Guitarist Stephane Wrembel takes Gypsy jazz on a wild and wonderful ride at the third annual New Mexico Django Fest
By Mel Minter
French guitarist Stephane Wrembel can almost play faster than ears can listen. Before the brain can really register every precisely filigreed ornamentation, every breathtaking swoop and swerve into unexpected territory, before it has time to involuntarily voice amazement, Wrembel is laying down another beautifully formed and emotionally ripe idea at light speed.
You’ve heard his hooks in Lil Wayne's tracks and possibly seen him fleetingly on episodes of "The Wonder Years" or "Growing Pains" when he was a kid. And, sure, Robin Thicke sounds an awful lot like Justin Timberlake or Usher. But it's because he’s produced and written for artists like them over the past six years—and won Grammy gold for it. He's been on the R&B sidelines for too long. Forgive me for cashing this saying, but Something Else screams "sexy," and it reminds me of what I felt the first time I listened to Marvin Gaye. No gimmicks, no club tracks—just a real artist with an authentic passion for making good songs. (JH)
17th Annual Breakin' Hearts • Shuga Shane • Element • Knucklehead Zoo • Randy Boogie • Foundations of Freedom • Chief Rocekrz • BZ Beatz • hip-hop
By August March
Education, competition and reflection are the themes of the 17th annual Breakin' Hearts Festival, a four day hip-hop party right here in Albuquerque. Featuring regionally known artists, advocates and other interested parties, the main event for this spectacular get down is going down on Saturday, Feb. 23 at the Historic El Rey Theater from 12pm until 10pm. Preceded by nightly dances and educational opportunities galore, Saturday night's event is hosted by Shuga ShaneUHF/XFRX and Speed One and features the renowned DJs Element, Randy B and BZ Beats. Besides Beatbox and breakin' battles, a freestyle dance competition and a Blackbook contest, with performances by Def-i, LETSJUSB, Gravity, Jessica Lopez and Carlos Contreras. All-ages are welcome at this event—it's $20 at the door and $15 in advance from Vibes Dance Studio. Get your body movin' today before that sauce recipe disappears into the vault again.
AMP Concerts presents a concert by pedal steel guitarist Roosevelt Collier at The Cooperage on Sunday, Feb. 24 at 7:30pm. Collier is considered the master of a traditional approach to an instrument that's become familiar to American ears through every sorta sound from straight Country and Western to rocanrol and even indie bands. The artist's slide-style playing is lightning fast and gorgeously executed with a twang and twist. He's jammed with the Allman Brothers, Los Lobos and Tedeschi-Trucks; his latest recording was produced by by Michael League, one of David Crosby's current collaborators. In summary, this show is going to rock out, so be there. Tickets are only $17 in advance and $22 the day of the show. It's an intimate venue replete with meat and cocktails—which means this is a 21+ gig—and you are guaranteed to walk away with a shiny spot in your head that will only disappear with repeated exposure to songs like “Far Away Eyes.”