Carolina Chocolate Drops
Tuesday, July 1, 2014
Kuumbwa Jazz Center
After meeting at the Black Banjo Gathering in Boone, North Carolina, the Carolina Chocolate Drops have been both enthralling audiences with their blend of strings, harmonies, original songs and historic melodies as well as bringing to light the contributions that the African American community brought to string band music in the Appalachians and southern Unites States. A captivating mix of banjo, guitar, fiddle and voices, their new album Leaving Eden was produced by country legend Buddy Miller and is an album assembled with an archivist’s care, but with the vigor of a contemporary indie-rock group. A fast-rising star, vocalist, violinist and frontwoman, Rhiannon Giddens, has made recent headlines for her participation in Lost On The River: The New Basement Tapes, a forthcoming T-Bone Burnett produced album also featuring Elvis Costello, Marcus Mumford and Jim James. The album is a compilation of unreleased Bob Dylan material.
The Chocolate Drops embarked on their journey together in 2005, with the collaboration of Giddens, banjoist Dom Flemons and fiddle player Justin Robinson. Then based out of Durham, North Carolina, they studied with and learned from Joe Thompson, an octogenarian master of the unique black fiddling tradition of the Piedmont region of the mid-south/Appalachia. Learning traditions from Thompson, the Chocolate Drops learned a new language of American music and began to perform the music passed on to them at local venues and dancehalls.
The group hit some serious momentum after winning the Best Traditional Folk Album Grammy for their 2010 album Genuine Negro Jig, which showed the vintage tunes they’d learned from Thompson and elsewhere could be part of a living, breathing, ever-evolving sound. As the New York Times put it, “they dip into styles of southern black music from the 1920s and ‘30s – string-band music, jug-band music, fife and drum, early jazz – and beam their curiosity outward. They make short work of their instructive mission and spend their energy on things that require it: flatfoot dancing, jug playing, shouting.”
The new Leaving Eden was recorded in Nashville (Miller’s home-base) and features Giddens and Flemons alongside current members Hubby Jenkins and Leyla McCalla. The album again offers an appealing array of patina-d melodies and tunes ranging from country to jazz to gospel. As their repertoire grows ever more expansive, the band’s touring lineup also includes cellist Malcolm Parson and multi-instrumentalist Rowan Corbett and will offer some previews of their upcoming album, planned for 2015.
Carolina Chocolate Drops
DATE: Tuesday, July 1, 2014
VENUE: Kuumbwa Jazz Center
ADDRESS: 320 Cedar St, Santa Cruz, CA 95060
TIMES: 7:00 and 9:00 PM
PRICE: $25/Adv $30/Door, No Comp Tickets
TICKETS: Logos Books & Records, 1117 Pacific Ave, Santa Cruz (831) 427-5100 and online at: http://kuumbwajazz.org
MORE INFO: http://kuumbwajazz.org or 831-427-2227
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