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SMF Kicks Off on Second Night of Hanukkah

Shemspeed, an underground Jewish music label, has made a mission of exposing new audiences to Jewish music, musicians and the culture surrounding them. The Sephardic Music Festival is Shemspeed's way of concentrating the year's key artists in New York to draw in new interest during the eight nights of Hanukkah.

SMF returns for its fifth year just in time for the second night. The festival opens Dec. 12 at 92Y Tribeca with performances by Smadar Levi, Sarah Aroeste and Galeet Dardashti's "The Naming."

The festival aims to increase interest in and awareness of Sephardic cultures, including Mizrahi, Yemenite, and Ladino traditions. It showcases the latest Sephardic musical talents from all over the world, including Matisyahu, Yair Dalal and Electro Morocco, to name a few of the performers this year's line-up. By bringing these artists forward, the SMF highlights the diversity that exists within the Sephardic branch of Jewish culture and history. SMF also serves as a platform for the preservation and continuation of Sephardic heritage by promoting a variety of music styles, such as Ladino which is nearly extinct as a spoken language.

SMF runs from Dec. 12 to Dec. 19, 2009. This year's schedule includes:

Opening Night with Smadar Levi, Sarah Aroeste and Galeet Dardashti's "The Naming"
Dec. 12 at 9 p.m.
92Y Tribeca, 200 Hudson Street
Tickets $15 in advance, $20 at the door

Ladino Night with Rivka Amado and Elie Massias
Dec. 13 at 7 p.m.
Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue, 3 West 70th Street
Tickets $15 in advance, $18 at the door

Yair Dalal
, Asefa and Michelle Webb
Dec 14 at 7 p.m.
Union Hall, 702 Union Street
Tickets $10


Dec. 14 at 7 p.m.
Webster Hall, 125 East 11th Street
Tickets $35

Sephardic Scholar Series with Ladino-flamenco duo Aviva and Dan, panel with filmmaker Lisa Katzman and ethomusicologist Samuel R. Thomas
Dec. 15 at 6:30 p.m.
Center for Jewish History, 15 West 16th Street
Tickets $15, $12 for American Sephardi Federation members

Pharaoh's Daughter, DeLeon and Levi Mordechai
Dec. 16 at 7 p.m.
Knitting Factory, 361 Metropolitan Avenue
Tickets $12 in advance, $15 at the door

Kosha Dillz
, Y-Love, Eprhyme, DeScribe, Diwon and guests
Dec. 17 at 1 p.m.
Best Buy at Union Square, 52 East 14th Street
Free admission

Electro Morocco
and Diwon
Dec. 17 at 11 p.m.
Joe's Pub, 425 Lafayette Street
Tickets $15 in advance

Closing Night Warehouse Party with Balagan Boogaloo, DJs Diwon and special guests
Dec. 19 at 10:30 p.m.
171 Lombardy Street
Tickets $8, R.S.V.P. $5

To purchase tickets and for more information, head over to:

Sephardic Music Festival
Dec 12 to Dec. 19, 2009
Various Locations

Filipino-American Jazz Festival Makes NYC Debut

The Annual Filipino-American Jazz Festival arrives in New York City for the first time on Dec. 11 and Dec. 12 at the Triad Theater near Broadway and Lincoln Center.

For five years, the Filipino-American Jazz Festival has been held in Los Angeles. JazzPhil-USA, the nonprofit organization based in Southern California that sponsors the fest, decided to create a second installment of the critically-appraised concert series in New York City this year following much success in Los Angeles.
Three generations of Filipino jazz luminaries will share the stage during the event. Lifetime Achievement Award winners Eddie Katindig (“Eddie K”) and Ms. Annie Brazil will join the self-proclaimed Queen of “Jazzipino,” vocalist Charmaine Clamor, and the 2008 Thelonious Monk Competition winner, alto sax man Jon Irabagon, in a celebration of Filipino contributions to America’s original art form. Mon David, the winner of the 2006 London International Jazz Vocal Competition, and Sandra Viray, the leading jazz singer in Manila, Philippines, will be backed by an all-star trio led by “the Filipino Oscar Peterson,” Tateng Katindig, with New Yorker Derek Nievergelt on bass and acclaimed Hawaiian multi-instrumentalist Abe Lagrimas on drums.
Tickets are $30, plus a two-drink minimum. Doors open at 9 p.m., and the show starts at 9:30 p.m.

For tickets and additional information, check out
Triad Theater
158 West 72nd Street, New York City
Dec. 11 to Dec. 12, 2009

Carnegie Hall Presents Ancient Paths, Modern Voices

From October 21 to November 10, 2009, Carnegie Hall presents Ancient Paths, Modern Voices: A Festival Celebrating Chinese Culture, paying tribute to China’s diverse and vibrant culture and its influence around the world with 21 days of events at Carnegie Hall and throughout the city at New York partner institutions.

