The Philadelphia Inquirer from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on April 12, 2002 · Page W19
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The Philadelphia Inquirer from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania · Page W19

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Friday, April 12, 2002
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Page W19
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From folk and jazz grew a bluesman By Nick Cristiano INQUIRER STAFF WRITER One of this year's nominees for the W.C. Handy award as best new blues artist is a 53-year-old who began playing in his teens and has already released a couple of albums. "I have no problem with that," Otis Taylor said with a laugh, discussing the nomination last week from a Windsor, Ontario, hotel room. "I did stop playing in public for 19 years. Maybe they should have me for reemerging artist. But I didn't call up and complain. You don't know when you're going to get it again." The best-new-artist nod is just one of four Handy nominations the Boulder, Colo., resident has received for last year's White African (NortherBlues). The others are blues album of the year, blues song of the year ("My Soul's in Louisiana"), and acoustic blues album of the year. The acclaim is richly deserved. On White African and its equally good new follow-up, Respect the Dead, Taylor creates a sound like no other drumless yet rhythmically driving, and haunting-ly hypnotic (his teenage daughter Cass-ie contributes to the atmosphere with background vocals). Along with Taylor's often harrowing lyrics about the African American experience in particular and romantic infidelity in general "I can't high-jump seven feet, and I can't write a happy song" the music has the power to transport you to an unfamiliar but vivid world, much like Harry Smith's famous folk anthology of the '50s. In fact, folk was the music Taylor started out playing while growing up in Denver. His first instrument was the banjo and it's the first instrument you hear on Respect the Dead (he also plays guitar and mandolin). His father, meanwhile, was a jazz aficionado who always had bebop musicians over to the house. "I'm second-generation hip," Taylor joked. His distinctive style, he said, just came naturally, growing out of that beginning in folk. "The banjo came from Africa. I was playing Appalachian banjo, which was really another form of black banjo. ... Sometimes you're original and you don't know you're original because you're not mature enough to really know," he said. If he has tried to emulate anybody, it's John Lee Hooker: "I try to imitate the way Hooker sings, but I just can't." Taylor quit the music business in the mid-'70s to become an antiques broker. He returned in the mid-'90s when he and his current accompanists, V Since he returned to the music business after a two-decade break, Otis Taylor has been winning acclaim for his distinctive blues. bassist-keyboardist and longtime friend Kenny Pas-sarelli and guitarist Eddie Turner, played together and found their vibe was "too cool" to ignore. Despite the new level of recognition he has achieved, Taylor said, he has no regrets about the years he stayed away from music. "It's probably the best thing that happened to me. I got to mature as a human being." Otis Taylor, 5 and 7:30 p.m. Sunday at the Walnut Hill Inn, 6110 Germantown Ave. Tickets: $20,215-849-5465. George Clinton De La Soul When asked to cite George Clinton's influence on hip-hop, most would point to the recycled g-funk See POP MUSIC on W26 j6 Indicates wheelchair-accessible. 0 Indicates assistive listening devices. In Concert Broadway Theatre 43 S Broadway, Pitman; 856-589-7519. The Machine $24.50. 8 tonight. Tower of Power With Average White Band. $34 & $36. 8 p.m. Wed. Electric Factory 421 N 7th St (between Callowhill & Spring Garden Sts); 215-627-1332. EUH "WB on Tour" With Nappy Roots, Course of Nature, others; Bob Saget hosts. 8 tonight (ages 18 & over). Gov't Mule With Townhall, Alvin Youngblood Hart. $20; $18 advance. 