Friday, November 12, 2010

Special Event 11/19 at the Cuban Revolution

Chifferobe and Cuban Revolution Restaurant & Bar Present
Friday, November 19, 2010
As another year passes and the chill of winter knocks on our doors, join us as we welcome a traveling menagerie
of performers to Cuban Revolution Restaurant & Bar for a night of danger, seduction, and intrigue at EL CIRCO
The lives and crafts of artists, performers, and misfits have historically intersected under the big top. In keeping
with Chifferobe’s past events, El Circo Mechanico looks back in time to early-century caravans of travelers who
would stop, wipe the dust from their road-weary faces, and set up for one night of dazzling, back-to-back
spectacles to only pack up after and continue on their ways.
For one night only, enjoy the knife throwing, whip wielding JACQUES ZE WHIPPEUR, the poetics of
puppeteer JEANNE DELGIUDICE, the python charming BWANA IGUANA, aerial acrobat MARY
LANGLOIS, seductive showgirls THE TROPIGALS, “1920s tap sensation” KRISTEN MINSKY, tarot
readings, cigarette girls, and caricature artists too.
Providence’s own phenomenon MISS WENSDAY & THE COTILLIONS will be sharing a selection of jazz
standards and NY-based COPAL will charm you with seductive string rhythms as they celebrate the release of
their new album, “Into the Shadow Garden” (available early November).
There is no cover charge, but the request of a $15 minimum food or beverage purchase. Doors will open at 8 pm
and the circus will begin at 9. 1900s to 1930s or circus attire is encouraged… This will truly be a night to
remember and don’t forget, anything goes so long as it’s over the top or under the table!
This event will take place at Cuban Revolution Restaurant & Bar 60 Valley St. Providence, RI - (401)
Please contact for more information

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

September Events at the Cuban Revolution

The Cuban Revolution Soul/Jazz Series is back, which means another great lineup of modern jazz musicians back in Providence, and another round of free music to enjoy! This months events:

Friday September 10, 8PM
Eric Bloom: Eric Bloom is a trumpet player who has been playing professionally since he was 15. Most recently, Eric has been touring with Diane Birch, a highly acclaimed singer-songwriter who released her first album in 2009 on S-Curve records. In the last year, Eric has done several headlining tours with DB in the US, Japan, and Europe. In addition, he has done a couple of month-long tours as the support band for such artists like British pop sensation James Morrison, US singer Mat Kearny, and Nick Jonas. The Diane Birch band has been featured on several late-night national T.V. shows including the Craig Ferguson Show, the Carson Daly Show, Jimmy Kimmel Show, the David Letterman Show, and the Conan O’Brian Show. You can now hear Eric singing, playing trumpet, and percussion with DB on the “Diane Birch iTunes Session” cd, now available on iTunes.

Saturday September 11, 8PM
Mike Rollins & Co is a project that is making a splash into the New England area playing a mix of jazz, neo-soul, R&B, hip hop, rock, reggae and african dance.

Friday September 17, 8PM
Elan Trotman: One of the most exciting up-and-comers among a new generation of saxophonists, Elan Trotman has emerged as an exhilarating force in the world of contemporary jazz. As a composer, performer, teacher and recording artist, Elan excels in every setting. Elan has been the recipient of the award for Best Jazz Male at the New England Urban Music Awards and was nominated for a Boston Music Award in Jazz. His playing, though inspired by Arturo Tappin, Grover Washington Jr and Kirk Whalum, features his own tone and fresh ideas. Both inspiring and impressive, Elan’s music is never predictable.

Saturday September 18, 8PM
The Lance Martin Band: The LMB has been together in Boston since 1982. The combination of jazz, funk & gospel is called Physical Jazz, which is the title of lance's latest CD. The music and the flute performances will hopefully dispel any preconceived notion on how a jazz flute should sound.

