Of all the vocal-driven ensembles in the world of contemporary music there is none as compelling or beckoning as Banda Magda.

In the music of this group there are many moving parts, but there is no doubt that its driving force is Magda Giannikou who is most often listed as having played accordion on stage or in the studio, but is also a multi-instrumentalist who makes it seem as if she was also born to be – among other things – a truly gifted contrabassist. As a composer, Miss Giannikou conceives works that are operatic in scope even when she is writing a 5-minute song. Her Grecian background enables her to create and empathise very deeply with the characters and her music is redolent of rhapsody, and dramatic catharsis. As a singer she is unmatched in her ability to captivate – even seduce – her audiences with whom she could be in just about any part of the world as she can write and sing lyrically in French, Spanish, Portuguese, Greek and English thus far, at any rate. Click here to read the full review.

Banda Magda and Innov Gnawa make list of Rising Artists You Need to Know

Comprised of members from across Morocco, but formed in New York, this collective is bringing the country’s gnawa sound to the Big Apple. But with features like that of “Bambro Koyo Ganda,” the standout cut from Bonobo’s Migration, it won’t be long before Innov Gnawa starts making rounds throughout the rest of the U.S.

How does one define the music of Banda Magda? If you browse through the collective’s Facebook biography, you get something like Brazilian bossa meets cinematic scoring meets French pop meets gypsy jazz meets samba. If you’ve ever wondered what exactly “world” music is, it’s probably Banda Magda. Click here to read the article


Fred Hersch: NPR Fresh Air Interview

This is FRESH AIR. I’m Terry Gross. You could almost say my guest, Fred Hersch, returned from the dead. He’s a jazz musician and composer who has had HIV for more than 30 years. The diagnosis came at a time when he was thinking he was ready to come out. It’s hard to think of another jazz musician who was out at the time. Hersch’s new memoir “Good Things Happen Slowly” is about what it was like to be closeted in the jazz world, and then come out as gay and as having AIDS. Click here to listen.

Fred Hersch: Wall Street Journal

Fred Hersch never wanted to be a medical case study. I don’t blame him. At the age of 61 he ranks among the finest jazz pianists of our time, and deserves acclaim for his artistry. Click here to read the full review.

This is a recording that makes it seem as though Fred Hersch is the finest jazz pianist in the world

The centerpiece, “Through The Forest,” is something unheard of on record by Hersch. It’s a nineteen minutes-plus, stream-of-consciousness, improvised in-the-moment masterpiece. An ebb and flow dreamscape of sorts—the most fragile of delicacies and the most sacred and quiet moments slipped in beside emphatic percussive energy—music as enchanting as anything the pianist has ever created. Click here to read the full review.

2018-2019 Artist Brochure!

We are pleased to share our 2018-2019 artist brochure with everyone.
Check out the unique artist projects we have going out next season.
If you are attending the regional booking conferences, please come say hello!
We will be at booth 315 at the Western Arts Alliance and booth 427B at Arts Midwest.

Click this text to download your copy today!

Maria Schneider: No other American composer is writing such rich, gratifying music today

Schneider presented two world premieres at the festival. “Do No Evil” was a noir-ish soundtrack of fear and anger directed at the large tech companies that, in Schneider’s view, are destroying the livelihoods of musicians and writers. The exact opposite in intent and effect was “Sanzenin,” a tribute to the peace and restorative harmony of the temple gardens in Kyoto, Japan. No other American composer is writing such rich, gratifying music today. Click here to read the full review.

10 Things to Know about Gnawa Music

1.The term “Gnawa” (also spelled “Gnaoua”) refers to both a people and a style of music.
There are many theories on where the word “Gnawa” comes from, but it most likely stems from the Berber word “aginaw,” which means someone that you can’t understand. There are multiple branches of Gnawa music—at least three or four—within Morocco, and even more outside of Morocco. You hear that musical style all over the north of Africa—in Algeria, it’s called Diwan, and in Tunisia, it’s called Stambouli. It’s all kind of the same manifestation of centuries of the slave trade and slaves from northern Mali and Mauritania being bought and sold all throughout that region and creating music from their history and ancestors. So Gnawa is really an all-encompassing term for the culture that resulted from the slave trade in that area.

