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Fighting Fate Through Music: The Quad City Symphony, April 13 at the Adler Theatre PDF Print E-mail
Music - Feature Stories
Written by Frederick Morden   
Monday, 22 April 2013 12:25

Pyotr Tchaikovsky said his Fourth Symphony was about fate, and even used a “fate motif” – a recurring musical representation of a central programmatic idea – as an autobiographical statement. The topic was deeply personal, as he considered homosexuality his destiny.

In correspondence with his patroness, Tchaikovsky wrote in code about his struggle with his “condition,” calling it his “fate, the fatal power which prevents one from attaining the goal of happiness.”

This intensity of internal conflict represented in the music elevated his fourth symphony from his first three and created a model for his next two. Tchaikovsky’s torment and his longing to find happiness were resonantly brought to life in a searing, tender, and ultimately triumphant performance by the Quad City Symphony Orchestra and Musical Director and Conductor Mark Russell Smith on April 13 at the Adler Theatre.

An Attention to Detail and Shape: “Hello Quad Cities – Volume 2” and Comfort, “Avalon” PDF Print E-mail
Music - 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
Music - 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
Music - 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
Music - 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.”

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