The ArtMusic Coffeehouse is a new epicenter for up-and-coming talent. Hosted by Don Slepian, each show (Wednesday evenings, 9PM thru 11PM Eastern US Time) features performances and interviews with talented folk, blues, jazz, classical and world music artists. Set before a modest live audience, the concert begins with Don Slepian's keyboard improvisations. It continues to move between interview and live performance, revealing the thoughts and musical personality of the evening's featured artist. Through webcasting, I can be heard virtually anywhere. This is exciting, like live radio used to be.
Electric Diamond started their set with a beautiful piece based on 15th century secular medieval melodies. I found this fascinating because it was at once both ancient and contemporary. The group played together as if they were of one mind. Modal melodies and phrases were passed from one instrument to another twisted and intertwined, each time modified and harmonized in new ways. As Stuart pointed out in a discussion during the concert, this form of improvisation was the norm in the 15th century. Electric Diamond was so accomplished at this that one could have thought they were performing a composition of Josquin des Pres, or one of his contemporaries, from memory.
As the evening progressed, Electric Diamond played in many differing styles including, but not limited to, classical, romantic, jazz, blues, avant garde, latin, and native American; in many combinations. They even played a J. S. Bach Ava Maria (actually Prelude No. 1 in C Major) and a Purcell trumpet voluntary; Stuart's Lyricon sounded more like a piccolo trumpet than a piccolo trumpet. I was delighted.
As I sat listening, only a few feet from the players, it occurred to me that this was chamber music much like it was in Mozart's time. These musicians were at once reviving the art of classical improvisation and creating new music. With the webcasting, it is possible that people all over the planet were sharing this experience in their own homes; talk about the global village.
The format of the ArtMusic Coffeehouse appropriately provided the performers the opportunity to talk about their music and themselves. This certainly enhanced the concert. The "show" lasts two continuous hours, and I think that's too long without a break, both for the audience and the performers.
It's great to review a venue which is available to everyone on the internet. I urge you to listen in to future ArtMusic Coffeehouse concerts, and comment on them at the electro-music.com forum. Don offered to get us a few audio clips of last night's concert, which we'll post as soon as we can. Below are come links to web sites of the artists.
The webcast was supported by garageradio.com
You can see another review of this concert here.