Shakers 'N Bakers

Shakers 'N Bakers

Thursday, March 29, 2012, Unitarian Society of Northampton and Florence, 220 Main Street, Northampton

The Magic Triangle Jazz Series, produced by WMUA-91.1FM and the Fine Arts Center at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, continues its 22nd season with a performance by Shakers ‘n Bakers.

General Admission: $12, Students $7 

A most unlikely and unprecedented musical endeavor, Shakers n’ Bakers straddles several universes both stylistically and conceptually. Dedicated to the exploration of ‘Vision Songs’ received by women of the Shaker religious sect during ecstatic spiritual trances, Shakers n’ Bakers is the manifestation of several years of in-depth study and thought. Co-led by multi-reed player Jeff Lederer and vocalist Mary LaRose, the ensemble includes Miles Griffith (vocals), Jamie Saft (electric harpsichord), Chris Lightcap (bass) and Allison Miller (drums).

Though there are thousands of Shaker hymns and songs, the Vision Songs (also known as Gift Songs) are in a class by themselves. Often multi-sectioned, with abrupt and frequent changes in tempo, time signature, and tonal center, the songs also feature lyrics in ‘inspired’ languages attributed by the Shakers to African, Native American, and extraterrestrial sources.

“This is some of the most powerful and amazing stuff that I have heard in the 21st Century,” writes Dave Wayne. “Shakers n’ Bakers is a triumph of both Lederer’s and LaRose’s musical scholarship. More importantly it is a triumph of truly inspired collective music making - this is one of the best bands I have ever heard, and they sparkle with energy, intuition, guts, brains, sweat, and love. If only all entertainment could be this… entertaining. Shakers n' Bakers sends chills down my spine every time I hear them.”

Jeff Lederer has worked for many years in the Matt Wilson Quartet and the ensembles of Bobby Sanabria and Jimmy Bosch. He has recorded for Gunther Schuller’s GM Recordings, CIMP Records, Palmetto Records and his own Little (i) Music label. His recent quartet recording, Sunwatcher (Jazzheads), features Buster Williams, bass, Jamie Saft, piano and Matt Wilson, drums. New York-born vocalist Mary LaRose made her recording debut as a leader in 1995 with Cutting the Chord, featuring Mark Feldman, Michael Formanek, Steve Swell and others. She has released four other recordings under her own name on CIMP, GM Recordings and Little (i) Music. LaRose is also a visual artist and her paintings were shown at the prestigious Brooklyn Museum. Shakers ‘n Bakers has released Shakers ‘n Bakers and YFZ (yearning for zion).


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The Magic Triangle Jazz Concert Series is produced by WMUA-FM and the Fine Arts Center, and funded by the UMass Arts Council and an ECSA grant. Additional support from Amherst College and the UMass Hotel at the Campus Center.