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

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Concert review: Songs for Connie, Greenwich House, June 2018

-Originally published inn”The NYC Jazz Record”, NY@Night section, July 2018-

SONGS FOR CONNIE: Vocalists Celebrate the Life of Connie Crothers
June 15, 2018, Greenwich House Music School, Renee WeilerConcert Hall, NYC
Concert review by John Pietaro

The audience at Greenwich House filled the space this June nightbristling with enthusiasm for the late Connie Crothers. The linger of the pianist’s essence held court as eight female vocalists took the stage with songs of significancefrom standards to free-reigning tone poemsCrothers mentored a legion of improvisers over years but vocalists had a special affection for her concepts developed through the tutelage ofLennie TristanoMore so, Crothers fostered a creative community rooted in humanism and her progressive credoWith her 2016 passing, concerts celebrating her life were established(as Connie had done in honor of Tristano), with vocalists Linda Satin and Dori Levine at the helm. 

Jazz vocal legend Sheila Jordan headlined with a set that transported the room back through decades, deftly supported by bassist Adam Lane (ignited with Harvey Schwartz interplay) and pianist Tom Thorndike. At 89, her swinging, bop lines carry the verve and cool we’d thought were lost with smoke-filled rooms. Other standout performances included Jay Clayton, a hip veteran of non-traditional vocals with the uncanny ability to always be on pitch. Her duet with the extraordinary bassist Ken Filianoexpanded Ornette’s “Lonely Woman” into new, quite moving realmsFiliano was also present for Andrea Wolper’s bossa-filled set with Carol Liebowitz on piano; others included Cheryl Richards, Alexis Parsons, Lynne Bongiorno and the event’s producers. There’s not enough space to give proper due to the breadth of wonderful sounds, but suffice to say that Connie, looking down, must have been most pleased. 

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