Music: Jeff Fuller & Friends celebrate “Round & Round” CD release Sat., Dec. 21

Jeff Fuller & Friends play Best Video Performance Space on Saturday, Dec. 21. The show starts at 8 PM and the cover is $10. It is a CD release show celebrating the group’s new disc “Round & Round.”

Jeff Fuller & Friends is made up of Jeff Fuller on bass, Darren Litzie on piano, and Ben Bilello on drums. The classic jazz trio format gives rise to—and makes room for—many delightful moments of serendipitous exchange. In no small part this is due to listening—each member of the trio evidently hears the conversation as a whole while adding their own thoughts to the process. The result is an emotional, intelligent and lucid story that carries through from the first note to the last.

On their 4th CD, Jeff Fuller & Friends provide thoughtful and engaging original jazz compositions in an intimate piano trio setting. “Round & Round” features Fuller’s virtuosic bass playing, pianist Darren Litzie’s inventive improvisations, and drummer Ben Bilello’s great soloing and accompaniment. Beautifully recorded by Norman Johnson, the trio explores new territory on such compositions as “Round & Round,” “Rest, Dear,” “Sambeleza, and the classically oriented “Never So Long,” which features Fuller’s bowed upright bass. This is music made for listening, so settle back and enjoy the journey!

The trio will also work some of their jazzy versions of holiday favorites into the set.

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Music: Holiday rock ‘n’ roll rave-up with Dust Hat, Bronson Rock Fri., Dec. 20, at 7:30 PM

Party rock ‘n’ roll band Dust Hat and roots quartet Bronson Rock will power up some holiday spirit on Friday, Dec. 20, at Best Video Performance Space. The shindig starts at 7:30 PM and the cover is a sliding scale $5-10 (pay what you can in that range).

Garage-y rock ‘n’ roll party band Dust Hat dubs itself a rock ‘n’ roll affront for modern times on its Bandcamp page. The group features Brendan Toller (Vox, Guitar, Tambourine Man); Jeff Slocum (Guitar, Fire Extinguisher); Dan Soto (Thunderstick); and Rob Ruby (Beat of The Traps).

Bronson Rock is a four piece rock and soul band featuring Buzz Gordo (aka Gary Mezzi) on guitar and lead vocals, Eric Bloomquist on bass, Lou St. John on organ, and Tom Smith on drums. Individually, the seasoned musicians in Bronson Rock have performed with a “who’s-who” of Connecticut artists, and continue to maintain busy schedules as players.

The band featured the songwriting talents of Gordo, who was the main songwriter for New Haven’s illustrious Big Bad Johns. Two of his songs from those days have been featured in a recent season of HBO’s True Blood.

The band plays a tight, danceable mix of original garage soul sounds, with some choice obscure covers thrown in, owing a debt to groups like the Rascals and Booker T. and the MG’s.

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Music: The Tony Purrone Trio offers jazz Thurs., Dec. 19

The Tony Purrone Trio plays Best Video Performance Space Thursday, Dec. 19. The show starts at 8 PM and the cover is $10.

Legendary jazz guitar virtuoso Tony Purrone will present an evening of electrifying original jazz and some rearrangements of jazz standards. Purrone will be accompanied by Preston Murphy (upright bass) and Ray Marchica (drums).

Tony Purrone was born and raised in Connecticut. His love affair with the guitar started with his first lesson at age nine. This early ability, expressed across a diversity of styles, led to acceptance by the University of Bridgeport Jazz Ensemble at a very young age. Four years later, whilst still a student, he performed with the Don Elliott Quintet and the Gerry Mulligan Sextet. After transferring to New York University, Tony graduated with a BSc in music.

In 1978, he came to the attention of Jimmy Heath in Connecticut and was invited to join the Heath Brothers Band, going on to record five albums on CBS and Island-Antilles in between touring the world.

In 1982, Tony left to carve his own impressive niche in the eclectic jazz world. He has performed with a Who’s Who of Jazz, including: Frank Foster and the Count Basie Band, Jerome Richardson, Lee Konitz, Al Cohn, Pepper Adams, Paquito D’Rivera, Sal Nistico, Nick Brignola, Bill Barron, Dave Leibman, Freddie Hubbard, Dizzy Gillespie, Randy Brecker, Lew Soloff, Jon Faddis, Donald Byrd, Lionel Hampton, Woody Herman band members, the Jimmy Heath Big Band, Stanley Cowell, Billy Eckstine, Johnny Hartman, the Trio (3) with Pete Levin and Lenny White, and his own groups.

Tony has taught music at Housatonic College and Wesleyan University in Connecticut and at Queens College in New York. Tony participated in two Grammy nominated albums, “Heath Brothers Live at the Public Theater”, (1980); and “Jimmy Heath-Little Man, Big Band” (1994). Tony has also recorded with Jimmy Heath on the Landmark, Verve, and Steeplechase labels, Ed Thigpen on the Reaction label and is the featured guitar soloist along with bassist, Stanley Clarke, on the song “Dark” co-written with Lenny White on Lenny’s CD, “Present Tense” (Hip Bop records).

