Music to Your Ears
Everybody and their mom hosts a music festival during the summer.
Only a few fests deserve the spotlight. Fewer still warrant a three-hour drive into the heart of Northern New Mexico. The first-ever Taos Mountain Music Festival on Saturday, Aug. 15, is poised to make it worth your while. Genre-melding Ozomatli headlines a full day of music held on four acres of Taos Ski Valley. Bob Marley's backup band The Wailers and singer-songwriter Joan Osborne beef up the bill.
Alejandro Blake, events director for Taos Ski Valley, says the lineup reflects a desire for diversity. "What we were really trying to do is have an eclectic group of artists," Blake says. "Somebody who listens to Joan might not listen to Ozo, but I think they'll come up here and appreciate Ozo's music and vice versa. There's no music that's going to be too harsh for anybody."
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Guitarist Joel Harrison—whose compositions are typically shaped as much by rigorous intellect as by Dionysian inclinations—relaxes on Urban Myths, preferring to groove on the rhythmic and sonic pleasures of electronic jazz. Intellect is never abandoned, but Harrison and friends (particularly saxophonist David Binney and violinist Christian Howes) are after an ecstatic expression that owes more to groove than gray matter. From “Last Waltz for Queva,” pregnant with loss and affection, to the funky “Straight No Chaser,” to the rock feel of “High Expectation Low Return,” Harrison explores his fusion self and plays some wailing guitar. (MM)