Romare Bearden Park, 300 South Church Street, will once again host Bearden Music Series, free monthly concerts from July to September in 2019.
The concerts take place from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
July 13: Grupo Fantasma with special guest, West End Mambo
Austin’s Grupo Fantasma enters their 19th year as a band with an exciting new record and a fresh take on their unique sound. With six previous albums in their back catalog, plus collaborations and backing gigs with the likes of Prince, Spoon and Los Lobos, not to mention a GRAMMY award and a loyal fan base, they are ready to turn people’s heads again with American Music: Vol. VII (Blue Corn Music).
It’s been five years since they’ve been in the studio, and this time around they’re working with the multi-talented Carlos “El Loco” Bedoya, a highly regarded Miami-based Colombian producer, audio engineer, musician, and songwriter. His credits are extensive, having worked with artists as diverse and successful as Beyoncé, Weezer, and ChocQuibTown. According to the band, Bedoya “brought with him a wealth of knowledge and experience as mixer and engineer as well as huge ears and skills as a musician and songwriter.” In addition, Grupo has changed recording facilities and composing scenarios, and are collaborating with special guests more extensively, as well as experimenting with a lot of new, interesting instrumentation, all of which contribute to the record’s familiar yet powerfully fresh vibe.
It’s important to stress that Grupo has always had a special polyglot flavor that is an amalgamation of disparate sonic and thematic elements that defy easy characterization and seem to cohere with an impressive naturalness and grace. It’s an expansive and layered sound too, with two lead singers, multiple percussionists, a big brass section, prominent electric guitar, catchy bass lines, plenty of changes, and a whole plethora of influences. Thematically, the band’s lyrics range from the personal to the universal, the political to the social, from party tunes to down-tempo laments that carry the weight of romance gone wrong, loss and disappointment.
August 10: Eric Gales with special guest, Mr. Sipp
Growing up in a religious household, his brothers Eugene and Manuel used to blast out Jimi Hendrix, Cream, Muddy Waters, Blue Cheer, Albert King, John Lee Hooker, King’s X and Stevie Ray Vaughan. Whilst their mother was at church and little Eric was aged just 4 , he was soaking it all up and this is where he had his incredible grounding of blues, hard rock and psychedelia. Naturally right handed, Eric learned his distinctive left handed upside down playing from his older brothers Eugene, his ‘mentor’ and Little Jimmy King, who was later adopted as Albert King’s godson.
His talents caught the eye of Elektra Records, who released his debut album The Eric Gales Band in 1991 when he was only 16 years old. The band was made up of Eric, his older brother Eugene and drummer Huwbert Crawford. Picture of a Thousand Faces followed in 1993, then Manuel Gales (aka Little Jimmy King) joined his two brothers for 1995’s Left Hand Band as The Gales Brothers. Over the next few years he worked on various projects including performing as Lil E with Hip Hop collectives Prophet Posse and Triple 6 Mafia.
September 7: Spyro Gyra with special guest, Dante Lewis featuring Daniel D
Spyro Gyra is an unlikely story of a group with humble beginnings in Buffalo, NY who has continued to reach an international audience over forty years, resulting in sales of over 10 million albums and having played over five thousand shows on five continents. They have accomplished this due to a forward looking approach combined with the work ethic of an underdog, always challenging themselves to do something new while never resting on past success. It has proven to be a recipe for longevity for this jazz group while music has gone in and out of styles in ever shorter cycles.
Spyro Gyra are contemporary jazz icons who observed their fortieth year as a band in 2014 with shows that showcased their breakthrough Morning Dance album. After that year of looking back, they decided to spend 2015 concentrating on their more recent material, playing many songs from their post 2000 releases. The audience reaction was so positive to their recent material that bandleader Jay Beckenstein decided that their albums from that period deserved a little more focus. So, in order to spotlight this innovative and productive period, Spyro Gyra is releasing “The Best Of The Heads Up Years” this spring.
They released their last, their 30th, album of new material The Rhinebeck Sessions in 2013, which Jazztimes called “inspired”. Travis Rogers of the Jazz Journalists Association picked it for Jazz Album Of The Year. Something Else Reviews called it “Their finest album since their early 80s heyday” and made it a TopTwenty pick for the year. George Harris of the Jazz Weekly enthused, “I gotta tell ya, these guys still sound GREAT.”
“My hope is that our music has the same effect on the audience that it does on me,” says group leader Jay Beckenstein. “I’ve always felt that music, and particularly instrumental music, has this non-literal quality that lets people travel to a place where there are no words. Whether it’s touching their emotions or connecting them to something that reminds them of something much bigger than themselves, there’s this beauty in music that’s not connected to sentences. It’s very transportive. I would hope that when people hear our music or come to see us, they’re able to share that with us.”
More upcoming outdoor music
Check out the big list of outdoor concerts around Charlotte, or check out this day-by-day list: