Festive mood still swinging

Party time may be over now that the festive season has ended, but the mood is still swinging at the Half Note Jazz Club, Athens’s focal point for jazz music, where prolific jazzman David Berger and his Sultans of Swing have three nights to go. The act, which ranks as a leading contemporary exponent of swing, began a one-week residency on December 27 at the venue, where it provided the New Year’s Eve entertainment as well. Band leader Berger, a composer, arranger and conductor, has built a sturdy reputation as a leading authority on the music of Duke Ellington and the swing era. He has transcribed over 700 full scores of classic recordings, including close to 500 works by Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn. Highlighting his ability, Berger, who resides in New York City and teaches at the prestigious Juilliard School, maintains close, long-term working relationships with two music legends, Wynton Marsalis and Quincy Jones. His Sultans of Swing, a 15-piece band comprising very fine musicians, has toured throughout the USA and Europe. The act has released three albums. Following Berger and his Sultans of Swing at the Half Note Jazz Club is saxophonist Greg Osby and his backing group Channel Three, who begin their one-week series of shows on Friday evening. Osby has proven a versatile musician willing to explore various facets of jazz and beyond, such as classic post-bop, funk, fusion, and avant-garde. The mood at the club can be expected to turn more somber right after Osby and his band. They will be succeeded by Carla Pires, a singer of fado, the extremely popular melancholy song form from Portugal, who plays at the Athens club between January 13 and 19. Pires, one of many new-generation fado singers who have emerged in recent years to both maintain and develop the traditional Portuguese style, has begun distinguishing herself as one of the scene’s finer talents. A singer with an acting background, Pires began singing a little over a decade ago, after she was cast to play fado great Amalia Rodrigues – at a young age – in a major Portuguese musical based on the life of its country’s most legendary vocalist. Pires’s key role in that production encouraged her to focus more on singing. That project was followed by a collaboration with the group Quinteto Amalia, which released an album in 2002. Pires has also released a well-received solo album titled «Ilha do meu fado.» Performances begin at 10.30 p.m. Monday to Saturday and 8.30 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets cost 30 euros (students 20 euros). For bookings, tel 210.921.3310.

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