A highly selective preview of cultural events taking place this weekend in the greater Berkshire region, including a jazz-funk brass band; Gypsy-punk; chamber music; an electro-folk duo; new photography; Japanese woodblock prints, and a whole lot more.
(NORTH ADAMS, Mass.) – Grammy Award-winner Steven Bernstein, the jazz wizard-genius who knows as well as anyone how to combine cutting-edge jazz, funk, and pop music – brings his Universal Melody Brass Band to the Hunter Center at MASS MoCA on Saturday, February 4, at 8pm, in a ticketed event culminating MASS MoCA’s annual Free Day.
Trumpeter/bandleader Bernstein presides over consciousness-expanding arrangements from Sly and the Family Stone, Duke Ellington, Jelly Roll Morton, Allen Toussaint, The Band, and more, accompanied by a wicked horn section featuring stalwarts of the downtown avant-garde, including tubist Marcus Rojas, trombonist Curtis Fowlkes, NYC musical madman Oscar Noriega, woodwind specialist Matt Darriau (Klezmatics), and slide trombone master Art Baron. Superstar drummer Billy Martin (Medeski Martin & Wood) drives the band.
(WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass.) – The Williams Chamber Players will play works by Thea Musgrave, Clara Schumann, Johannes Brahms, and a world premiere by Williams faculty member and pianist Zachary Wadsworth in Brooks-Rogers Recital Hall at Williams College on Friday, February 3, at 8pm. This free event is open to the public.
The concert opens with “Five Love Songs” by contemporary composer Thea Musgrave, performed by soprano Erin Nafziger and guitarist Robert Phelps. Next, the ensemble presents Sonata in F Major, op. 99 for Cello and Piano by Johannes Brahms featuring Nathaniel Parke, cello, and Elizabeth Wright, piano.
(HUDSON, N.Y.) – The Pioneer Valley-based Gypsy-punk ensemble Bella’s Bartok brings its fusion of Gypsy swing, Balkan brass, Bohemian punk and pop sensibilities to Club Helsinki Hudson on Friday, February 3, at 9pm.
Bella’s Bartok is a brassy, theatrical six-piece ensemble that melds Gypsy swing, Balkan brass, Bohemian punk with pop sensibilities. Their sound moves way beyond labels, pushing the envelope towards the darker side of Eastern and Central European music, blended with the sounds of vaudeville and the downtown avant-garde. The group will appeal to fans of Beirut, Gogol Bordello, Howard Fishman, and the Klezmatics.
(SHEFFIELD, Mass.) – Singer-songwriter Amber Wolfe and artist-scientist Jarrod Fowler bring their unique fusion of folk and electronic music with field recordings gathered from nature to the Down County Social Club beneath the Stagecoach Tavern on Thursday, February 2, at 8pm.
(PITTSFIELD, Mass.) – First Fridays Artswalk kicks off with a dozen art shows featuring over twenty accomplished regional artists in downtown Pittsfield with opening receptions on Friday, February 3, from 5 to 8 pm. “10 Spot: Photography,” a collaborative exhibition with the Lichtenstein Center for the Arts and Sohn Fine Art Gallery in Lenox, will feature artists Bob Avakian, Zachary Burns, Ken Dreyfack, Susan Evans Grove, Roberto Falck, Ralph Mercer, Rebecca Moseman, Astrid Reischwitz, Carl Rubino, and Denise Tarantino.
(WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass.) – More than a century of Japanese printing traditions, represented by seventy-three color woodblock prints, will be presented in the Clark Art Institute exhibition Japanese Impressions: Color Woodblock Prints from the Rodbell Family Collection.
The exhibition explores the complex and changing relationship among artists, woodblock cutters, and publishers from the ukiyo-e (scenes from the floating world) tradition of the mid-19th century, the shin-hanga (new print) movement of the 1920s and 1930s, and the sosaku-hanga (creative print) movement that began in the 1950s. Japanese Impressions is on view through April 2, 2017.
(NORTH ADAMS, Mass.) — Nick Cave, the artist known for his wearable sculptures called Soundsuits, turns expectations inside out at MASS MoCA in “Until,” a massive immersive installation. Cave uses MASS MoCA’s signature football field-sized space to create his largest and most overtly political installation to date, made up of thousands of found objects, a rich sensory tapestry. The sheer volume of material that has been gathered is astounding — 16,000 wind spinners; millions of plastic pony beads; thousands of ceramic birds, fruits, and animals; 13 gilded pigs; more than 10 miles of crystals; 24 chandeliers; 1 crocodile; and 17 cast-iron lawn jockeys.
(STOCKBRIDGE, Mass.) – “Hanna-Barbera: The Architects of Saturday Morning” features the work of the creative team behind such memorable Saturday morning cartoons as “The Yogi Bear Show,” “The Flintstones,” and the “The Jetsons,” on view at Norman Rockwell Museum through May 29, 2017.
Before the rise of basic cable, Saturday mornings for many children in America were spent watching cartoons on one of three available television channels. From 1958 through the 1980s, a majority of those cartoons bore the imprint of Hanna-Barbera. Creating scores of popular series such as The Yogi Bear Show, The Flintstones, The Jetsons, Jonny Quest, and Scooby-Doo, Hanna-Barbera was an animation powerhouse and its bountiful creativity is beloved to this day.