The “Round Robin” guidelines were as follows: “One musician starts a solo improvisation, another musician then joins for a duo improvisation. After that, musician #1 leaves the stage and musician #3 joins musician #2 for another round. This continues until everyone has performed.” This was the second year the Round Robin was part of the Red Bull Music Academy series and like the prior incarnation, this night included a variety of musicians who excel across different genres including jazz, rock, electronic and blues. The free-form event saw over 15 musicians grace the Town Hall stage to take part in the funky shenanigans.
Although most of the night, save the crowded-stage finale, followed the format mentioned above, there was a brief break in continuity when Jamie Lidell’s equipment didn’t work initially, which left one of the musicians to plug in the space with an extended set. Fortunately, it was Allen Toussaint who had to bear that burden and his dexterous piano chops showcased a bunch of musical styles, like Vince Guaraldi and a few jokes including a bit of “Taps”. Lidell was in good spirits though when he finally got his gear working. By the climax, Kaki King was playing on someone else’s guitar and the musicians played off each other’s jams. The show hadn’t been sold out, but it was quite a unique experience.
Then a few nights later, the RBMA hosted neo-soul artist D’Angelo in conversation with author, filmmaker and critic Nelson George. According to The Boombox, “the lecture, titled ‘A Conversation with D’Angelo,’ kicked off with his present status. He opens up about the new band he’s using and the fact he’s playing more guitar, which is a transition that can be heard in his recent work.” We have video of the entire chat below. Two RBMA events are left in May, Lit City Trax and the finale featuring members of the RBMA class.
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D’Angelo speaks at Red Bull Music Academy Lecture: