Downtown Music

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April 18, 2005 // UPDATED 1:53 pm - April 26, 2007
By: Holly Day
Holly Day

Glass speaks

Last week, when legendary minimalist composer Philip Glass was in town, I asked him why we get so many amazing avant-garde performers here in Minneapolis, especially now, when it seems like so many "cool" pop bands make a great big circle around our fair city while on tour.

"I don't have a clue," he answered. "I would think a stop in Minneapolis would be a necessary one for any performer to make. Maybe they just don't know the right people to talk to about playing here," he added.

I suppose that in the big picture of things, the most important thing is that the right people are making it here to perform. People such as the seminal saxophonist and composer Ornette Coleman, who almost single-handedly changed the way people perceive what "jazz" means, turning it from something safely contained in smoky bars with its slightly dangerous torch singers to the incredibly wild and tumultuous force we call "free jazz" today. Without Coleman's groundbreaking experiments in "harmolodics," there may still have been a John Zorn and a Steve Bernstein, but it'd probably have taken them a whole lot longer to become the people they are today.

For three whole days, various jazz and antijazz performers from around the nation will take the stage to celebrate Coleman's work, starting off with a Thursday night tribute to Coleman featuring local darlings Happy Apple, The Bad Plus, and a one-time fusion of the two called The Bad Apple. Friday night, the 75-year-old Coleman himself will perform at the Ted Mann Concert Hall, along with percussionist Denardo Coleman and bassists Greg Cohen and Tony Falanga.

Finally, on Saturday, the Walker will present an eight-hour-long extravaganza of groundbreaking and experimental music that will include performances from nearly 20 different local ensembles and musicians, including Dosh, Nachito Herrara, Tom Chui and the Bang on a Can All-Stars.

- Th & F April 21 & 22, 8 p.m.;
Sa April 23, 4 p.m. Th & Sa
Walker Art Center, 1750 Hennepin Ave. S.
F Ted Mann Concert Hall, 2128 S. 4th St.
Th $28; F $27-$47; Sa $15.
375-7600, www.walkerart.org.

Jump into the Blackfire

A few years ago, Blackfire Revelation's John Fields was attending film school in New Orleans, working several odd jobs to keep his head above water, and going nowhere fast. "Everything was all wrong," he said, his voice still rough from the 12-hour recording/party session of the night before. "That's the only way to describe it. It was justwrong."

Then one night, Fields had a dream.

"There was this fire, this fire that was burning black, and the fire spoke to me, and said if I put all of my energy and focus into music, that everything else would follow through, and everything would be just fine," Fields said. "It was a revelation, of sorts, so I called the band Blackfire Revelation."

Soon after, the dream materialized into the two-man act of Fields and Hank Haney, who are now delivering some of the most brutal-sounding guitar-heavy rock this side of Black Sabbath. And while they may not sound cosmically inspired, the slogan slapped on their debut EP offers a glimpse into the positively affirmative hearts of these two men: "Blackfire Revelation: Taking No Prisoners. And If We Do, Not Abusing Them."

- M April 18, 9 p.m.
7th Street Entry, 701 1st Ave. N.
$6. 338-8388, www.first-avenue.com.