amphitheater, the inviting room has a variant of comfortable seating. The intimacy between, or perhaps amongst, the artists and the audience is more than just part of the room's charm. It enlists a powerful connection with the artists and allows you to be blissfully engulfed into their music. This night the genre defying Incendio lit up the stage. With eleven albums to their credit, including the recently released Summoning the Muse (Incendio Music, 2019), Incendio continues their highly successful and richly framed fusion of world music, jazz, rock, flamenco, Celtic, classical and more. The band consists of guitarist Jim Stubblefield, guitarist JP Durand, bassist Liza Carbe, and drummer Tim Curle. With Stubblefield, if you close your eyes you will swear you are listening to Al Di Meola with just a dash of Carlos Santana. Durand is equally accomplished with a versatility that ranges from Jimi Hendrix to Paco De Lucia. Yes, there are two leads and they are both scintillating axe wielders. Carbe is no ordinary bassist. She was trained as a classical guitarist. Consequently, she adds a kaleidoscope of flavors and nuances within her often bold and rich bass lines. Curle drives this complex and enlightened ensemble with his diverse percussion mastery and boundless energy. This fiery band has gained a reputation of putting on intensely powerful live performances. Indeed, we knew what to expect as this was far from our first rodeo with Incendio. Alas, this created the perfect scenario to put the Alvas Showroom under the microscope. Just how good or different were they going to sound in THIS room? It is hardly insightful to say that the room matters. It is however at the very least exciting to hear and experience just how much it can matter. I would fall short of outlining this phenomenon with some sort of techy jargon. It will have to suffice to say, WOW! Ninety minutes seem to blow by in an instant, as this stunning show came to a conclusion. The audience that had remained complexly silent, in true listening room fashion, now erupted in exhilaration and appreciation.

After the show, Carbe stated that, "The room just has such a wonderful sound and ambiance to it." Sound engineer Art Valdez has much to do with that, as Carbe continued, "Art has such a great ear and is such a pleasure to work with." Durand expanded on that, adding, "The Alvas has a nice and totally pro staff. Many great bands play here. There is much to recommend, but it's the sound. It's almost like anti-cathedral. The sound is very crisp, very dry, so it's very true. There is no masking a bad tone. The sound can be controlled. We can be raging at a decent volume on stage but that does not translate to ear-splitting volumes for the audience. The acoustics are excellent for a band. Art Valdez seriously knows this room and how a band should sound there." Curle's continued vibrance and energy after the show spoke in volumes more than words could articulate. "The Alvas Showroom is a musician's dream come true," observed Stubblefield, "Great sound, great location, and an awesome staff. A true privilege and joy to perform here."

From its inception, Matt Lincir's parents, Rosalie and Alva, put their heart and soul into the creative foundation of the Alvas Showroom. Lincir has proudly carried the torch into the next century and is forward thinking. "The essence of what I want to do before I die," stated an energized and sincerely focused Lincir, "is to educate people as to what is actually great music, and just what it is that makes a person a great artist. To educate as to how to understand listening to it and appreciating it. There needs to be an education. We need a vehicle to promote the education. Sure, there are going to be people who don't have the capacity or the desire. Still, we need an opportunity to talk about why it's cool, and to take them by the hand and lead them to it. It needs to hit the critical masses and be cool. People go see Mott the Hoople because they have been told to go. Promoters are able to whip things up. People are told to go because it is cool. A vehicle to start this education and to list all the truly good gigs, regardless of genre, is being created. It's important to emphasize that it is NOT genre specific. It is about high-level of artistry. If you want to go see something, we will have the listings of what are actually high-end gigs. High level gigs will be the filter. I have several great musicians who are on board with this project and want to be part of it. The technology is there, the website is in the making, and is going to be amazing. I really think that it will spread very quickly and will soon be like, what do you mean you're not on the site, everybody is!"

Past, present, and future, the Alvas Showroom is an earnest representation of what the true fiber, passion, and integrity of live music is all about.

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