Ninth Square

Elison Jackson & Co. Usher In Spring

by Karen Ponzio | Mar 22, 2017 12:14 pm

At the end of his band’s set, lead vocalist Hnry Flwr came off the stage at Cafe Nine with an acoustic guitar to play a song solo. He said was about context, noting it was “special when I sing it in New Haven.”

“The meaning lies in the context,” Flwr sang. But the Brooklyn-based Hnry Flwr had already set the context on Tuesday evening. The triple bill of Flwr, The Ferdy Mayne, and hometown heroes Elison Jackson turned Cafe Nine into a rest stop for these touring bands — who were continuing on to Boston and Philadelphia — and a respite for weary friends eager for spring to truly begin.

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Rockers Rally For Rights

by Lucy Gellman | Mar 6, 2017 1:26 pm

Drenched in red and pink light, Zambonis founder Dave Schneider hopped onto the stage. He tuned his guitar and took a quick look at the crowd at Cafe Nine. The crowd had started to dwindle; it was pushing 11 p.m. But Schneider wasn’t the least bit tired. Instead, he told the still-cheering audience, he was feeling energized, and ready to close out a set with one of his group’s old standards, called The Captain.

“This song is about hockey, but it’s also about being your own captain, and doing what’s right,” he said. 

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Live WiRED Smokes Modern Jazz

by Brian Slattery | Feb 3, 2017 9:00 am | Comments (1)

Halfway through the sax solo in “Black Rock,” the first song of WiRED’s set at Cafe Nine on Thursday night, a smile broke out across trumpeter and bandleader Nick Di Maria’s face. He’d just finished a blistering, textured solo himself, one that sounded like he was fully warmed up, even though he’d just hit the stage. Now he threw his head back, beaming, as Matt Knaegel on alto sax kept exploring. He was still grinning as drummers Eric Hallenbeck and Elliot Wallace took their turn, breaking down the rhythm and reorganizing it in time for bassist Andrew Zwart to take a ride on it. Slowly but surely, yet still improvising, the rhythm section found its way back to “Black Rock’s” original groove, a fast, frenetic funk.

The New Haven-based WiRed had released “Black Rock” on its album 2015 Time Circuit, and there the band wore its proud debt to 1970s fusion like Herbie Hancock on its sleeve. This “Black Rock” was more lived in, both harder and more flexible. It sounded a lot more like right now. It showed that when Di Maria told the audience he was “bringing jazz to young folks” — Thursday’s show was sponsored by Jazz Haven — he meant it.

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Frank Critelli Kicks Off Monthly Mondays At The Nine

by Karen Ponzio | Feb 1, 2017 8:26 am

While introducing Ian Fitzgerald Monday evening, Frank Critelli — fixture of New Haven’s singer-songwriter scene and that night’s master of ceremonies — interjected into his description of seeing Ian at the Newport Folk Festival last year that “everything is good.”

Some of the mumblings in the crowd about what was going on in the rest of the world suggested that not everyone was so sure of that. But it was easy to believe Critelli that everything was, and was going to be, good right where we were.

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Ackee, No Saltfish

by Markeshia Ricks | Jan 27, 2017 1:08 pm | Comments (5)

Markeshia Ricks Photo Inside New Haven’s newest Caribbean restaurant, Qulen Wright sautéd the brightly red and yellow peppers, onions and garlic to create the base for Jamaica’s national dish, ackee and saltfish — except there would be no saltfish.

“I’m the vegan cook,” Wright said. “So I can make it without the fish.”

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