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Thursday, Sept. 19, 2013 05:10 pm

Hodgepodge of happenings

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Brad Macdonald plays jazz piano with his trio on Sept. 20 for Uptown Friday Night at Robbie’s from 5:30-7:30pm.
PHOTO COURTESY BRAD MACDONALD

With a whirlwind of wonderful whatevers available to while away the hours this week in the entertainment section of our lives, here are a few tidbits and takes on the goings-on.

In the “unbelievable events” category, how is it that two of my favorites in the music business are playing in Springfield on the same night? Friday, Sept. 27, Willie Nelson is at the Sangamon Auditorium and Los Lobos is at Donnie’s Homespun. Good luck on deciding for yourself; my decision is already made. I’m playing at a really cool, new theater venue in Jacksonville, called Playhouse on the Square, with Lowder and Manning and Jeff Davidsmeyer for a songwriter showcase night. Some folks got all the luck ....

Last summer, Fumée Gypsy Project, a Chicago-based group new to Springfield, made the local rounds. Christy Bennett, the founder, vocalist and occasional accordionist of the combo dedicated to traditional gypsy jazz of the Django Reinhardt-style, hails from Springfield and attended grade and middle school at Pleasant Plains before finishing up at Sacred Heart-Griffin. After relocating to the Windy City, she rediscovered a latent love for gypsy jazz while singing with a duo at a friend’s wedding. Her first introduction to the music happened during a visit to her pal Ashley Glatz’s home, where the girls found a genre-related CD in the vast collection of Ashely’s father, none other than avid music listener and performer, Dr. Peter Glatz.

Christy is in the last week of a fan-funded project using Indiegogo as the means, and that means you, my friends, need to Google the band, then go to the Indiegogo site and pledge toward whatever reward you care to, with the more money the merrier. We need more gypsy jazz in this old world, especially sung in French by a mademoiselle from Springfield, Ill.

Uptown Friday Night continues the great tradition of bringing in the finest music by presenting an up and coming, young, jazz pianist with his trio, this Friday, Sept. 20, at Robbie’s. A Chicago resident and performer since 2008, Brad Macdonald grew up in Collinsville and spent his really young jazz days studying in St. Louis with Carolbeth True. He received his Bachelor of Music in Jazz Studies from Elmhurst College and performed on CDs with the college group. In 2010, he released Off the Top of My Head, a collection of original compositions. He’s currently working on a Master of Music in Jazz Composition at DePaul University. Come say hi, and take a listen to a phenomenal musician making his Springfield debut.

Hey you, Wayne “The Train” Hancock fans, make your way to Dr. Ugs on the square in Virginia, Ill., Sunday, Sept. 22, for an up close and personal show. Doors open at noon, opening act starts at 2 p.m. and soon after that, Wayne opens your world to his style of swinging country blues. For more information, call 217-452-3442 or email dr.ugsdrugstorecafe@gmail.com and go get your “Train” on.

The outdoor events are winding down for 2013 as fall approaches. This weekend Petersburg hosts Harvest Fest with all sorts of activities, including music by Lowder (6:15 to 7:30) and Sleepwalker (8 to midnight) on Friday and Whirled Peas (4 to 7) and Sirens Call (8 to midnight) on Saturday. Petersburg knows how to party!

As we’re getting into the annual Best of Springfield voting, may I say, I’m happy to see the music categories expanded greatly, and that I stayed out of that decision-making process. Always very competitive, this music-scene business is really between friends and fellow musicians. So please, let’s all have fun with the whole ordeal and wish everyone the best.

Contact Tom Irwin at tirwin@illinoistimes.com.

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