The New Boston Duo
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The New Boston Duo

Boston, Massachusetts, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2013 | SELF

Boston, Massachusetts, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2013
Duo Jazz Acoustic

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"New Boston Duo debut at PI Coffee Roasters"

Rainy Sunday morning in Amesbury. God knows what's happening on the other side of the river, in the voluntary madness known as Yankee Homecoming. Seems too much to deal with at this hour, any hour this side of noon.

No matter. We're comfortably settled in at the Carriagetown edition of Plum Island Coffee Roasters, the old J Bucks, which has been brewing up the good stuff — in our case a nice and much-needed Sumatra roast with a nice body and nutty finish — since last December. It's air-conditioned, there's a pleasant vibe and, the real reason we're here, the New Boston Duo is making its area debut.


Interesting confluence of perspectives and styles at work here: You've got Amesbury guitarist George Little, who started out as a folkie, writing, among other things, funny tunes about local subjects, like Mr. Donuts, the late, lamented purveyor of trans-fats, securing his "serious" music bona-fides in classical guitar and string performance, teaming up with fellow Longy School of Music violinist Elizabeth Burke to play ... jazz?

Yup. Standards, mostly, that have been reimagined, reinterpreted. Which, of course, is the beauty of standards. And, in the NBD's case, centered around "le red hot" gipsy jazz vocabulary and vibe. They seem most at home with dark colors and minor keys, like Django's classic "Minor Swing" and "Dark Eyes," a Russian Gipsy folk song he liked so well that he recorded it three times (as "Les yeux noirs"). They'll play "Only a Paper Moon" and "All of Me," and interestingly, spin it into "Bossa Dorado," the jazz manouche classic by Dorado Schmitt, mais bein sur) They also mix it up with tunes "Georgia," "Over the Rainbow" and "All My Loving," the Fab Four hit. It's tricky terrain, of course — instrumentation, musical mindset and, at times, a set list that invokes Reinhardt and Grappelli, titanic forces in jazz, performing well-remembered songs in new, different ways. But Little and Burke aren't shooting for cover band status: They're playing in the style, but not aping it, and bringing something of themselves, their backgrounds, to the performance. The Sunday debut showed a good energy, good communication between two players who are clearly in sync, musically.

A pleasant morning. Seems strange, though, clapping on a Sunday morning, like an affront to God or something. Our Pilgrim forebears must be turning over in their graves. Outside, the rain has stopped, the sun is blazing. It's a steam bath. Little and Burke have packed up their gear and are taking off to the other side of the river, where Homecoming is in full swing. They'll do some busking, then Little is off to Maudslay State Park, where he is performing the music for Theater in the Open's production of "The Tempest," using arrangements of surviving songs from Robert Johnson — the 16th-century lutenist, not the Delta blues singer — as well as improvisation and other works by contemporaries of Johnson.
- JC Lockwood


Discography

Self-titled independant release. Full length recording of tunes available for sale at all performances.

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Bio

Recognized for ingenuity and unique style, The New Boston Duo transcends classical music boundaries. Violinist Elizabeth Burke and guitarist George Little channel Jazz, Rock, Celtic and Flamenco roots to resonate their Gypsy Swing core genre.

Inspired by Latin-American music by Piazzolla and gypsy jazz compositions made famous by Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli, the two set their sights on a progressive, eclectic sound. Collaboratively theyve fashioned arrangements of familiar gypsy swing melodies juxtaposed by South American and Spanish influences. Illusion heralds in the echo of percussive snare drum, thumping string bass, and foot stomping flamenco pulse; each radiating from expert guitar and violin technique. Intricate technical virtuosity acquired in their classical training couples with rich chromatic gypsy flavor allowing this ensemble to manifest balanced improvisation into a genuinely original art form.

Warmly received by every audience, The New Boston Duo is equally comfortable on the concert stage or in a jazz caf. Performances spanning New England include the Brick Church Music Series in Williston, VT, Kaji Aso Institute for the Arts in Boston, Longy School of Music in Boston, South Shore Conservatory in Hingham, MA and various music cafs and open air markets across the region including Boston and Newburyport, MA; and Montpelier, VT. Currently, the duo is collaborating with Boston-based composers who are writing specifically for the ensemble, furthering their quest to fuse musical boundaries by incorporating new innovations into their repertoire.