Catasauqua Press

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Defining Zen music 101 in ‘Jazz Upstairs’ series

Friday, September 14, 2018 by GEORGE VANDOREN in Focus

If I speak of Zen, it won’t be Zen I’m speaking of.

That statement applies equally to Zen Buddhism and to the delightful mix of jazz, pop, classical, and world music produced by Mike Krisukas and Friends.

Krisukas, along with both old and new band-mates, reprises the music of Zen For Primates plus some new music in the “Jazz Upstairs” series, 7:30 p.m. Sept. 14, Rodale Community Room, Miller Symphony Hall, Allentown.

Tony Tixier and trio finds poetry in jazz

Friday, August 17, 2018 by GEORGE VANDOREN in Focus

The Tony Tixier Trio brings an exciting style of jazz to the Rodale Community Room for the “Jazz Upstairs” series, 7:30 p.m. Aug. 17, Miller Symphony Hall, Allentown.

Tixier, a French native, began piano studies at age six. By age 14, he received a degree in Classical Piano. One of his teachers encouraged him to study jazz.

”The teacher was kind of square, classical. I thought, ‘No way.’ Jazz was for old people, people who are cheesy. I was thinking more of swing jazz,” Tixier says in a phone interview.

Third Christmas City Jazz Festival features Easton’s Jeff ‘Tain’ Watts

Friday, July 20, 2018 by GEORGE VANDOREN in Focus

The Pennsylvania Jazz Collective presents a smorgasbord of jazz for the third annual “Christmas City Jazz Festival,” 1 p.m. - 10 p.m., Bethlehem Municipal Ice Rink, 345 Illick’s Mill Road, Bethlehem.

The event features 10 groups on two stages.

Festival headliner is drummer Jeff “Tain” Watts. The Easton resident has performed with a host of jazz greats, including Branford and Wynton Marsalis, Michael Brecker, Betty Carter, Alice Coltrane, Ravi Coltrane, and Troy Roberts.

Roper, Rostock, Rissmiller: Trio is the three Rs of jazz

Saturday, June 16, 2018 by GEORGE VANDOREN in Focus

Lehigh Valley favorite Dave Roper returns to Rodale Community Room for the “Jazz Upstairs” series, 7:30 p.m. June 15, Miller Symphony Hall, Allentown.

The popular jazz pianist will be joined by long-time bandmates Paul Rostock, bass, and Gary Rissmiller, drums. Tommy Crist will add a vocal or two.

Asked about his start as a pianist, Roper says, “We had a piano in the house. I started playing with it at age five. My mother noticed that I seemed to like it so she started me on piano lessons at six.”

Article By: GEORGE VANDOREN Special to The Press

Wednesday, May 16, 2018 by GEORGE VANDOREN in Focus

“Jazz Upstairs” at Miller Symphony Hall welcomes vocalist Viktorija Gečytė with the Gene Perla Trio at 7:30 p.m. May 18 to the Rodale Community Room for the fifth consecutive year.

This year, the group is embarking on its 10th annual tour with 11 performances in May in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, followed by nine concerts in California.

Perla is excited about returning to the Rodale Room. “They only book twelve a year. We’re already booked for next year. Channel 39 has agreed to bring a camera crew. They’re going to record the whole evening.”

Veteran journalist pens Northampton County history book

Thursday, April 19, 2018 by GEORGE VANDOREN in Focus

Local residents of a certain age can catalogue a host of changes they’ve witnessed in Northampton County over the years.

Veteran Lehigh Valley journalist and professor Glenn Kranzley has covered all the bases in his new book, “Still Changing, Still Home: Northampton County Since the 1950s.” He catches it all: from shrinking farmland to the traffic crunch, the economy, environment, culture, sports - you name it.

Kranzley presents a lecture, “Northampton County After Earth Day,” 2 p.m. April 21, Sigal Museum, 342 Northampton St., Easton.

Ronald Demkee is Mr. Allentown Band

Thursday, April 19, 2018 by GEORGE VANDOREN in Focus

The Allentown Band has a long and storied past, dating back 190 years, to what is said to be its first performance, July 4, 1828.

For the last 41 years, one man has been the face of the Allentown Band: Ronald Demkee.

The band’s conductor started his association with the United States’ oldest civilian concert band as a tubist in 1964 while attending West Chester University. The rest, as they say, is history.

Liebman eclectic, electronic

Thursday, April 19, 2018 by GEORGE VANDOREN in Focus

Saxophone legend Dave Liebman returns to “Jazz Upstairs,” 7:30 p.m. April 20, Rodale Community Room, Miller Symphony Hall, Allentown. This time, he brings keyboardist Bobby Avey to compliment his musical offerings.

Liebman has done it all. He’s a National Endowment for the Arts “Jazz Master.” He has been named first place in the soprano sax category for Jazz Ed, Jazz Times, and Downbeat.