8:30 p.m. Sat. Rusted Root With Bohemian Sunrise. $23; $20 advance. 8 p.m. Mon. EUH "Rellim Tour" With Trik Turner, Flying Tigers. 9 p.m. Thu. First Union Center Broad St & Pattison Ave; 215-336-2000, 856-338-9000. A Paul McCartney Sold out. 8 p.m. Tue. 'NSync With P Diddy. Sold out. 7:30 p.m. Thu. Keswick Theatre Keswick Ave off Easton Rd, Glenside; 215-572-7650. 5 www.keswicktheatre.com. Billy Bragg & the Blokes With Sarah Harmer. $27.50 & $29.50. 8 tonight. Gordon Lightfoot $32.50 & $35. 7:30 p.m. Sun. Jefferson Starship With Ray Manzarek. $25 & $32. 8 p.m. Tue. Alison Krauss & Union Station Sold out. 8 p.m. Wed. Merriam Theater 250 S Broad St; 215-717-6342. A University of the Arts Big Band With members of Quaile Family. $15. 8 p.m. Mon. University of the Arts Transfusion Ensemble With Joey DeFrancesco. $10. 8 p.m. Thu. Theatre of Living Arts 334 South St; 215-922-1011. lostprophets With the Apex Theory, Andrew W K. $10. 8 tonight. Thursday With Sparta, Detachment Kit, Sand Which Is. Sold out. 8 p.m. Sat. "The Adrenaline Tour" With the X-Ecutioners, the Coup, Kenny Mohammad, the Adrenaline Theater Film Festival. $15. 9 p.m. Thu. Trocadero 10th & Arch Sts; 215-922-5483. www.thetroc.com. Mastodon With Lick Golden Sky, the Narcoleptics, Hellblock 6. $7. 8 tonight (balcony). Iced Earth With In Flames, Jag Panzer. $18; $16 advance. 7 p.m. Sat. Face to Face With Midtown, the Movielife, Thrice, the June Spirit (Sun only). $15. 6 p.m. Sun-Mon. Spirit Caravan With 60 Watt Shaman. $10. 11 p.m. Sun (balcony). Bob Mould: Carnival of Light & Sound With Her Space Holiday. $20; $18 advance. 7 p.m. Tue. Local H With the Kickovers, Burning Brides, Chevelle. $12. 7 p.m. Wed. "City Paper Music Awards" With Kindred, Burning Brides, Animus, Tyrone Tribbett, others. $12.50. 7 p.m. Thu. Tony Vacca & the World Rhythms Ensemble South Jersey Performing Arts Center, Tweeter Center, 1 Harbour Blvd, Camden; 856-342-6633 ext 109. A $5-$15. 11 a.m. today, 8 p.m. Sat. "Spring Fling" With George Clinton & the P-Funk All Stars, Pete Yorn, De La Soul, Lucky Boy Confusion. University of Pennsylvania, Hill Field, 34th & Walnut Sts; 215-898-4444. www.specevents.net. $25. 6:30 tonight. Rain location: The Palestra (220 S 32d St). Disco Biscuits With aL.one. Tower Theater, 69th & Ludlow Sts, Upper Darby; 215-336-2000. $25. 8 tonight. Q3H American Music Festival With Kaj Hansen (8 tonight); Sphinx Brothers, Norm Karin, Dan Carson, Dale Trusheim, Karin & Carson (8 p.m. Sat.) University of Delaware, Loudis Recital Hall, du Pont Music Bldg, Amstel Ave & Orchard Rd, Newark; 302-831-8487. A ParkinSong Benefit Concert With Grey Eye Glances, Catie Curtis, Ana Egge; WMMR's Pierre Robert hosts. Council Rock High School, Swamp Rd, Newtown; 800-579-8440. $25 & $45; $20 & $40 advance. 7:30 p.m. Sat. Commissioned With Kurt Carr. The Liacouras Center, 1776 N Broad St; 215-336-2000. A $27.50 & $32.50. 7:30 p.m. Sat. Luis Miguel First Union Spectrum, Broad St & Pattison Ave; 215-336-2000. A $55-$120. 8 p.m. Sat. Chava Alberstein Irvine Auditorium, University of Pennsylvania campus, 3401 Spruce St; 215-898-3900. A $25-$35. 7 p.m. Sun. WatersomCarthy Germantown Academy Arts Center, 340 Morris Rd, Ft Washington; 215-247-1300. $14. 7:30 p.m. Sun. The Darbari Ensemble Annenberg Center, Prince Theater, 3680 Walnut St; 215-898-3900. A $15; $10 students. 7:30 p.m. Mon. SSEE Statesmen Jazz Ensemble West Chester University, Swope Hall, University Ave, West Chester; 610-436-2739. 8:15 p.m. Wed. EUH 36th St Outdoor Jazz Series Different band each week. University of Pennsylvania, 36th St Plaza, 36th St (between Walnut & Sansom Sts); 215-573-2512. 5-7 p.m. Thus. Rain csncsls See NIGHTLIFE on W20 Israeli singing star Chava Alberstein will perform at 7 p.m. Sunday at Irvine Auditorium, 3401 Spruce St. Tickets range from $25 to $35; call 215-898-3900. Friday, April 12, 2002 THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRE R www.philly.com W19

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