Friday September 24, 8PM
Chifferobe Presents The Tropicale: Tribute to Carmen Miranda (Doors at 9PM, Show at 10PM, $15 at door/$10 in vintage 1930’s/1940’s clothing)

Friday September 25, 8PM
Paul “Sweet P” Williams: Paul Alexander Williams (AKA Sweet P) was born and raised in Providence, Rhode Island. He started gigging in local bars and night clubs at the age of 19. By the age of 23, he had played guitar in the nine piece show band- "Pain & Pure Pleasure"; and he had served an apprenticeship in "Brotherhood", -a jazz quartet that featured band leader Richard Lee on the B3 organ and vocalist Candy Brown. With a love and natural feel for many genres, Sweet P is a versatile performer, available for clubs, private parties, corporate functions, bringing professionalism and experience to every playing situation.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Concert Review: Skatalites Mix Original Ska with Reggae Classics

courtesy of
The Skatalites Mix Original Ska with Reggae ClassicsLast weekend, I was able to catch the legendary Skatalites at the Ocean Mist in Matunuck, RI. If you haven’t been, you should head down for a show while there’s still summer left to speak of. They have some great ska and reggae acts planned for the rest of the month, including Badfish, the RI-based Sublime tribute playing tonight, and reggae groups Inner Visions and the Mintones playing Thursday nights to close the month. The bar boasts an amazing outdoor deck, which runs the length of the bar and reaches out over the water to give the illusion of a cruise ship, only with better bands.
The Skatalites were a great fit for the crowd, a mix of young and middle aged people filling the front of the house, cascading from the heedless dancers in the front to those at the back of the bar carefully thinking every note to leave a soloist’s horn.
The band was equally eclectic, a pleasant surprise for my first time seeing them. The youngest of them, and clearly the newest member of the Skatalites, was Azemebo “Zim” Audu, playing tenor sax with a very fast, technical, straightahead jazz style. The other horn players, trumpet player Kevin Batchelor and trombone player Andrae Murchison mixed their extensive technical abilities with a much cooler, more hip ska style. Founding Skatalite alto sax player Lester Sterling remained the crowd favorite, and acted as the bandleader and crowd hype man, although I’m not sure how much of the crowd understood him. Kevin also sang lead vocals on the songs that required it, which were few. The rhythm section was held together by the rock solid Lloyd Knibb, who has been the drummer and the face of the Skatalites since 1964. Pushing 80 years old, Lloyd played the set with a dark, confident look that commanded the respect of his fellow performers and fans. His style changed perfectly from the upbeat ska to the slower reggae tunes with the ease of someone who has been the master of his craft for decades. The rest of the rhythm section was impressive, bass player Val Douglas, guitarist Nattie Frenchie, keyboard player Cameron Greenlee, and aux. percussionist Bob Heffernan, keeping the sound alive like it was Kingston in the late 60s.
The early part of the setlist was what you would expect. Classic, instrumental Skatalites tunes, just fast enough to keep the crowd moving in step. As the night progressed, they stepped up the energy a notch with a few of their more well known hits, including Rockfort Rock, Phoenix City, and the famous Guns of Navarone. They also included some reggae/ska classics to get the crowd moving for the finale, including Take Five, Rivers of Babylon, and A Message to You Rudy.
After leaving the stage for some added excitement, keyboard player and manager Ken Stewart came back to indroduce the members of the band. Once all on stage and playing, there was a pause. The musicians all froze in their places. The crowd stopped dancing and even speaking. Then, with some direction from Kevin the trumpet player, the crowd and band began to chant… 10… 9… 8… 7… 6… 5… 4… 3… 2… 1… FREEDOM! The party started back up immediately, with enough power to squeeze Freedom Sound, Dick Tracy, and El Pussycat into the danced-out crowd. After the show, the band members happily came off stage to greet their fans face to face for pictures and some co-mingling. The Skatalites are on a tour through the U.S. right now, see where at

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Sound Session Finale: Block Party @ The Black Rep Back Lot

