Riffs plans Full Moon Summer Concert trilogy
Ryan Summerlin July 11, 2014
Riffs Acoustic Music, located at 1205 Iron Horse Dr., has a three-fold mission, according to owner Larry Hart.
"We’re a live music venue that offers lessons and coffee," Hart told The Park Record. "We are different than other venues in town. Yes, we present live music. But unlike a bar, restaurant, Canyons or Deer Valley, people come in and sit down and listen to music, and why not learn as you go."
For the past four years, Riffs has presented its Full Moon Concert Series. The shows, performed by acoustic musicians who play folk and bluegrass, take place at the time of the full moon.
"We brand these artists and their music and have posters made that have their names and images on them," Hart said. "I decided this summer that in order to provide something new for the community we would present three shows, one a month, during the summer that were genre-specific, rather than performer-specific."
He also wanted to move a little left of the straight folk and acoustic music for these concerts.
"I thought we would do a blues night, a jazz night and then have a string quartet and classical music night and call it a trilogy," Hart said.
The first concert, which will consist of the blues, will be Saturday, July 12. The jazz night will be held on Sunday, Aug. 17, and Hart is currently working with Leslie Harlow, executive director of the Park City Beethoven Festival, to present a string quartet in September.
"What I want to do with each of these performances is educate the audiences so they have a night where they not only listen to great music, but also learn about the genre," Hart said. "I want to have a historical context to the music that would mean having an educational bent to the narrative that comes during any live show."
Saturday’s concert will feature some great blues players — Marty Morrison from Small House Strings and Jeanne Rettos-Logan.
"They were delighted by the whole idea to present a whole set of blues music," Hart said.
In addition, the night will include 21 Blue, a band that features singer Kasey Coyle, who has a steady gig at Molly Blooms.
"I’ve asked Jeanne and Kasey to do some research on the songs that they will be presenting, so they can tell the audience a little more information about who wrote the song and how the various artists discovered the songs and recorded them," Hart said.
"There is so much music, including rock ‘n’ roll, that is based in the blues and the music itself has influenced so many of our rock icons, Elvis Presley being and good example."
The night will start with Rettos-Logan and Morrison, who will take the blues from its roots in the South and the Delta and lead it up to Chicago’s electric blues.
"Kasey and her group will take it from there and talk about the ties in to the blues today," Hart said. "I feel when people understand the history, there is a chance they will enjoy the music better."
Both sets will be electric blues with an acoustic bent.
"I’m looking forward to becoming enlightened," Hart said.
That sentiment is also the key for jazz night in August. The John Flanders Trio will present the concert.
"First off, it will be held five nights after the full moon, because of John’s schedule," Hart said. "He’s so busy, so we’ll take what we can get from him."
Hart selected Flanders because of his virtuosity as a jazz saxophonist.
"Jazz is a mystery to many people, so we want to enlighten them a bit so they can enjoy the music for what it is," Hart said. "We’re working with John to get a timeline about the history of jazz that will include New Orleans jazz and how it became a free-form art and how it found its way into the night clubs of New York and Chicago."
Hart hopes the audience will leave the show with a much better idea of and greater appreciation for the art of jazz music and what role it has played in American culture.
"Jazz is an American art form that started here before it went to Europe and Brazil and all those places," Hart said. "In jazz, unlike rock or folk, the musicians take a key and build rhythms and note patterns around it so you get a mood that has a certain vibe."
The final show of the summer will be in September, but the date hasn’t been confirmed because the Park City Beethoven Festival is in the middle of its summer schedule that runs through the end of July.
Hart is thinking of the possibilities for the concert.
"I’m a complete Beethoven nut and would love to have the musicians play a Beethoven string quartet, especially any that are reasonably accessible to audiences," he said. "I would like Leslie, like the other musicians, to bring in the narrative and pull her audience into the music. I would like her to explain why the chamber piece they are about to play is so great and help the audience appreciate the music."
The trick about this new summer trilogy is to not make the narrative tedious.
"These are going to be music shows and lectures," Hart said. "But I know if I were in the audience and learned about the kind of influence the music had on all the music I listen to, it would be more interesting to me.
"I’m an information junkie anyway, and I feel something like what we are planning adds depth of what people listen to," he said. "If we finish this trilogy by educating 30 or 50 people, then we have succeeded and we’ll look to do more."
On Saturday, June 12, Riffs Acoustic Music, 1205 Iron Horse Dr., will start off its summer trilogy performances and present Kasey Cole and her band 21 Blue, Jeanne Rettos-Logan and Marty Morrison and more for a blues concert at 7 p.m. Tickets are $20. Call 435-647-1940 for tickets and more information. Also visit www.riffspc.com.