Chamber Blues

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Joined: Thu Jan 25, 2024 1:11 am

Chamber Blues

Post by andvari7 »

Good evening,

About forty minutes ago, I came home from a concert in a small town in Wisconsin, about twenty minutes from my house. I grew up in the town next door, and my sister had danced in this venue, which is an old opera house. The last time I had been there was for one of her recitals, and the opera house hadn’t been renovated. The act was a guy named Corky Siegel, a Chicago blues staple of the 60s and 70s, and his chamber blues ensemble. It was Siegel, on harmonica, vocals and piano, a 4-piece chamber group - two violins, a viola and a cello - and a tabla player. Opuses that incorporate blues elements, like that Chicago shuffle and slide.

It was an interesting and enjoyable musical experience. The musicianship was top-notch. I played cello between the ages of 9-17, and I have always had an appreciation for orchestral music. It’s refreshing to see these kinds of gigs, because violists and cellists need to eat, too. I initially thought that the tabla was a head scratcher, and wondered how he would fit in with the group. Quite well, thank you. The second violinist, who is from Taiwan, also played an erhu, which is a two-stringed bowed instrument from China, via Mongolia.

My dad, with whom I attended the concert, had seen Corky Siegel perform in Chicago a few times in the 70s, and he told me that his harp hadn’t lost a breath. For an 80-year-old to play at that level is impressive enough, but add some old-school showmanship, and you have something special.

My biggest concern with all concerts, especially those in older venues, and where dynamics are absolutely essential, is that the sound man will fuck everything up. Not here. Every instrument could be heard distinctly, and it wasn’t so loud, that it would be exhausting. I am fairly strict about wearing earplugs to concerts, and I didn’t need them here.

I don’t know if I’d rush out and buy the albums, but I’d sure as hell see them live again. It was out of character, like I try to be, and I appreciate that.

Thank you.