Saturday marked the end of a long, exciting week. This year's Providence Sound Session came to a close with multiple outdoor stages hosting over 50 acts, hundreds of people, and weather changes from the bible era. The Back Lot hosted two shows. During the day was the well-anticipated Local Hip Hop Showcase, featuring Rhode Island's finest rappers and DJs. The night show was comprised of a variety of bands, including funk, reggae, rock, Mediterranean, and R&B.
DJ Tek and DJ Gallis started the day off just after noon, to a small crowd and an eager crew, setting up tents, bars, and food stands. They began with energy, as if the lot was filled, trading spots, scratching vocal lines and drum fills. Jahpan hosted the event.
The first act of the day literally brought their own crowd. Reziztanze came about 10 people deep, three MC's with at least three others wearing their distinctive red tees with nicknames on the back, plus a small group of women. Once on stage, they were true hype men, physically active, bouncy, interactive with the crowd. Big Rush and Sneaky Pete came next, followed by the always interesting Phoenyx, whose vinyl-only DJ impressed the crowd as he improvised cuts behind the MC. Next, Providence natives and Hip Hop veterans The Blood Lions a.k.a. Jungle Movement boosted the energy of the show. As more and more people filled the lot, crowd favorites Who Dem took the stage, forcing the crowd into ecstasy with the shout chorus "Let's Go!", then pushing them back in amazement with a guest R&B singer. Dance crew Case Closed changed things up with a quick set, and Juan Deuce and show host Jahpan had the crowd bumping for the last set of the Hip Hop show.
North Carolina band The Beast started the night show in style. The keyboard player sported two synthesizers and a Mac running Live to cue loops and samples to play with. The band had a cool Jazz/Funk/Soul style, with an MC who was straight Hip Hop, a great changeover from the previous set. After The Beast, the Back Lot took a break. The next band, Africa Rainbow, had begun setting up when the skies opened up, pouring rain on the crowd that moments before had been basking in the sun. We were set to continue as the soaking wet sound guy began shouting at us as to why the equipment and cables can't sit in 4 inches of water. Needless to say, we turned off anything that used electricity, and hour later with the help of the port-a-potty sucking machine to clear the lot, we were able to continue.
Africa Rainbow brought the crowd back with power, a fair amount of reverb spawned by the band's traveling sound tech, lots of musicians, and a modern singer. They laid the groundwork for the slew of reggae and world musicians to come. Tevellus came next, with their own curious blend of Mediterranean music, rock, and funk. They had one song where an MC/spoken word artist named Infinite came to the stage armed with a mixed up Rubix Cube, and over the course of a verse about time, completed it for a grand finale. The next band, Funktronic, combined complicated guitar and bass rhythms with a solid drummer and funky hand percussionist.
Somerville/Boston based reggae band King I knew just where to hit the crowd. With solid 'riddim' sections, they kept the music moving in new directions all the time. Powerful vocals and flashy drum fills with a solid drop kept the crowd active. A brief set from rap/reggaeton artists Effigy kept the crowd active for the upcoming reggae and dub band. Soulshot, here labeled "Soulshot in Dub" is not new to the Rhode Island scene, but have made their name from Westerly to Providence as the state's premiere reggae band. They sported two fantastic horn players, an amazing rhythm section, a dedicated sound tech, and an auxiliary percussionist, and in all showed proved to be an amazing group of musicians, where most everyone had the ability to sing well in backup and lead spots.
This post cannot be completed without giving much respect to our DJ, part time Emcee, and full time crowd motivator DJ Negus. Spinning Jamaican reggae and appropriately speaking and shouting into the crowd in a style that resembled old school Dancehall but with values and ideas important in today's world between every act kept the show moving at times when it would have screeched to a halt. It's a tall order for a DJ, and he filled it with ease.
The last band that played, in a few words, blew everyone away. The slowly dwindling crowd at the Back Lot had no idea what was in store for them as the night crept past midnight. They couldn't have seen what would was going to happen as 9 people came on stage to play, calling themselves Black Alley. The innocent looking singer walked silently to the microphone before knocking everyone back with her first words. What came out was the tightest, funkiest R&B and soul I have ever heard from a live band. The streets literally began emptying into the lot. The 'dwindling' crowd turned into the largest of the night by the middle of their first song. They kept the party going, and people kept coming, through extended jams and solos, through incredibly badass vocals and amazing renditions of the most commonly heard pop songs. They kept going, in fact, until the police came, literally rushing the stage to shut them down. We had extended past the allowed time for the venue, and the hundreds of people that had collected had no idea they were witnessing the climax of the evening. A perfectly abrupt ending for a band that increased the energy of the city from the first note to their last.

