New York City musicians Alexa Tarantino & Steven Feifke present Sunday Livestreams via Crowdcast.
Thursday, May 28, 2020
Alto saxophonist & educator Alexa Tarantino & pianist & composer Steven Feifke have pooled their talent resources and set out to perform every Sunday as a cohabitating duo in a “quarantine concert.”
We have received the following press release;
NYC Musicians Alexa Tarantino & Steven Feifke Present Sunday Livestreams via Crowdcast - Now Entering Week 12
SAXOPHONIST ALEXA TARANTINO & PIANIST STEVEN FEIFKE HUNKER DOWN WITH SUNDAY EVENING QUARANTINE CONCERTS
With pre-concert chats and intimate performances from their NYC home, honouring Ellington, Coltrane, Charlie Parker, Jobim, Jackie McLean — the list grows…
ne of the first weekly jazz livestream concerts instituted after the lockdown (Sunday 8pm - chat at 7pm), with $5 access available live or on-demand at http://www.crowdcast.io/stevenandalexa (higher contributions welcome)
25 percent of each week’s proceeds benefit the Jazz Foundation of America (JFA), New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA), the Louis Armstrong Educational Foundation, other selected organizations helping communities impacted by the COVID-19 crisis
Alto saxophonist and educator Alexa Tarantino and pianist and composer Steven Feifke, both busy and sought-after musicians, were coming off their respective stints on the road in March 2020 when a new reality hit: they, and everyone, were going to be stuck at home for the foreseeable future, living in the frightening, radically uncertain time of the coronavirus pandemic.
With limited options but a lot of drive, they pooled their talent resources and set out to perform every Sunday as a cohabitating duo in a “quarantine concert.” Each week would focus on a specific jazz theme. Jokingly dubbing themselves Alexa Quarantino and Steven Lock-and-Feifke, they began with an evening of vibrant originals on March 15. They continued with weeks devoted to Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington, John Coltrane, Charlie Parker, Gerry Mulligan, Jackie McLean, Antonio Carlos Jobim, The Songs of Broadway and the Great American Songbook. To generate discussion and welcome audiences even more warmly into their home, they initiated a pre-concert chat and Q&A an hour before each show, fielding questions about everything from that week’s theme to the art of practicing and other musical fine points. Both highly qualified educators, Feifke and Tarantino have an engaging way of framing each week as a historical topic, offering insights of great benefit to students tuning in.
Tarantino and Feifke are lighthearted and funny co-hosts, honing their repartee week by week, finding their way forward in a medium that’s new to them, as it is to a lot of fellow musicians. Since the first installment, the clarity of the audio and video has grown considerably. They started with a MacBook Pro camera and USB microphone but have since stepped up with Neumann and Oktava mics, Focusrite Scarlett 18i8 audio interface and Sennheiser puck mic for talkback, using Loopback to send and mix audio into one virtual output. A high-definition VDO 360 USB video camera allows for multiple preset angles that can be changed during the set. Finally, OBS Streaming Software allows Feifke and Tarantino to send all audio and video to Crowdcast.
No matter the tech setup, Tarantino and Feifke always come ready to play: the second the music starts we hear the sound of two accomplished jazz virtuosos, entirely focused and giving their all. Upcoming concerts will celebrate Songs of Springtime (May 31). New themes are brainstormed continually, with the input of friends and fans, and set lists winnowed down through weekly Instagram polls (@stevenfeifke, @alexatarantino). Tarantino’s new Posi-Tone quartet recording Clarity will see release on June 5, so the duo will devote June 7 to music from the album (which features Feifke, bassist Joe Martin and drummer Rudy Royston). Future themes include Thelonious Monk (June 14), Steven Feifke’s original music (June 21 – Feifke’s birthday with onscreen celebration!), and Simply Sinatra (June 28).
“We’re very lucky,” says Tarantino, “in that we do a lot in terms of writing and arranging and teaching as well as performing, so we’re staying afloat, and we didn’t necessarily want to look at these quarantine concerts as a way to pay rent.” Feifke adds: “But there are so many musicians in really tough situations, and we wanted to do something to give back and support our local scene. So we decided to donate 25 percent of our proceeds to different organizations making a difference in this crisis.” Each organization receives funding for four weeks of concerts before the next is chosen. For those wishing to donate at a higher level, Feifke and Tarantino have established a tiered sponsorship, from Platinum ($250+) to Gold ($100+), Silver ($50-$99) and Bronze ($25-$49). The Platinum sponsorship is a special opportunity that allows Feifke and Tarantino to offer their pre-concert conversations at no charge to the public.
Feifke and Tarantino are not stopping at quarantine concerts: they’ve just launched A Step Ahead Jazz, which will offer “Summer Jazz Online,” an immersive experience for all ages and ability levels (June 29-July 3). Tarantino is founding director of the Rockport Jazz Workshop, and with its unavoidable cancelation this year, another major chunk of her professional calendar was upended. A Step Ahead Jazz is poised to fill the gap and break new ground in online jazz education.
Alexa Tarantino is an award-winning saxophonist, woodwind doubler, composer, clinician and adjudicator across the globe, named one of five top alto saxophonists in the 2019 JazzTimes Critics Poll. The New York Times praised her for her “lovely, ardent way of improvising” and her “sharply plotted but gracefully unencumbered [compositions].” She holds a master’s degree from The Juilliard School and bachelor’s degrees from the Eastman School of Music. She’s performed in a wide variety of ensembles including Wynton Marsalis & the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, Cécile McLorin Salvant’s OGRESSE, Arturo O’Farrill & The Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra, Sherrie Maricle & the DIVA Jazz Orchestra, and LSAT (a co-led quintet with baritone saxophonist Lauren Sevian). Her 2019 Posi-Tone album Winds of Change prompted PopMatters to rave, “The band sounds distinct, not cookie-cut…. Wow, your ear says. More, please.”
Steven Feifke is an award-winning pianist, composer and orchestrator with degrees from New York University and the Manhattan School of Music, where he studied with true luminaries of composition and orchestration, Gil Goldstein and Jim McNeely. His big band music has been featured by the Malmo Band in Switzerland, and his orchestral music was debuted in August 2019 at the New Generation Festival in Florence, Italy. Feifke has also written original works for television and film media; his music can be heard on Jerry Seinfeld’s hit Netflix show “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.” He’s a two-time semifinalist in the Thelonious Monk Jazz Piano competition and has been featured as a piano sideman on notable recordings by Ulysses Owens, Jr., Chad Lefkowitz-Brown, Danny Janklow and Alexa Tarantino. In 2018 he received an Arts Mid-Hudson “Pros Meet Pupils” grant for his curriculum designed to teach students jazz history through performance. He currently sits on faculty at The New School of Jazz and Contemporary Music, where he teaches composition and arranging. His 2015 septet debut, Peace in Time, will soon be followed by his debut big-band recording featuring Ulysses Owens, Jr. and Veronica Swift.