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The Warsaw Voice » Stage & Screen » July 30, 2012
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From Vietnam to The Beatles
July 30, 2012   
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Vietnamese guitar virtuoso Nguyen Le is the first star lined up for this autumn’s series of Jazz Era concerts. Hailed by audiences at European festivals and praised by critics around the world, Le will play a one-night-only Polish concert at the Palladium club in Warsaw.

Jazz Era director Dionizy Piątkowski said, “For more than a decade, we have featured some of the world’s greatest and most popular performers, from Diana Krall and Herbie Hancock to Casandra Wilson to Al Di Meola.

“Jazz Era is about introducing musicians whose fame has not really reached Poland, but whose star status in the United States and Europe is undisputed. Jazz Era concerts were the first Polish engagements for Omar Sosa, Mariza, Angelique Kidjo, Abbey Lincoln, the Kronos Quartet, Freddie Cole and Dianne Reeves. This new season, Jazz Era will aim to promote superb musicians who win awards at major festivals, play at prestigious concert halls and release best-selling albums, but have never played in Poland before. Our first guest is Nguyen Le, a jazz guitar virtuoso.”

To date, Le has released a dozen albums (including the sensational Celebrating Jimi Hendrix) and landed a lucrative contract with the prestigious ACT Records label. His latest album, Songs of Freedom, is a kind of manifesto by a young musician who puts anti-war songs from the 1960s and 1970s into a jazz-rock setting. The songs are reinvented by Le’s guitar and guest performers on the album. Korean vocalist Youn Sun Nah sensually sings The Beatles’ “Eleanor Rigby” to the accompaniment of the erhu, a string instrument from China, and Le’s rock guitar. Four guest singers are featured on “Come Together,” which on Le’s album has been given an Arabic flavor The expressive “Black Dog” cover of the Led Zeppelin hit, in turn, features vocals by Dhafer Youssef.

The list of Le’s collaborations on other projects includes Yellowjackets, Uri Caine, Johnny Griffin, Didier Lockwood, Carla Bley, Steve Swallow, Randy Brecker, Toots Thielemans, Courtney Pine, Steve Lacy, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Gil Evans, Quincy Jones, John Taylor and John McLaughlin. Piątkowski describes Le as an “exotic” musician who is “a magnificent example of globalization in contemporary music.” “Although he is fascinated by jazz and rock music, he determinedly combines rhythms and melodies from many corners of the world, including his native Vietnam,” Piątkowski said. “It is a rare thing for a single musician to bring together South Asian musical traditions, a fascination with Arabic melodies and a love of classic rock and impromptu jazz performances.”

Nguyen Le
From Hendrix to Jazz
Oct. 10, 8 p.m.
Palladium Club in Warsaw, 7/9 Złota St.
Tickets available at www.ticketpro.pl, www.ebilet.pl , www.eventim.pl, Empik stores and the Palladium Club.
For further information go to www.jazz.pl
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