In most fields of study there are systems of classification. Taxonomy, originally applied to organisms, helps differentiate between, say, an oak and a maple and an elm. Similar schemes can be applied to the humanities; hierarchies can be created within language, religion, movements in art, anything. This kind of classification is necessary because it helps those engaged in the study of a specialized area to communicate about that topic.
Famed Ghanaian percussionist Nii (Mr.) Otoo Annan has wowed audiences in the States with a polyrhythmic mastery that has earned him the moniker “the Elvin Jones of West Africa,” after the late great jazz drummer. But Annan has kept a secret from his U.S. fans: He is also a master guitarist whose music—as unassuming as it is mesmerizing—draws on the West African highlife and palm wine styles.
On the morning of Sept. 18, Mantis Fist guitarist Steve “Oki” Nance passed away, leaving behind a wife and two small boys, and an empty space in Albuquerque's hip-hop community. Pay your respects at the Launchpad (618 Central SW) on Saturday, Oct. 9, when Myka 9, The Big Spank, New Mex.Icon, Ntox, Clout, Shakedown, Zoology, The Emphericans and Mic Deli come together to raise money for Nance’s family. The 21-and-over show begins at 6 p.m. Don't be surprised if you see a few grown men cry. (Jessica Cassyle Carr)
If anyone needed further proof that pianist/composer Danilo Pérez represents a beacon for the future of jazz, Providencia should do the trick. Embracing classical, jazz and folkloric traditions, Pérez roots his multifaceted compositions—whether through-composed or freely improvised—in the human experience. It’s tragic love, the wonder of a child, the will to a better future that animate him—never music for music’s sake. Nine original tunes and two standards are performed by a variety of combos, from a small chamber group to a sax/piano duet. Alto saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa, whose angular, urgent playing fills every note, deserves special mention. (MM)
Levi Eleven is a local musician and fashioner of band paraphernalia with his merch operation I Heart Machine (iheartmachine.com). He used to write “Retrospeculative” reviews of movies he saw as a kid for the Alibi’s blog. He also plays guitar in some bands that don’t yet have names. You might have seen him around. Here are five random songs from his collection.