Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Bohémia in Raleigh's Blue Note

UPDATED 10/5 - new video and review added BELOW

teresa & ed

New video of Teresa Fernández and Ed Stephenson from Saturday night at Marsh Woodwinds:

[VIDEO] Teresa dedicated this tango by Carlos Gardel to a visiting friend from Argentina.

Full review to follow.


The scene at Marsh Woodwinds was pretty as a nativity when Paco Band played to a packed house amid exotic bric a brac. The band included leader Ed Stephenson, Chris Hilton and Ryan Johnson, guitars, Peewee "Poquitico" Watson on bass, and Beverly Botsford guesting on percussion. There's no way to bury the sound in here; it's the moment of truth. The flamenco fusion consortium never sounded truer, with Botsford's superior range and spontaneity and Watson's surefoot basslines complementing Stephenson's virtuoso fretboard skills.

"The sound is really friendly," says Beverly, comparing Marsh's intimate performance space to New York jazz clubs.

"It's like a bohemian Blue Note," she says, alluding as much to the decor--things like the tigerskin-covered drum kit mounted into one wall--as to the incredible acoustics.

Teresa Fernández sang with Ed a due at the top of the second set, following a snack-filled intermission. (Marsh's hospitality is more like a house party than a formal venue, adding to the mood of proximity.) Teresa, a soprano born in Havana, Cuba, projects fragility and elegance, dressed all in black with a gold coin belt accentuating her slender waist and a lace shawl around her shoulders. Her voice isn't delicate, but clarion and without pretense.

"I like to tease her," says Ed, with Teresa within earshot, when asked what it is he most enjoys about working with the singer.

"The real reason is, she's so authentic. She's so authentic, and she has a beautiful voice, of course," says Ed.

There couldn't be a better place to hear this type of music, or this band.

Bonus video:
Paco Band played "Hotel California" as an encore. I like this idea of reclaiming pop songs that have elements of flamenco (or some other Latin music) for "traditional" or "classical" or "authentic" performance. It's a way of connecting what listeners already know to something they think of as more foreign or distant.

1 comment:

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