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items tagged with Polyrhythms

Photos from Victor Wooten Concert, April 21 at the Redstone Room
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Music

Category: Feature Stories

2013-04-23 15:28:16

Photos from the Victor Wooten concert at the Redstone Room on April 21, 2013, as part of Polyrhythms’ Third Sunday jazz series. For more work by Matt Erickson, visit

Photo by Matt Erickson,

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Jamming with a Professional: Victor Wooten, April 21 at the Redstone Room
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Music

Category: Feature Stories

2013-04-04 11:12:08

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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Rumbling Force: Pamela Reese Smith, “Live at the Redstone Room”
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Music

Category: Feature Stories

2011-08-10 16:33:45

Pamela Reese SmithAs “This Masquerade” begins on her recently released live CD recorded at Davenport’s Redstone Room, Pamela Reese Smith’s voice emerges from the piano prelude of Manny Lopez III as a husky, tuneful whisper, growing louder and more intense from phrase to phrase. As she builds, she blends breathiness and fullness to create a wistful and passionate melody. Her use of a light, breathy tone establishes the mournful mood of the song, especially when singing the word “lost,” imparting confusion and hopelessness.

Her voice continues to soften and grow with the lyrics. When singing the phrase “this masquerade,” she starts quietly and then allows her voice to expand as she holds out the line –communicating strength, despair, and other feelings.

Throughout the album, Smith employs this effectively expressive technique, and her big voice creates a deep, encompassing sound. But at times she misses the pitch a little, and the heavy richness of her voice becomes a disadvantage.

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Jazz Singer Praises Polyrhythms
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Commentary/Politics

Category: Letters to the Editor

2010-09-28 21:38:18

I am writing in praise of Nate Lawrence and Polyrhythms. Polyrhythms is a Quad Cities organization dedicated to bringing jazz music to their community, not only through live performance, but also with workshops for non-musicians and musicians alike. These events take place the third Sunday of every month at the state-of-the-art Redstone Room inside the beautiful new River Music Experience building, which serves as a museum/classroom/performance space for American music (with an emphasis on jazz music that came up the Mississippi River).

I am a jazz vocalist based in Chicago. Last Sunday, I had the great fortune of performing for the Quad Cities community as part of Polyrhythms' Third Sunday Jazz program. The experience was very rewarding because of the combination of the performance and the workshop.

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Simplicity and Truth -- Reflections on “Roots: Jazz/Blues/Spirituals”
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Commentary/Politics

Category: Guest Commentaries

2010-08-11 20:33:46

Lois Deloatch"If you're gonna tell it, tell the truth and tell it all!" was an adage I heard often as a child growing up in rural North Carolina, where hard work, honesty, and generosity anchored our deep, abiding family and community values. Entering adulthood, I learned that living this seemingly simple conviction is much more complicated than the phase itself appears. "If you're gonna tell it" implies that you've made a choice, a conscious decision to speak truth, while "tell the truth" suggests that you have knowledge or understanding of what the truth is, that you know right from wrong and fact from fiction. Finally, "tell it all" reveals that the truth cannot be selective, and you cannot conveniently or deliberately omit facts or tell part of the story. When my siblings and I sometimes landed in trouble, as children often do, my mother admonished, "I don't care what you've done or how bad it seems, I need you to tell me the truth. I can deal with the truth, but there is nothing I can do with a lie!"

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