Click here to read the feature.


Fred Hersch: Truth Teller

Fred is featured in the September issue of Downbeat Magazine where he discusses his new book and album. This is a must read! Click here to read the feature.


A Melodic Zone: Delfeayo Marsalis’ Latest

Of the four music-making brothers in a storied jazz dynasty, Delfeayo Marsalis, the producer and trombonist who turns 52 this month, is the only one of those siblings living in New Orleans. Last summer, his younger brother Jason, the percussionist, moved to France with his wife and three kids. Wynton lives in New York, anchored to Jazz at Lincoln Center; Branford lives in North Carolina, and like the other three brothers travels often for concerts and productions. Click here to read the review.


Electric Kif Review

Keyboardist Jason Matthews was the main attraction here. At the heart of Electric Kif was his indefatigable energy and effusive playing style. Matthews frequently dropped huge Hammond organ riffs on the audience.The band powered through songs such as “See You at the Corner” and “Little Louie” — from its new album “Heist” — but the best was saved for last with a blistering cover of Radiohead’s brilliant “Weird Fishes/Arpeggi.” Matthews and company gave a faithful rendition that managed to be more moody and explosively emotive than the recorded original. Click here to read the review.


Post-Bowie, Donny McCaslin breaks out of the jazz bubble

Now playing rock-friendly standing-room clubs as well as jazz festivals, clubs and soft-seat performance halls, McCaslin is at last one of those rare exceptions — a contemporary jazz musician recognized and admired outside of the jazz bubble. “I’ve heard people say, ‘I don’t usually like jazz, but I really like what you guys are doing.’ I appreciate that.” McCaslin said. The go-between that brought McCaslin and Bowie together, back in the summer of 2014, was jazz composer, arranger and orchestra leader Maria Schneider, in whose band McCaslin is a vital soloist. Click here to read the full feature.


Backstage at The Utah Arts Festival 2017: Pedrito Martinez Group to close out festival on exuberant note

In the Afro-Cuban cultural diaspora that now stretches to the U.S., Martinez and many of his fellow musicians who were born and raised in Cuba exemplify a virtuosic tradition. In Cuba, young aspiring musicians had two pathways available to them to develop and perfect their art. Either they were fortunate enough, by virtue of their family connections, to be sent to one of the country’s legendary conservatories or they learned it in the streets from elders and peers, many of who were adherents to Santeria, the religion that evolved as slaves were brought from Nigeria to the Caribbean nation more than 250 years ago. As Martinez, who is a priest of the religion, emphasizes, it provided the essential path of learning the foundation that undergirds the development of Cuba’s most durable and significant music. Click here to read the full preview.


Donny McCaslin’s group…was so explosive that it threatened to set the Toff in Town stage on fire

Donny McCaslin’s group, on the other hand, was so explosive that it threatened to set the Toff in Town stage on fire. Jonathan Maron’s visceral electric bass and Jason Lindner’s pitch-bending synths sent vibrations through our feet and into our heads, while Zach Danziger’s drums thundered and roiled to the back of the packed room and beyond. In the midst of all the turbulence, McCaslin and his saxophone stood firmly in the eye of the storm, unleashing bold, reverberant tones that grew increasingly fervent as the band built climax upon gritty climax, each more intense than the last. But even at their most fierce, the effect was more euphoric than aggressive. McCaslin and his band are also more than capable of harnessing their energy (just as they have harnessed the enormous attention their work on David Bowie’s Blackstar has brought them) and keeping it in check. Click here to read the full Review.


Pedrito Martinez Group Wows Spoleto

To say that explosive musical energy was on display in the house on that night was like calling a hurricane an earthquake. This group thumps, rocks and grooves like very few Latin based groups can…The entire group is tight and, you see, the one sure way to describe Perdrito Martinez and his entourage’s sound would be to say that they are all musically gifted. Their passionate, infectious Afro-Cuban rhythmic sound is a refreshingly vibrant interpretation of the group’s ardent Latino based sound, and it’s a totally modern combination of get up and dance Afro-Latin based drumming and rhythmic music and so much more. Click here to read the full Review.