Edgar Meyer, Bela Fleck and Zakir Hussain at a Nashville rehearsal.

Chemistry of a Trio: An Interview with Zakir Hussain

Powerhouse players Béla Fleck, Zakir Hussain and Edgar Meyer have reunited once more and visited Cornell. Ahead of their concert, we were able to speak with Mr. Zakir Hussain, perhaps the world’s most highly influential and virtuosic tabla player. If you haven’t seen Zakir Hussain perform, search for a concert of his on YouTube. It is no mistake that his incredible skill, personality and charm have been praised; it really does put a smile on your face to watch him play. The “tabla is a percussion instrument,” Hussain explained.

Courtesy of Cornell University

A Jazzy Night at Barnes Hall

Barnes Hall’s auditorium temporarily transformed into a jazz cafe from La La Land on the evening of Thursday, September 27. Producing a fusion of harmonious tones and fascinating improvisation, the Dave Solazzo Trio, with Dave Solazzo on the piano, Mike Solazzo (Dave’s father) playing bass and Tom Killian on the drums, performed a jazz concert that reminded me of the Oscar-winning film. The program started with Cole Porter’s “What Is This Thing Called Love?” The piece opened with a piano melody, but was quickly joined by the metallic sound of the cymbals on the drum set and supported by a steady beat of deep pizzicatos from the bass. As the tempo of the song sped up or slowed down based on the discretion of whoever was playing the melody, the other members of the trio would match the beat accordingly with extreme precision. This first tune also incorporated solos for both the bassist as well as the drummer, during which the musicians constantly checked in with each other through eye contact and head nods to maintain balance and structured harmony.

Cayuga Sound Rocks Stewart Park

Last weekend marked the second annual Cayuga Sound. Lady D & Shadow Spirits and Sofi Tukker kicked off the first night of action from Stewart Park. While both acts performed some of their more well-known selections and energized the crowd, their sets were limited by the threat of thunderstorms and relatively small audience. As it got closer to 7 p.m., Dan Smalls ’92 of DSP Shows, the company which organizes Cayuga Sound and most other concert events in Ithaca, came on to the stage to introduce Young the Giant and to let festivalgoers know of the impending bad weather. “We’re hoping to give you all an hour of music,” Smalls said before turning the mic over to Friday night’s headliners Young the Giant.