Just Do Art! March 7, 2013

Photo by Manuel Elias Go, Fish! David Bennett Cohen (keyboardist and guitarist with Country Joe and the…you know) appears as part of Big Road in Chelsea’s Multicultural Mini-Fest.

Photo by Manuel Elias
Go, Fish! David Bennett Cohen (keyboardist and guitarist with Country Joe and the…you know) appears as part of Big Road in Chelsea’s Multicultural Mini-Fest.

BIG ROAD IN CHELSEA’S MULTICULTUREAL MINI-FESTIVAL
Building on the success of its opening night in January, Big Road in Chelsea — an affordable music performance space/coffeehouse devoted to celebrating diverse cultures and musical styles — hosts a Multicultural Mini-Festival featuring the blues, boogie-woogie, stride and New Orleans piano-style stylings of David Bennett Cohen (a name discerning aficionados will recognize from their Country Joe and the Fish albums). Also on the bill: Plena Sin Fronteras (a New York-based bomba and plena ensemble dedicated to preserving the Afro Boricua roots music of Puerto Rico), Big Road Blues (a pre-war blues and ragtime-blues ensemble) and — from North Mississippi Hill country — the regional fife and drum-influenced Pork Chop Willie.

Sat., March 16, at 7pm. At Big Road in Chelsea (2 floor of 235 W. 23rd St., btw. 8th & 9th Aves.). Inexpensive refreshments available, suggested admission contribution of $10, ample space for dancing — which is highly encouraged. For info, visit bigroadinchelsea.org. Podcast: podfour@bigroadbluesband.com. Facebook: facebook.com/bigroadinchelsea. For info on the featured artists, visit davidbennettcohen.com, facebook.com/plenasin.fronteras, culturaplenera.com/grupos/psf.htm, porkchopwillie.com and bigroadbluesband.com.

Photo courtesy of the artist Anthony de Mare plays Sondheim and talks to the master, March 9.

Photo courtesy of the artist
Anthony de Mare plays Sondheim and talks to the master, March 9.

MUSIC: LIAISONS II: REIMAGINING SONDHEIM FROM THE PIANO
He lives in Chelsea with a partner, an adorable dog and a 1908 Steinway grand piano. But don’t hate him because he’s bountiful — love him because he’s talented (and on amiable speaking terms with Stephen Sondheim). After a long period of touring, pianist Anthony de Mare sets up temporary shop at Symphony Space, to perform a new collection of Sondheim songs. “Liaisons II: Reimagining Sondheim From the Piano” is the latest installment in de Mare’s Liaisons Project — a unique piano repertory developed by commissioning leading contemporary composers from the classical, jazz, theater and film worlds to write short solo piano pieces inspired by Sondheim’s music.

De Mare encouraged the composers to choose whichever song most compelled them, with the singular guideline of keeping it under 10 minutes and adhering to the selection’s basic melodic material. “Each piece represents a totally unique union of the composer’s individual style with Sondheim’s underlying substance,” notes de Mare. “These aren’t songs without words. They are complete musical compositions in their own right that reveal Sondheim’s unparalleled capacity for melody and musical architecture.” A full recording of the project will be released in spring 2014.

Sat., March 9, at 7pm. At the Peter Jay Sharp Theatre at Symphony Space (2537 Broadway, at 95th St.). This one-night-only incarnation of “Liaisons” includes a live on-stage interview with Sondheim. What are you waiting for? For tickets ($55, $15 for those under 30), call 212-864-5400 or visit symphonyspace.org. For more info, visit liaisonsproject.com and anthonydemare.com.

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