Find pictures of this event and others, and follow news on

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Spot Underground and Black Rep Fashion Show: Sound Session Report

The Spot Underground

Upon entering The Spot on Elbow St. in Providence, I was met by Josh Willis, the Artistic Director of the new venue. Proud of his creation, he described to me just how new the place was, yesterday was their 12th day of being open. They have had live music every night. As he spoke, my mind wandered to a world where all bars had daily live entertainment. As Josh described Happy Hour at The Spot currently in planning: "We don't give people cheap booze, we give them free live music." What a wonderful world it could be.
The layout of the building is unique and well designed. The multiple levels and separate seating areas give all types of listeners a chance to feel at home at The Spot. There is a sizable dance floor, immediately surrounded by hightops. Take a few steps up from the stage area and you'll find traditional restaurant tables that snake around the bar and sound booth. In the back of the room there are some way too comfortable looking couches and chairs. I didn't go near them, for fear that I would be coaxed into staying there perpetually by the vocals of Heather Waxman, one of last night's performers.
The stage and sound are a perfect fit for the venue. Large enough for a big band, but cozy enough for a small group, the stage is an odd shape, relatively shallow from back to front but very wide, taking up a large section of the wall. The sound booth sits back near the bar, the crew perched up high like pharmacists.
For Sound Session, The Spot Underground is a perfect venue. Although last nights event was more of an local artist/open mic/invited guest style show, I could have imagined any big act drawing a crowd there. As the week's Sound Session events ramp up, be sure to check out The Spot and the awesome shows that will be there all week.

Reflection 20/10 @ The Black Rep

I was completely intrigued by last night's fashion show at the Xxodus Cafe at the Black Rep. I honestly had no idea what to expect. The bill listed a slew of musicians, mostly hip hop, with credits for clothing designers, jewelery designers, and a bit about "reflection of self and outward expression of self-esteem". Again, I had no idea what to expect.
I arrived about 10:30pm to a very warm crowd. The place was full, people leaning over the balcony, overflowing bunches at either end of the stage, and a small group so excited about what was coming they were literally dancing circles around the stage. I could tell immediately this would be a decidedly different show than the one I just watched.
After a short introduction, models began their routines, each with about a minute on stage for their speechless acts which highlighted the clothes and jewelery they were wearing. Musical acts were cleverly worked in, often entering the stage as a model. It wasn't until the rest of the stage cleared that you realized they were performers.
The short performances were entertaining, and a good break from the clothing on display. Hip hop solo acts and duos were accompanied by the DJ.
The night reached its climax the second Paul Lowe Jr. entered the stage. All the models left, the lights dimmed, and the music stopped. Standing alone with his soprano sax under a spotlight, the crowds attention came to a screeching halt as they witnessed the seriousness of the look on his face. He played a smooth instrumental version of Alicia Keys' "If I Ain't Got You" that had the crowd singing to the words that weren't there. Sadly, he had only the one song as all the other artists did.
To cap the night, Chachi Carvalho came on stage with the opposite demeanor of Paul Lowe Jr. He rushed the mic, beaming, greeted the crowd, and caused the expected ruckus that he brings to RI stages. He did an extra song, to end the night with the classic "Cape Verdean in America".
Check out videos and pics from the night coming soon to

Monday, July 19, 2010



The back lot at the black rep (7 pm) $10.00 Cover
Trombone Shorty (New Orleans Brass/Second Line)
What Cheer Brigade (18 Piece Marching Band)
The Divine Second Line Brass Band

XXodus café at the black rep 7:00 PM $10.00 Cover
Poetry Slam featuring Christopher Johnson & Guests

Saturday, July 17, 2010

YouTube Video of the Week - A Troop of Echoes - "Little Bird"

They joke on twitter about being called jazz. What they are is your average rock band flipped upside down and manipulated into genius. The vocal lines have been surgically removed and replaced with melodies. Damn good melodies, played by a sax player and backed by players with real musicianship who listen to each other.

I was able to catch A Troop of Echoes at their CD Release Party in May in their hometown of Providence. Their show was proof of the years of hard work they have put in, and the album released that night, Days In Automation, expands on the idea of rock music with every note.

This week's YOUTUBE VIDEO OF THE WEEK is one of my favorites from Days in Automation, and an older video that captures their essence and helps convey the sound that defines A Troop of Echoes.