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An Attention to Detail and Shape: “Hello Quad Cities – Volume 2” and Comfort, “Avalon” PDF Print E-mail
Feature Stories
Written by Jeff Ignatius   
Wednesday, 17 April 2013 05:13
The first track of any various-artists compilation bears a heavy burden, required to set the tone for what follows even though the performer had no role in crafting the remainder of the songs. Chris Coleslaw’s “Sterling ILL” does this on Hello Quad Cities – Volume 2 with a verse that succinctly repeats a common complaint about the Midwest, and the Quad Cities: “So New York grows / Hollywood glows / Well here in the middle / Well they say it just snows.”

Coleslaw’s delivery over acoustic guitar is poignant without being doleful – matter of fact yet clearly felt.

The sequencing here is smart – implicitly framing the second limited-edition local compilation as a rebuttal to the argument that our community is a dull dead end and then backing it up with “Sterling ILL” and 11 other exclusive tracks. (Hello Quad Cities is available on colored vinyl only, but each copy comes with a digital-download code.) Last fall’s Volume 1 was notable for its consistency, and the follow-up comes close to rivaling it.

Photos from the Bernie Worrell Orchestra Concert, April 13 at Rozz-Tox PDF Print E-mail
Feature Stories
Written by Matt Erickson   
Tuesday, 16 April 2013 10:07

Photos from the Bernie Worrell Orchestra concert (with Jaik Willis) at RIBCO on April 13, 2013. For more work by Matt Erickson, visit

Bernie Worrell Orchestra. Photo by Matt Erickson,

Photos from the Water Liars Concert, April 10 at Rozz-Tox PDF Print E-mail
Feature Stories
Written by Matt Erickson   
Friday, 12 April 2013 09:59

Photos from the Water Liars concert (with Break-Up Art and American Dust) at Rozz-Tox on April 10, 2013. For more work by Matt Erickson, visit

Water Liars. Photo by Matt Erickson,

“I’ve Got to Be Free”: Bernie Worrell Orchestra, April 13 at RIBCO PDF Print E-mail
Feature Stories
Written by Jeff Ignatius   
Wednesday, 10 April 2013 12:59

Bernie Worrell. Photo by Brian Diescher.Plenty of musicians talk a good game about loving many types of music. Bernie Worrell lives it.

“I play it all,” he said in a recent phone interview. “I’ll play a Jewish chant. A Gregorian chant. A chant in the middle of a rock piece. I’ll go to India. I’ll go to Africa. All in one piece.”

A brief sketch of his career should suffice as an illustration. He was a piano prodigy who wrote a concerto at eight and two years later performed with the Washington Symphony Orchestra. He studied at Julliard and the New England Conservatory of Music. He was music director and bandleader for soul singer Maxine Brown before becoming a central figure in Parliament-Funkadelic, with whom he was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. He recorded and toured with the Talking Heads and has worked with experimental artists including Bill Laswell and the super-group Colonel Claypool’s Bucket of Bernie Brains. In 2011, he released an album of jazz standards.

As the Chicago Tribune’s Greg Kot wrote in a review of his 1993 album Blacktronic Science: “Bernie Worrell explores the possibilities of 21st Century funk with blithe disregard for boundaries. Bach, hip-hop, organ-trio jazz – it’s one big canvas for this virtuoso ... .”

“I get bored quick,” Worrell said. “I’ve got to be free, man. ... I will be free.”

Jamming with a Professional: Victor Wooten, April 21 at the Redstone Room PDF Print E-mail
Feature Stories
Written by Jeff Ignatius   
Thursday, 04 April 2013 05:12

Victor Wooten. Photo by Steven Parke.

The best teachers inspire as much as they instruct, and Victor Wooten both understands and practices that.

His chops as a performing artist are unquestionable. He won five Grammys with Béla Fleck & the Flecktones – of which he’s a founding member – and three times was named “best bassist” by the readers of Bass Player magazine. Rolling Stone readers in 2011 voted him the 10th best bass player of all time – alongside icons from the Beatles, Cream, Led Zeppelin, Metallica, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Rush, and the Who.

Beyond being an accomplished musician, for the past 14 years he’s run music camps for kids, now held at the 147-acre Wooten Woods Retreat in Tennessee. And on April 21, as part of Polyrhythms’ Third Sunday jazz series, Wooten will give both a workshop and a concert at the Redstone Room.

He will not teach how to play bass like he does. As he said of The Music Lesson, his fictional work-around to a much-requested instruction manual: “I didn’t really want to put out a Victor Wooten method. I don’t want to tell people how they have to play.”

What Wooten excels at, as a phone interview last week illustrates, is gently knocking down the walls that keep creativity and music bottled up. He said he chose to tell a story in his book instead of writing an instruction manual because it freed him to explore his ideas and philosophy without being tied to facts or technique: “It lets me off the hook right away. ... ‘This isn’t true.’ ... That format allowed me to put more into the book – even things that I can’t prove.”

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