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NBC Connecticut profiles Best Video Film & Cultural Center

Thanks to NBC Connecticut News and features reporter and morning anchor Ted Koppy for this great story they ran on Best Video Film & Cultural Center’s evolution as a non-profit. The story was aired on Dec. 9, 2019.

The piece noted BVFCC’s uniqueness in adapting to—and surviving in—a changed media environment. Best Video founder Hank Paper, BVFCC Executive Director Hank Hoffman, and BVFCC member Richard Lewis were interviewed for the segment, noting that the organization’s emphasis on community was key.

The video can also be viewed at their site.

Music: Folk, country, and blues from Coda Blue Wed., Dec. 18

Coda Blue

Coda Blue plays Best Video Performance Space Wednesday, Dec. 18. The music starts at 8 PM and the cover is a sliding scale of $5-10 (pay what you can in that range).

Coda Blue brings together three New Haven area musicians—Louis Audette, James Weisser and Ron Guerrette—to play their unique arrangements of blues, country and folk songs, as well as some originals. They will be joined at this show by Tim Quinn on harmonica.

The members of this trio have played in a variety of settings and each brings a wealth of understanding and experience to their performances.

Louis Audette on bass provides a solid foundation for the music. He started out playing with the Grey Sky Boys and then with the Greenbriar Boys. He chose not to follow that band when they hit the road to back Joan Baez. As he explains it, he was “tied to the mast.” He helped Frank and Barbara Shaw to start the popular bluegrass band Shoregrass. He has played in other bands: CornBread, the Moonshiners, Fairfield Crossing, and Chicks ‘n Sync. Louis is also a member of the ZuZazz String Orkestra.

James Weisser adds guitar and vocals to the mix. He has been known to pull out a blues harp. He will sometimes double on mandolin or concert ukulele. He is half of the songwriting duo of Nyren and Weisser. James founded the duo Woodrock with Steve Nyren. The duo performed in many of the venues in and around New Haven. As a founding member of the Dudley Farm String Band he played guitar and provided the lead vocals.

Ron Guerrette, an acoustic finger style and slide guitar player also known to torture an electric guitar from time to time, has played in many settings. The name of the trio is derived from Ron’s uncanny “ability” to tag any song with an unusually long ending. These inventive codas challenge an audience to determine if a song has reached its conclusion. Ron provides vocals as needed.

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Literary Reading: Connecticut Poetry Society presents Jeanne LeVasseur, Barry Zaret Tues., Dec. 17, at 7 PM

The Connecticut Poetry Society presents a reading by poets Jeanne LeVasseur and Barry Zaret at Best Video Film & Cultural Center on Tuesday, Dec. 17. The event starts at 7 PM. Admission is free but donations to support BVFCC’s programming are encouraged.

The Connecticut Poetry Society is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the promotion and enjoyment of poetry. Its mission is to encourage a community devoted to poetry through chapter meetings, education and events. Laura and Victor Altshul co-Chair the New Haven branch of the CPS, which meets monthly to workshop poems and to encourage programs in the area.

Jeanne LeVasseur is Professor of Nursing at Quinnipiac University.  Her poetry has been published in Nimrod, The Iowa Review, Yankee, The American Journal of Nursing, Literature and Medicine, and JAMA among other journals.  Her poems have appeared in four anthologies including Between the Heartbeats:  Poetry and Prose by Nurses and Intensive Care: Poetry by Nurses.  She is also the author of a book of poetry entitled Planetary Nights.

Barry L. Zaret was born in Brooklyn, NY and received his undergraduate degree at Queens College, NY, his MD at N.Y.U. School of Medicine, and his medical training at Bellevue Hospital and Johns Hopkins. He is the author of two books of poetry. His poems have also appeared in “Caduceus”, “Pharos”, “Long River Run”, the Journal of Nuclear Cardiology and Connecticut Medicine. Dr. Zaret is a cardiologist who has been on the faculty of Yale University School of Medicine since 1973. He served as Chief of Cardiology at Yale University School of Medicine and Yale New Haven Medical Center for 26 years. Currently he is the Robert W. Berliner Professor Emeritus of Medicine at Yale where he continues to teach, write and mentor. He is recognized for his pioneer research in the development of nuclear cardiology. He has written or edited five medical texts, one of which is in its fourth edition as well as several hundred scientific papers and book chapters. He was the founding Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Nuclear Cardiology, has received many awards for his scientific work and is a member of several honorific societies. Dr. Zaret is also an accomplished painter whose oils have been shown in numerous solo and group exhibitions. He and his wife Renée live in Woodbridge, CT and East Otis, MA.

