The Sawtelles’ “Lose Her” starts with Peter Riccio’s jangling guitar — once upon a time it was a banjo — letting a set of descending chords move through open strings. Julie Riccio’s drums pick up after one revolution. It starts to sound like a journey already, and sure enough, it is.
“Driving back toward my hometown,” Peter sings. “the mills are closed and the industry’s gone now / It’s fall and everything’s turning brown / The car advances like a magnet pulls it down.”
For Peter, the imagery in “Lose Her” isn’t an apocryphal American highway. It’s Route 8, following the Naugatuck River back to Shelton, where he grew up.
The chords that start “Comfortable,” the first song from Manny James’s latest album, Church Street South, are pure bedroom. A melody line purrs in the background, held up by crooning voices. Then the beat drops, and James’s voice comes in strong. “If you feel that comfortable, you ain’t got to go nowhere,” he sings. “Let’s do what we came here to do.”
The most recent programs on WNHH radio delve into jazz music new, old, and New Haven specific, urge listeners to get out and vote, dabble in high school football, and look at new initiatives in journalism.
Bob Gorry’s journey into improvised music started with his ears. Nineteen years ago, the guitarist and engineer picked up the slot for a jazz show on WNHU. He started off playing classic jazz albums, then moved on to records that “young lions,” like Wynton Marsalis, were making.
“And then I started hearing some of these other things, that were jazz and related to jazz and improvised music, and I really connected with it,” Gorry (pictured on right) said. “And then at some point I was going to play with people, and then just started playing, and I made the connections in my head — both ‘I’m doing this already,’ and ‘these other people can do it and I can see what might be possible.’”
Isabella Mendes’s life has never been without music. “The running joke in the family is that the first word that I said was ‘piano,’” she said. “Every toy store that I went to, I always looked for the little keyboard. That’s always been my passion, since very young.”
In the past month alone, Adam Matlock has appeared on the stage of College Street Music Hall with hip hop hero Ceschi. He has played Italian songs for a family at Goodfellas on State Street. He has played Balkan music at the Outer Space and jazz at a country club. And he has performed as An Historic, singing his own sprawling songs in his powerful voice and accompanying himself on the accordion, at bars and on the street, at salons in New York City, and wherever else the string of gigs he’s set up takes him.