A Different Planet: William Parker with David Budbill

Thursday, October 1 at 8 p.m., Bezanson Recital Hall
General Admission: $10; $5 students

It is hard to overestimate the impact bassist and band leader William Parker has had on creative music over the last four decades. Parker is featured on over 150 recordings under his own name and with Cecil Taylor, David S. Ware and Peter Brötzmann. A performance poet, David Budbill is the author of seven books of poems, eight plays, a novel, a collection of short stories, a picture book for children, a libretto, and dozens of essays, speeches and book reviews.

William Parker



Bridgman Packer Dance|Truck

Thursday, October 1, Free and Open to the Public
Art in the Orchard, Park Hill Orchard, Easthampton, MA at 7 p.m., 7:30 p.m., 8 p.m.
UMass Campus, Southwest Residential Area at 10:15 p.m., 10:40 p.m., 11:05 p.m.

Friday, October 2 at 7 p.m., 7:25 p.m., 7:50 p.m., 8:15 p.m., Free and Open to the Public
Gallery Walk, Brattleboro, VT

Bridgman | Packer Dance’s highly visual and visceral work intertwines live performance and video technology, creating a magically populated stage where image and reality collide. Truck is performed inside a 17-foot U-Haul box truck with the audience viewing from the outside creating a reimagined space that dynamically combines choreography, video, sound design and music. Join us at Art in the Orchard in Easthampton, the Brattleboro Gallery Walk, or on the UMass Campus for an altogether different performance experience. “Witty, sexy, and surreal.” –The New Yorker.

Bridgman | Packer Dance


Artist Website


Amir ElSaffar’s Two Rivers Ensemble

By Glenn Siegel

Thursday’s Pioneer Valley Jazz Shares concert by Amir ElSaffar’s Two Rivers Ensemble was remarkable in many ways, not the least of which was the performance by the drummer Dan Weiss.  Nasheet Waits, the Ensemble’s regular percussionist, was in residence for a week at the Village Vanguard with Kurt Rosenwinkel and Eric Revis. Weiss, who in recent years has propelled the bands of David Binney, Lee Konitz, Rudresh Mahanthappa and Miguel Zenon, was making his first public appearance with Amir’s celebrated sextet.  You would have never known it.

What made his debut astounding were the technical and emotional demands of the music. This was not a program of standards and over-used jazz conventions. This was ElSaffar’s “Crisis Suite”, an evening-length amalgam of super-complex rhythm and non-Western harmony, full of multiple shifts in mood. Weiss sounded completely at ease moving between ElSaffar’s co-mingled world of Iraqi maqam and jazz tradition.

After the show, both bassist Carlo DeRosa and tenor saxophonist Ole Mathisen shook their heads in disbelief at how effortlessly Weiss had lifted the bandstand in his first try; a home run in his first at bat.

Afterwards, Weiss was nonchalant about his inaugural hit with the band: “When you’ve played the drums for a while, you learn what to do.”

The concert took place in the Robyn Newhouse Hall, at the Community Music School of Springfield. The dramatic 1930s-era Art Deco hall was the former Springfield Safe Deposit and Trust Building, then Fleet Bank. The sound, thanks to engineer Steve Moser, was magnificent.

From my perspective, this concert was one of the high points of my presenting career. The evocative writing, the compelling backstory, the virtuosity of everyone on stage, the attentiveness and enthusiasm of the audience, the dramatic setting and the joyful spirit in the room, made this a peak experience.

