Global Music Adventures at the Musical Instrument Museum

Dave Kaufman By

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The Musical Instrument Museum (MIM), located in North Phoenix, is a singularly unique experience in the world of music or museums, for that matter. The MIM displays over 6500 instruments from all corners of the globe. The experience is enhanced by superb video and audio presentations that situate the music in historical and cultural contexts. Although there is much information to be absorbed, the exhibits are presented with great artistry, clarity of purpose and entertainment value. Visiting the MIM is a magnificent experience for all music lovers even those individuals not so inclined to visit museums. The MIM also houses a beautiful concert hall that seats about 300 people and features great acoustics and excellent sight lines. It also has spacious seating which lends itself to dancing when the occasion presents itself. It is a great venue to listen to live music.

The MIM Music Theater presents over 250 concerts a year that covers the gamut of artistic styles and music that spans the globe. I've had the pleasure of seeing a number of excellent jazz concerts by artists such as The Cookers, Kneebody, The Bad Plus, Bill Frisell, Regina Carter, John Scofield, Aaron Goldberg, Joshua Redman, Charles Lloyd, Billy Childs, Chris Potter, Dr. Lonnie Smith, John Hollenbeck's Claudia Quintet, Ben Wendel, Jane Monheit, Lizz Wright, Cecile McLorin Salvant and Anat Cohen with Trio Brasileiro. The MIM also features the finest in "roots rock" music including acts such as Richard Thompson, John Hiatt, Lucinda Williams and La Santa Cecilia. But the theater is best known for its stellar lineup of artists from around the globe. I am particular partial to African Blues guitar and have had the great pleasure of seeing Amadou and Mariam and Bombino (hailing from Mali and Niger, respectively) in the past year. Cuban music has a long and celebrated history and has had enormous influence on many other genres including jazz. The music of the Afro-Cuban Allstars and Cubanismo encapsulate the many traditions and styles that make Cuban music so unique. Jane Bunnett also led an all-female Cuban sextet, Maqueqe that offered a fresh and exciting take on the Cuban jazz tradition. Of course, this is only a small sample of the world class concerts presented at the MIM.

The following slideshow presents photos taken at the MIM over the course of the last four years. Enjoy!
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