The first of the customary two lakeside BDJF events got off to a suitably rousing start with the trio that formed the stable but mobile foundation for a septet at Nectar's the night prior. The Nth Power was playing to scant attendance when they started June 7th, but over the duration of this first of three acts on the bill, the crowd grew in proportion to its enthusiasm and rightly so: the trio consisting of guitarist/vocalist Nicholas Cassarino, drummer/vocalist Nikki Glaspie and bassist Nate Edgar played and sang with genuine, infectious fervor that enhanced their thankfully restrained exhortations to the audience on a sunny breezy lake shore. The Nth Power's impact belies its trio format: the bandleader often sounds like two (or more!) drummers playing in tandem, slapping out hard, heavy rhythms that in turn allow the otherwise unobtrusive Edgar to pluck, strum, pick and otherwise coax so wide a variety of sounds from his instrument that, with eyes closed, it might sound like a battery of keyboards. And hometown boy Cassarino is justifiably confident in his singing and guitar playing: he effectively used falsetto tones more often than just on his 'favorite song ever' of Earth, Wind & Fire
's and he refuses to engage in gimmicks or shtick on his instrument. The gospel overtones of the Nth Power's short but potent set were far more obvious than the link of their sounds and sentiments to Jimi Hendrix
' Band of Gypsys, while their understated solicitation on behalf of The Harold G. Robinson Foundation (for which they composed the tune "I Will Never Leave You Alone"), stood as an admirable and pragmatic expression of the generosity of spirit they espouse with such panache.
Anat Cohen & Choro Adventuruso
June 9, 2018
Whatever context in which she plays, the innate gaiety of Anat Cohen
's clarinet playing comes through as a direct reflection of her ebullient personality, no more so perhaps than in the breezy but steadily rhythmic strains of the Brazilian music she plays with Choro Adventuroso. Her alliance with this trio of collaboratorsVictor Gonsalves on accordion and piano, Cesar Garabino on seven-string guitar and Sergio Krakowski on pandierobrings out the best in all involved, at least based on this sold-out first of two shows in the intimate underground venue. It was an altogether seamless offering from its bouncing beginning to a happily frenzied finish, even during the comparatively slower going: wisely interwoven into the hour-plus set was a languorous slow-motion version of its peppy surroundings, revealing how the melody lines curled up and around each other over reinforced echoes of the composition's inner rhythm. Then there was the percussive piece dominated by grand piano, stretching the dynamics of the band even further, the superior performance of which (not to mention the natural charm of artist-in residence Cohen's ingratiating between-song repartee), rendered confounding why such a devoted audience was not more demanding of an encore (the likes of which appeared later this same evening); perhaps there were more than a few planning on attending the second show as well and did not want to delay?