Here’s Jonathan Stevens’ (Hungry Ghost Bakery) poetic response to the evening:


Two rivers, One bank

 First National, Second National, Community
Music & Loan!
moneyed marble makes great acoustics,
toilet vault full of sound deposits…

from Iraq to Chicago to the City of
(foreclosed) Homes, liquid assets inside a
trumpet calling this mosque to meet

“Crisis”! old abacus accounting!
dumbek tempo double-downs the
drums. The bass invests, then
withdraws. Interest rates rise & fall
with fingers on the tenor saxophone

beautiful old coins scatter out of
an oud. Old notes, torn notes,
Federal Reserve of Babylon: falling
off the score


the man is “Amir” teller: smelling the
mint growing between
the Tigris and Euphrates. His horn
is full of current-sea: unfilthy lucre
washed in waves of melody

devaluation of paper silence,
inflation of pumping oil
a seaweed on low  boil is a
double dulcimer: then this gets totally
hammered. Struck into silver
& gold, engraved with the pluck of a tar

We’re two doors down from my old office at
the Housing Allowance Program. We’re two
blocks up from this Valley’s inaccessible
stream. We’re red-lined out of the massive
mural roaring Twenties from the
wall. But we’re deep in debt –happily so- to
these counter-counter-feiters , this register
whose keys are full of spit, this re-consecrated Temple

where the gift of Jazz is given free.




Hot Sardines

Saturday, September 26 at 8 p.m., Fine Arts Center Concert Hall, Chamber Seating
$40 all seats (Reserved Seating); Five College, GCC and 17 & under $15

Take a blustery brass lineup, layer it over a rhythm section led by a Fats Waller-style stride piano virtuoso, toss in a tap dancer, and tie the whole thing together with a magnetic, one-of-the-boys front woman whose voice recalls another era, and you have the Hot Sardines – a band that plays the hot trad jazz and sultry standards of the 1920s, ‘30s and ‘40s with a Parisian accent and a dash of the rich Dixieland sounds of New Orleans. Fans of Pink Martini and the Squirrel Nut Zippers: you’re gonna love the Hot Sardines!

Join us for a pre-concert “Speak-Easy” party in the lobby with cash bar starting at 6:30 p.m. Dress to impress for the period and win a prize.

Hot Sardines




Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan presents: RICE

Choreography by Lin Hwai-min
Wednesday, September 23, 7:30 p.m., Fine Arts Center Concert Hall
General admission: $50, $45, $20; Five College, GCC and 17 & under: $15, $12, $10

Choreographer Lin Hwai-min is heralded as one of the original Dance multiculturalists drawing his inspiration from traditional Asian culture and aesthetics. With dancers trained in meditation, Qi Gong, martial arts, modern dance and ballet, his company transforms traditional Taiwanese dance vocabulary into thrilling modern celebrations of motion.  “Rice” was created to mark the troupe’s 40th anniversary and was inspired by the energy and resplendence of Chihshang in the East Rift Valley of Taiwan, home of “Emperor’s Rice.” Set to the music of Hakka folk songs – the oldest among the existing Chinese dialect, operatic arias and sounds from the fields, and against a video backdrop that depicts the life cycle of a rice paddy.

Chihshang was previously tainted by the use of chemical fertilizer; yet farming village has now regained its title as Land of Emperor Rice by adopting organic farming.

Awed by the immense waves of grain rolling across expansive fields of rice, and inspired by the environmentally-conscious farmers, Lin took the dancers to Chihshang, where they joined the farmers in harvesting the rice. Out of this experience in the field, Lin has created exuberant yet powerful movements woven through Soil, Sunlight, Wind, Water and Fire, telling the story of the land while contemplating the devastation of Earth.

A cinematographer spent two years on location capturing the cultivation of rice: flooding, sprouting, harvesting and burning. These video images – of clouds reflected in the water, rice swaying in the wind, and fire ravaging the fields – have become the essential visual elements of the production. Immersed in this landscape, the formidable Cloud Gate dancers, trained in Qi Gong and internal martial arts, enact a human drama parallel to the life cycle of rice. A work about death and rebirth, devastation and resurrection.

Rice is an international co-production by Sadler’s Wells Theatre London; HELLERAU European Center for the Arts Dresden, Germany; The National Theater & Concert Hall, the National Performing Arts Center, Taiwan, R.O.C.; NewVision Arts Festival, Hong Kong; and Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay, Singapore.

Audience members are invited to stay for a post-performance talk with the Company’s Artistic Director in Rand Theater immediately following the performance.