Carnegie Hall will present Harmonic Visions, an exhibition of contemporary Chinese photography in Zankel Hall, sponsored and curated by Chambers Fine Art. China boasts more than 5,000 years of history, the presence and influence of which can be felt in many aspects of its society and culture. The visual artists featured in this exhibition combine their experiences of living in contemporary China with the country’s rich and diverse traditions. Artists featured are: Hong Hao, Hong Lei, He Yunchang, Qiu Zhijie, Rong Rong, Weng Fen, Wang Tiande, Yin Xiuzhen, Song Dong, and Zhang Huan. The exhibit will be open to Zankel Hall concertgoers through December 31.

In addition, Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute is pleased to announce that 19-year-old pianist Haochen Zhang will perform a free recital on Monday, November 2 at 7:30 p.m. at Flushing Town Hall in Queens. This will be Mr. Zhang’s first concert in New York since becoming one of the youngest participants and the first Chinese performer to earn the Gold Medal at the 13th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in June 2009. The program includes Chopin’s complete 24 Preludes, Op. 28; Ravel’s Gaspard de la nuit; and Liszt’s Rhapsodie espagnole.

Carnegie Hall has partnered with select New York art galleries as well to present China in Chelsea and Beyond, an event celebrating Chinese contemporary visual arts and exhibiting work by some of today’s leading Chinese artists.

Participating galleries are Arario Gallery, AW Asia, Chambers Fine Art, ChinaSquare, Goedhuis Contemporary, Max Protetch Gallery, and Stux Gallery, with featured artists including Yue Minjun, Qi Zhilong, Tan Dun, Sun Xun, and many more.

Other visual arts events, presented by festival partners, include:

China Art(s) Today
A panel discussion on November 2 at the Asia Society, moderated by Asia Society Director Melissa Chiu and featuring avant-garde artist Wenda Gu and award-winning composer and artist Tan Dun. Two of China’s most provocative artists discuss their work and ponder future directions for themselves and for contemporary Chinese arts. 

Silk and Bamboo: Music and Art of China
An exhibition of Chinese instruments and art, presented by The Metropolitan Museum of Art through February 7, 2010. A celebration of the diverse musical heritage of China, with about 80 objects drawn largely from the museum’s permanent collection, the exhibition features a wide variety of musical instruments and art, including a rare Ming dynasty ivory-covered pipa (lute) and lacquered qin (zither), extraordinary bells from the fifth century B.C., and Han dynasty pottery dancing figures and musicians.

Ancient Paths, Modern Voices features performances by leading international musicians, including some artists traveling outside China for the first time. Festival performances will feature many genres of music—from Western symphonic and chamber music influenced by Chinese culture to Chinese traditional folk music and contemporary music, including premieres by internationally recognized Chinese composers. The festival exploration also includes a wide variety of other offerings on each coast, including traditional marionette theater, dance, film screenings, calligraphy, panel discussions, and art exhibitions, offering insights into a world that mixes the ancient and the modern, the traditional and the cutting-edge.

With over 30 events, the reach of Ancient Paths, Modern Voices in New York will be extended throughout the city through partnerships between Carnegie Hall and other prestigious cultural institutions: Asia Society, China Institute, Works & Process at the Guggenheim, The Joyce Theater, The Juilliard School, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Chinese in America, and The Paley Center for Media, as well as through a series of free Neighborhood Concerts presented by Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute in the community venues of Flushing Town Hall in Queens as well as Abrons Arts Center at Henry Street Settlement and The Performance Project @ University Settlement on Manhattan’s Lower East Side.

The California line-up for Ancient Paths, Modern Voices, presented by the Philharmonic Society of Orange County and supported by presenting sponsor South Coast Plaza, will feature performances by major artists and ensembles appearing at Carnegie Hall as well as new programming created through the Philharmonic Society’s relationships with Orange County Performing Arts Center, Orange County Museum of Art, South Coast Repertory Theatre, the Colburn School of Music in Los Angeles, and other Southern Californian cultural institutions. This relationship between Carnegie Hall and Segerstrom Center for the Arts marks the first time that Carnegie Hall festival programming will be offered to audiences outside New York City.

For the most up-to-date information on festival events, video interviews and performance excerpts from featured musicians, and insights into Chinese culture and festival programs, go to Carnegie Hall's special web site:

Ancient Paths, Modern Voices: A Festival Celebrating Chinese Culture
October 21 to November 10, 2009
Carnegie Hall's Zankel Hall

China in Chelsea and Beyond
Various New York
art galleries


The Cape May Jazz Festival 2009

Running from November 6 - 8, 2009, The 32nd Cape May Jazz Festival features the timeless Legendary Count Basie Orchestra directed by Bill Hughes, and takes place on November 6th, from 8 pm – 10 pm, in the Theatre at Lower Regional High School in New Jersey.

The Count Basie Orchestra of today is 19 performers committed to upholding the Basie tradition with a keyboard set in motion, always swinging Kansas City style. They’ve won 17 Grammys and continue to perform across North America, Europe and Southeast Asia.

Friday night continues with Richie Cole and “alto madness” in Carneys Other Room. Richie is a master of the sax, a brilliant arranger, composer who constantly shows that there is life, humor and creativity found in classic bebop. He is “one of the last of the breed – a fast and competitive musical gunslinger demonstrating his command of Charlie Parker’s bebop language,” stated All About Jazz.

