New York City is home to some amazing venues for the musical arts. However, none truly compare to the famous Carnegie Hall. All of the legends of music who have graced the stage of that hall are astounding. The work that has funneled through such an impressive space has helped broaden the craft well for generations of musicians to come. Luckily, a new group of musicians were featured this past week. The Americana fusion band, Rosin, who unleashed some ideal culture for the evening, performed at a benefit for the New York Women’s Foundation (NYWF). Not only was it a night of celebration, but the unique vibes were perfect for bringing people together in troubled times.
On one of the more cooler nights in New York City, listeners were eagerly congregating to midtown Manhattan for a night of festivities. Sliding through the crowded sidewalks in front of the legendary venue, a small stream of guests were heading toward the small entrance to the Weill Recital Hall. For the best view, fans clambered up the stairs to the balcony overlooking the room. Eyes were immediately drawn to the giant crystal chandeliers glistening and overlooking the seats below. On the ground floor, the wide golden stage gave way to the a glamorous and serene setting of whitewashed opaque walls. Audience members took their seats in dull turquoise velvet seats that matched the closed curtains that hung over the walls. Before the music even began, the spirit in the space was positive as lively chatter took over from the crowd. People were happy and excited for the events to begin.
Eventually the lights dimmed and pianist Yael Taqqu entered the stage to speak about how it is, “important now more than ever…” to stand up for women across the country. After a resounding applause, Ana L. Oliveira, President and CEO of the NYWF shared that sentiment and welcomed all to the cause and music of the night. After both of those lovely introductions, the opener of the evening, a piano quintet with Yael and musicians; Adam Feinstein, Kate Goldstein, Annie Bartlett and Mina Kim all entered and bowed. Clad in black, they gracefully tuned up their instruments with extreme patience. After the quiet tuning, a triumphant start to their set erupted and broke the stupor. From the inception, people could see the swaying flurry that each of the musicians had matched their intense focus on their craft. Adam’s feet were always on the move and he simply could not sit still. Yael’s piano skills slid in softly and took the classical ambiance in full stride. Adam and Kate on the violins constantly made eye contact with another as their instruments gave an elegant shrill to the music. Each musician had their moment and Mina often stole the show with that beautiful cello sound. All of their harmonic powers brought everything together for a magical experience. At one point, their harmonies drifted away and a combative clash of music came through. It was an impressive mixture of physical and musical emotion with facial expressions pairing well with the strong tensions of the bodies at work. All of it was movement in sound and body. Diligence was the key once the mournful breathing of the music was introduced. From there, the mood shift in their music fled from anger to strength. Despite the robustness of the tone, a playful high transitioned the energy into a whimsical embrace filled with some unique bliss. They were all in such emotive spirits even to the end.
A brief intermission followed in which the chatter started up once more. The collective of people there were enough to liven any damp mood. Before the conversations could fully take over, the lights flickered again and the musicians of Rosin came on stage. Compared to their contemporaries who had just performed, the members of Rosin were clad in casual bluegrass style attire, save for Mina and Annie who returned in the same outfits. Lead Jake Armerding welcomed all. Of course, bassist Zachariah Hickman, sporting the most impressive mustache of 2017, was an instant fan favorite. Their colorful presence was just what the doctor ordered. They even took things off with a jolly tune, Spring March, that revealed their talent for fusion among the genres of jazz, bluegrass and classical music. Even their style was noticeably more relaxed and cool than the previous set. Pure joy shone from Jake’s face as he wielded the mandola, violin and guitar throughout Rosin’s performance. Everything in the beginning followed a jaunty feel with dueling strings holding the viewer’s and listener’s eye. To add onto the flair, a wonderful rendition of The Beatles’ Eleanor Rigby was played. This cover was full of classical taste and the addition of multiple strings made the influential tune soulful with longing. From there, they introduced a ‘cocktail’ score via the Four Roses Quartet that had four series of songs within. As Jake stated happily, “…if you listen carefully, it will feel like you are enjoying four cocktails tonight…” Emotional shifts started up again with a powerful attitude. Each song had a flavor of loss that linked with reminiscing weeping sorrow at times. However, that sadness although captivating, did not linger long. Vibrant passion and dreamy tunes took back the set as the final two songs of the series were completed. It is worth noting that the instrumentation among the musicians of Rosin was impeccable. Every musician had such an impressive skill on their craft that their fingers were a flurry of activity as they worked their magic all the way through. They were, as Jake declared, “living the dream.”
What a night! Not only was it special music for a great cause, but the energy in that space had a bright element of joyful value. Such an art form that can make that communal effort happen is priceless. For fans who are eager for more from Rosin, just take a look at their latest self-titled release, ‘Rosin.’ It is time to keep the faith in 2017, and they are the people to help listeners on their way!