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Music: GuitarTownCT evening bluegrass jam Mon., Dec. 16, at 5:30 PM

The monthly first Sunday GuitarTownCT bluegrass jams became so successful that Chris Wuerth added a new jam to the schedule. For those who need to twang community-wise more than once a month—or can’t make the Sunday afternoon events—we now have a bluegrass jam (usually) on the Third Monday of every month from 5:30-9 PM. Admission to this jam is a suggested donation of $5. November’s jam is on Monday, Dec. 16.

Players of all abilities are welcome as well as those who just enjoy listening. Meet your fellow fans of traditional acoustic music and strum, pick and sing up a storm.

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Mark Schenker concludes “How to Read a Film” series on screwball comedies with “Ball of Fire” on Sun., Dec. 15, at 1 PM

In this ninth installment of his series “How to Read A Film,” Mark Schenker, Dean of Academic Affairs of Yale College, turned to screwball comedies. Like the gangster movie, the Western and the Hollywood musical, the genre of screwball comedy films originated in the United States. The new satirical spin (hence “screwball”) on romantic comedy stressed witty dialogue and zaniness over sentimental love, and placed big name stars in odd situations. As with gangster movies, horror films and lavish musicals, the genre found a ready audience with Depression-era film-goers who were eager for escapist fare.

The final lecture with film in this series—rescheduled from Dec. 1 due to snow—will be on Sun., Dec. 15, at 1 PM. The series winds up with “Ball of Fire” from 1941, starring Barbara Stanwyck. (The previous films were the 1934 “It Happened One Night” on Nov. 10; “The Awful Truth” [1937], and “Some Like It Hot” [1959].) Admission is $7.

From Bosley Crowther’s rave 1942 New York Times review:

According to legend, Samuel Goldwyn has made some beautiful lapsi linguae in his time and has done things with the King’s English that stand as a monument to his name. Maybe. But still Mr. Goldwyn can’t be too touchy on that score, for now he has produced a picture which deliberately kicks the language around in a manner so colorful and lively that you can almost sense his tongue stuck in his cheek. “Ball of Fire” is the title of this wholly ingratiating lark, and so pleasant is its spoofing of the professional pose, so comprehensive is its handling of the modern vernacular and so altogether winning are Gary Cooper and Barbara Stanwyck in it that it had the customers jumping with enjoyment at the Music Hall yesterday.

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Music: Five In the Chamber revs up their high energy bluegrass for last show under that name Sat., Dec. 14, at 7:30 PM

Bluegrass quintet Five in the Chamber play Best Video Performance Space on Saturday, Dec. 14. The show starts at 7:30 PM and the cover is $10.

Five in the Chamber is a New Haven, Connecticut based bluegrass band that drives hard and carries a big pick. They respect the tradition. They respect the trailblazers. And they respect the renegade outlaws. Our final product is an eclectic balance of unique music which both reinterprets and redefines the bluegrass songbook.

Formed in 2011, the band has spent the last several years building a catalog of original catalog that showcase the group’s strong vocals, musicianship, and passion for genre busting. The band released their debut album in the Fall of 2013 entitled Live in the Chamber to rave reviews and is currently working on a new EP.

Five in the Chamber is Ken McEwen (Guitar, Vocals), Pete Kaufman (Banjo), Kat Wallace (Fiddle, Vocals), Dave Casali (Bass, Vocals) and David Sasso (Mandolin, Vocals).

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Music: Anna p.s., Meggie Czepiel perform Fri., Dec. 13

Indie folk musician Anna p.s. plays Best Video Film & Cultural Center on Friday, Dec. 13, 2019, sharing the bill with local singer-songwriter Meggie Czepiel. The show starts at 8 PM and the cover is a sliding scale of $5-10 (pay what you can in that range).

Michigan-based indie folk musician Anna p.s. conveys a sense of weariness throughout her simple yet resonant songs, but it’s a weariness that keeps a blanket of hope tucked up under its chin, even as the rain keeps falling outside the windows. Grace always lurks around the corner on tunes that layer delicate vulnerability over the hearty stock of this songwriters’ spirit. With technical acumen acquired during an early career as an audio engineer, and a humble but confident stage presence groomed as a founding member of indie roots rock band Shiny Shiny Black, Anna stepped out as a solo musician in 2014. She’s been on the road intermittently ever since. Her debut LP Umbrella, released in July 2016, showcases her signature sonic blend of melancholy, hope, and resilience.

In concert, Anna plays acoustic guitar, foot percussion, and—perhaps unexpectedly—the flute. She uses a looper pedal to sample her guitar and loop it back while she plays flute interludes during her songs, bringing a unique element to her concerts.

Meggie Czepiel is an emerging songwriter from the local area. Her songs display well-crafted scenes that capture the magic and emotional themes akin to an intuitive poet growing up and marveling over the oddities of time. She has been writing songs in her head for as long as she can remember and on paper since she was 13. Meggie works with Ponybird and will soon work with other young female songwriters, in the hopes of creating a supportive, inspiring community for girls like her.

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