BAR HARBOR — Ryan Blotnick of Southwest Harbor will perform songs from his album “Kush” at The Lompoc Café on Saturday, Sept. 30, from 10 p.m. till 12:30 a.m.
Blotnick will be joined by three musicians who also performed on the album: Michael Blake (tenor and soprano sax), Scott Colberg (bass) and R.J. Miller (drums).
The album title comes from the name of a New York club called Kush. “It’s where I first met Michael Blake when I was 16, on my way to freshman orientation at William Paterson,” Blotnick said. “He was playing with Ben Allison and Jeff Ballard, and it really sent my friend Ned Ferm and me through the roof. Also, the bass line of ‘Kush’ is based on a middle-eastern rhythm [in 17/8] that Duncan Hardy showed me called ‘Khush Rank’ – I thought that was an interesting coincidence.”
In a new album of original compositions, Blotnick mines a bittersweet melodic-harmonic vein balanced by an African-influenced rhythmic elan. Conceived as an antidote to the more aggressive forms of New York jazz, “Kush” offers waltzes, haunting ballads and more than a touch of Frisellian Americana, as well as a variety of grooves combining jazz and African feels.
“Afrobeat is an amazing synthesis of West African and African-American styles of music,” he said. “Every style has its own rhythmic fingerprint that goes way beyond anything you could put down on paper. When the music is passed down from generation to generation, there is a subtlety about how to place accents and how to feel certain rhythms that gets lost in music that is passed down in writing.”
Blotnick has two releases on Songlines (“Music Needs You” 2007 and “Everything Forgets” 2009) and a self-released solo guitar record (“Solo, Volume 1” 2012) praised by The New York Times for its “intensely thoughtful design.”
A $10 donation at the door is suggested.