Rochester composer Stephen Harvey to unveil superhero-inspired jazz
Faster than a speeding bullet? More powerful than a locomotive?
See how Stephen Philip Harvey looks like Superman when the Rochester composer brings his great orchestra home for a show on August 15 at the Rochester Borough Theater.
Harvey will lead his 17-piece ensemble in “Smash!” a concert featuring songs from his new album inspired by his love for pop culture, especially superhero comics.
Harvey says his new compositions blend elements of big band jazz, fusion, funk, rock, and cinematic music to push classic superhero characters and scenes off the page.
The “Smash!” nearly 8 minutes long The title song is a catchy melody that moves the body with a booming saxophone, piano and drums. The midtempo “Mechanical Man” takes surprising twists and turns, led by an extraordinary guitar.
On stage in Rochester, the Stephen Philip Harvey Jazz Orchestra will perform two sets, according to Harvey, “will take you from your seats and plunge you into the battle of the hero versus the villain. Whether you want to fly through the skies, hatch a nefarious plot, or just break something “he has songs for you.
I told you a few months ago about Harvey, now based in Salisbury, Maryland, launching a crowdfunding campaign seeking donor support to complete his album.
“The crowdfunding went really well,” said Harvey. “We hit our goal of $ 19,000 with about 12 hours to spare on June 11. I’m using that money to pay the Jazz Orchestra and Audible Images (in Ross Township) to record this nine-track suite. I am so excited! “
But first, the Stephen Philip Harvey Jazz Orchestra (SPHJO) will unveil the songs live, on a four-date tour.
Tickets for the Rochester show August 15 at 6 p.m. are $ 15 in advance through August 13 on stephenpharvey.com and $ 20 at the door.
The SPHJO will also perform “Smash!” at the Seton Hill University Performing Arts Center in Greensburg on August 14.
“I am very happy to be returning to the Pittsburgh area to perform this original music,” Harvey said. “It’s even more special to bring him to two places I called home.
“Outside of music, I live and breathe superheroes,” Harvey said. “It was a long-standing idea to combine these two passions in one project. I wanted to write music that would have a fun and accessible quality, while bringing light to the great American jazz ensemble. “
SPHJO members live in multiple states and bring a national profile, performing with recognizable ensembles and artists like the Pittsburgh Jazz Orchestra, the Cleveland Jazz Orchestra, Ralph Lalama, Sean Jones and the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra.
Justin Wade’s new single
Banjo Plucking launches new single from rock band Justin Wade Band. By the time the chorus of “Come My Way” arrives, it’s the squeaky guitar and vocal rumble that grabs you.
“This is the upbeat song of the season,” said Justin Wade Kalcevic, leader of Chippewa Township. “Growing up in the country, the bonfire was the perfect place to party, with the music blaring and the girls dancing. It’s the heartbeat and the inspiration for this song.”
The Justin Wade Band is releasing “Come My Way” this Friday on major platforms.
JWB recorded the song at Music Gardens Studios in New Brighton directed by Al Torrence.
“He made up that lick at the start of the song,” Kalcevic said. “Great things are happening as we just partnered up with TD Music Management & Booking to take JWB on the road. “
For the latest dates, check out Justinwadeband.com.
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Took our breath away
Few of the New Wave bands of the 1980s are still up to the task.
Berlin is an exception, as evidenced last weekend when the “Take My Breath Away” charts dazzled South Park Amphitheater’s biggest crowd since at least 2019.
Arriving at the concert site under police escort as local openers Donora were halfway through their breezy and fun set, Berlin took to the stage 15-20 minutes later than most South Park headliners. The LA electro-pop group wanted darkness to better showcase their video projections.
These videos weren’t even necessary, as all eyes were on singer Terri Nunn in a black sequined romper. She charmed fans with her powerful vocals, lively stage movements, and tongue-in-cheek banter.
Berlin was launched with its second biggest hit, 1984’s “No More Words”, a catchy Billboard Top-30 track. Next came another fan favorite, “The Metro”.
Berlin looked fiery and tight, led by circa 1984 synth player David Diamond and original bassist John Crawford appearing to be decades younger than his 64 years old.
Nunn doesn’t look like he’s nearly 60, either. She told the audience that she was okay with that age because she was less manic.
She didn’t let her energy on stage soften much, strolling about twenty yards in the audience to sing a song. Fortunately, she had ventured into the designated area of Allegheny County Park for vaccinated spectators.
The only moment in the performance where Nunn lost control was when an insect flew into her mouth as she opened wide to sing. She coughed a little and laughed.
I guess you could say that this bug took her breath away.
Years squeaked with joy, several songs later, acknowledging the dramatic opening notes of “Take My Breath Away”. This time, Nunn pushed the broad shoulders of a group assistant deeper into the mixed-age audience, expressing that “Top Gun” love theme. with conviction.
Berlin only played for an hour. It wasn’t a filler, quite a killer, including a perfect cover of The Cult’s “She Sells Sanctuary”.
Nunn introduced the encore with “This is my favorite song about religion”.
The next sound was a famous hard-rock riff, as Berlin ended fiercely with AC / DC’s “Highway to Hell”.
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Mask for Maks?
This Sunday marks Carnegie of Homestead Music Hall’s first show since March 2020.
Maks & Val’s Stripped Down Tour, featuring the Chmerkovsky brothers, is an evening of dance and comedy.
The Munhall website says, “Our staff and volunteers will be masked for your protection and ours. We encourage all customers to follow the CDC’s recommended masking guidelines.”
Scott Tady is the local entertainment reporter for The Beaver County Times and Ellwood City Ledger. He’s at [email protected]