Welcome to THE CULTURAL WORKER, a blog dedicated to arts of the people, from the radical avant garde and free jazz to dissident folk forms, punk and popular arts . The Cultural Worker celebrates revolutionary creativity and features a variety of essays, reviews, fiction, reportage, poetry and musings through the internet pen of this creative writer, journalist, musician and cultural organizer. Scroll straight down and you'll also find an extensive historical Photo Exhibit of cultural workers in action, followed by a series of Radical Arts Links. The features herein will be unabashedly partisan---make no mistake about that. The concept of the cultural worker as a force of fearless creativity, of social change, indeed as an artistic arm of radicalism, has always been left-wing when applied with any degree of honesty at all. No revolutionary act can be truly complete in the absence of art, no progressive campaign can retain its message sans the daring drumbeat of invention, no act of dissent can stand so strong as that which counts the writers, musicians, painters, dancers, actors, photographers, film and performance artists within its ranks. Here's to the history and legacy of cultural work in the throes of the good fight...
john pietaro

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Performance Review: MARC RIBOT w Jay Rodriguez, Nasheet Waits, Nick Dunston, April 2018, Bar LunAtico, Brooklyn NY

MARC RIBOT with Jay Rodriguez, Nasheet Waits, Nick Dunston
April 3, 2018, Bar LunAtico, Brooklyn NY
Published in “The NYC Jazz Record”, May 2018

Performance Review by John Pietaro

The faux old world décor of Bar LunAtico encircled Marc Ribot judiciously. Under a corroded tin ceiling, the club’s shadowy lighting fed into the noir imagery that No Wavers and other creatures of the night have always eaten up. Clearly, such affections aren’t limited by generational bounds: the 20-somethings in black berets and leather weren’t born when Ribot pioneered new sounds downtown, but at LunAtico the guitarist and his searing new quartet were greeted by a cheering capacity house.

Saxophonist Jay Rodriguez emoted as if on a mountain top while young bassist Nick Dunston laid throbbing runs about him and drummer Nasheet Waits evoked a sudden storm over tom-toms. The guitarist leaned into his microphone to unleash radical lyrics on this socially conscious crowd, offering new visions of the material from his Songs of Resistance project. Adaptations of the Carter Family’s “When the World is on Fire” and the Civil Rights anthem “We are Soldiers in the Army” were stand-outs, but no more than Pete Seeger’s “Waist Deep in the Big Muddy”, its refrain of “the big fool said to push on” now a marked affront to Trump. Lost in the fog of free improvisation, Ribot played with a frenetic blueness, up-picking spiky motifs of a uniquely urban sort.

By the final piece, charging Latin rhythms and an explosive montuno section pumped the audience to exhaustion. As the final downtown groove burst forward, Bar LunAtico’s inhabitants were lost to another time and place, all the better for the journey.

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