Barbara King returns by popular demand with her dusky, Sarah Vaughan-like qualities performing in Victorian Gardens at the Marquis de Lafayette Hotel. Raised with a mix of family background cultures from Cuba, Jamaica and Costa Rica and surrounded by music and dancing, Barbara was introduced at an early age to jazz legends such as Sarah, Ella, Dinah and Billie who influence her singing.

Continuing in Carneys Main Room is the Radam Schwartz Quintet featuring Radam pumping out driving rhythms on the Hammond B3 along with Anthony Ware on sax, James Gibbs III on trumpet. Radam’s prolific career has led to many successful recordings having performed with David Fathead Newman, Eddie Lockjaw Davis and many others.

Friday night is rounded out with Gary Allegretto who is being considered for a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Blues Album…. a versatile harmonica rockin’ the pure electric and acoustic blues in Cabanas. Allegretto sings with a natural storytelling appeal, a wry sense of humor while his harmonica comes as natural as his own voice that makes you dance from the first song ‘til the last.

Ravi Coltrane, a true renaissance man who is at the forefront carving up new paths within jazz, opens Saturday night at the Theatre featuring Geri Allen on piano along with bassist Massimo Biolcati, bass, and drummer E. J. Strickland.  A modernist who has absorbed a wealth of jazz ranging from his father John Coltrane and Sonny Rollins to contemporary figures such as Steve Coleman, Wayne Shorter who owes equal debt to Joe Henderson. The listener hears the “elusive beauty” of Ravi through his tenor and soprano saxophone as an explosion of rhythmic and melodic sequences that float through the air with grace…deep, soulful, masterful with the appealingly Hendersonian tendency to lay back even when he is driving hard.

Saturday night continues to thrill with Houston Person performing at the Jazz Dinner at Aleatheas with open seating at 11pm.  He has been called, “the natural heir to the boss tenor crown worn so long and so well by Gene Ammons. “ It is all “tone”, no flash but instead the warmth of his sound, lingering over every note.

Denise Thimes graces Victorian Gardens with her brilliant voice ranking with the all-time greats such as Ella, Sassy, Lady Day, Nancy and Carmen to name a few. She has shared the stage with Clark Terry, Dr. Billy Taylor, Jimmy and Tootie Heath, James Moody and will continue to steal the show.

Teddy Royal, international instrumental guitarist, will perform with Kyle Kohler on organ and Ken Fowser, sax, in the Boiler Room at Congress Hall. Teddy just won “Best Musician” at the American Idol Talent Show at the Borgata and will fly to Vegas as Borgata’s guest to compete in the finals. Royal calls New Orleans his home where he wrote and recorded with the Staple Singers, Allen Toussaint, Patti LaBelle, the Neville Brothers and was Fats Domino’s guitarist for 30 years.  Royal has had a life-long love affair with music which began while growing up listening to the music of Wes Montgomery. Wes can be heard throughout his playing.

Edgardo Cintron and Inca return to Carneys Main Room by popular demand with a “Tribute to Carlos Santana”, a Latin blast from the past!

Trumpeter Dominick Farinacci who performs in Carneys Other Room began his career listening to Louis Armstrong and Harry James, received a full-tuition scholarship to Berklee, opened for Wynton Marsalis at the Tri-C Jazz fest in Cleveland after which Wynton invited him to solo with the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra. In 2008 he debuted with his own band at the Montreal International Jazz Festival, the Detroit International Jazz Festival and the Tri-C JazzFest.  This gifted, mature and very versatile artist performs with warmth and rich lyricism and is a talent who will be remembered.

Memphis Gold who continues the blues tradition at Cabanas evokes the vintage sounds of southern soul and blues and reveals his golden knack for resuscitating southern musical traditions.  Gold appeared on the cover of February 09 Living Blues Magazine where he is called a throwback to the blues men of yore who learned their licks at the knee of legendary patriarch Charlie Patton, King of the Mississippi Delta Blues.

The festival includes:

  • Jam Sessions Saturday and Sunday in Carneys
  • Blues Jams in Cabanas with Alan Weber and Frenz Saturday
  • Frank Bey and the Swing City Blues Band Sunday along with a Saturday CD Signing Party sponsored by Barefoot Wines

The 12noon pre-jams at Carneys feature astounding, very talented young musicians ages 11-17.

An All Event Weekend Pass to attend 18 events beginning 8pm Friday through 4pm Sunday is $150 general admission.  

Individual Friday or Saturday Night All Event Wristbands are $55.  

Saturday Afternoon Jam Wristbands $35, Sunday Jams $25.  

Reserved Seating is available at the Theatre at Lower Regional High School for an additional $25 per person.

Complimentary Festival Transportation running every 10 minutes is available between venues all weekend.

The box office is at Cape May Welcome Center, 609 Lafayette Street across from the Acme Parking Lot.

For more information visit:

Cape May Jazz Festival
Cape May Welcome Center

609 Lafayette Street

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